Fayette County, Texas Family Histories


Carl Johann and Sophie Martens Albrecht

Contributed by Rox Ann Albrecht Johnson

Carl Johann and Johanne "Sophie" Martens Albrecht emigrated with their family of seven children from Wolgast in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The left from Hamburg on the Copernicus and arrived in Galveston on November 18, 1852. Coming with them was Sophie's sixty-four year old mother, Dorothea Markwarth Martens, born February 23, 1788. Their children were Marie (29 Sep 1832 - 23 Mar 1915), Henriette (ca 1834 - 1860), Carl (ca 1836 - ca 1861), Fredericka (ca 1840 - before 1864), Anna Frederike (28 Feb 1845 - 15 Dec 1918), Heinrich (ca 1847 - after 1860), and Ida (19 Aug 1852 - 5 Jul 1933).

Carl Sr. bought 150 acres to farm at Willow Springs in the John Jones League. His older daughters were approaching adulthood when the family immigrated and, within seventeen months of their arrival, the three older girls married neighbors. Henriette, married Christian Henniger on February 14, 1854; Marie, married William Weidermann on March 4, and Fredericka married August Henniger, who was Christian's brother, on April 12, all in the short span of two months.

Unfortunately, Carl Johann Albrecht did not live long enough to see his family prosper in their new surroundings. We don't have an exact date, but we know he died within a year and a half year of his arrival in Texas, because his wife, Sophie, bought 300 acres in the James Miles League in her own name in March 1854 and remarried to Joachim Soellick on February 29, 1856. Her son, Carl,  married Christine "Wilhelmine" Albert on January 28, 1858 and they lived on acreage that Sophie sold them later that year. However, more family tragedies soon followed, as Henriette, Carl, Fredericka and her young son all died by 1864. Today these graves are unmarked, but it is believed they were all buried in the Henniger family cemetery at Willow Springs. Henriette left three young sons, and Carl also left a young son, Ernst. We lose track of Heinrich after 1860 and do not know his fate.

Anna, married Friedrich (Fritz) Scharnberg on March 24, 1860 and Ida, married his brother, George Scharnberg on January 5, 1869. The Scharnberg brothers were from Bernitt, the same village in Prussia where Joachim Soellick had lived. In fact, Soellick's sister, Henriette, had married their oldest brother. The three surviving daughters all raised their families in the vicinity of Willow Springs. Marie did not have children, but her sister Henriette's son, Ernst Henniger, lived with the Weidemanns during much of his youth as did his brother, Henry, even though their father had remarried. Their brother, Richard, spent much of his youth with Ida Scharnberg's family.

Sophie Martens Albrecht Soellick, was widowed a second time in 1874. Joachim Soellick was buried in the Shelby Cemetery in neighboring Austin County. Her mother, Dorothea Martens, who had arrived in Texas already in her sixties, lived to the ripe old age of ninety-one, passing away on July 3, 1879. She is also buried at Shelby. Sophie lived to age 82, and passed away on October 11, 1898. Her daughter, Anna Scharnberg, and members of her family are buried near her grave at Shelby, as is Marie's husband, William Weidermann. However, Marie is buried in the Sterling City Cemetery in Sterling County, along with her sister, Ida Scharnberg, and George.


Carl Siegismund Bauer

Contributed by Lauren Jodoin

Carl Siegismund Bauer was born on September 14, 1792 in Wiesa, near the city of Annaburg in the kingdom of Saxony, about 100 miles southwest of Berlin in Germany. In 1813, much of Germany was involved with the Napoleonic wars in Europe. Carl was twenty-one years old at the time and his mother was worried that her only child would have to go to war.

His mother thought that if Carl Siegismund were married, he would not have to go fight in the war. She invited a special girl over to the house, fixed a big meal and introduced Christiana Malzer to her son with hopes that he would propose to her. As time went on, Carl's mother saw that he was not proposing so she did it for him. She explained to Christiana that she could not bear to see her son go to war and if he were married he might not have to go. Christiana felt sorry for the mother and she accepted. Christiana and Carl were married three weeks later. They had eight children between the years 1813 and 1830, Charlotte, Carolina, Karl, Augustin, Christliebe, Wilhelmine, Carl Ergott, and Carl Traugott.

By this time, Germany was a country in unrest; there was over population, hunger and sickness. There were also riots and protests in many of the cities, including Dresden, where Carl Siegsmund Bauer and his family are said to have lived. Carl worried that his own sons would have to go to war.

Many of the wealthy German aristocrats at this time began to "advertise" Texas as the promised land that they would form their own German State in the Country of Texas. (Although, by the time most of them arrived, Texas had already become part of the United States.) With the current conditions in Germany, many people decided to sell what they had and come to Texas. In 1847, Augustin Bauer and his wife Emilie left on the ship, Franziska, and traveled to America landing in Galveston, Texas. They settled in Spring Branch, Harris Co.,Texas and began to hold church services with the other settlers from " The Book of Sermons" that Carl Siegsmund had given to his son, Augustin, before he left Germany.

Carl Siegsmund Bauer, his wife Christiana and their three youngest children, Wilhelmine, Carl Ergott, and Carl Traugott arrived in early 1848 on the ship, Neptune, at Galveston, Texas. One of their older daughters, Carolina, who was married to Carl Wilhem Rummel, also immigrated with their children, Carl William, Louis and Emma. Carolina must have been pregnant with Herman Carl on the voyage as he was born in December of 1848.

The two families quickly made their way to Augustin's place in Spring Branch. Christiana died about ten months after her arrival in 1849 and was probably buried on Augustin's or the Rummel family's land in what is referred to as the Bauer Rummel Cemetery.

By 1850, Carl Siegsmund moves to Round Top, Fayette Co., Texas were he lives until his death on January 27,1873. Many people in the Houston and Round Top area will long remember and be grateful to Carl Siegismund Bauer and his family for undertaking the building of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top, Texas, founded in 1868 and his help in establishing the St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston founded in 1848.

Willis C. Chandler

contributed by Barbara Chandler Spray
Willis C. Chandler
Willis C. Chandler was born to William and Elizabeth Chandler in Wilson County, Tennessee on March 11, 1811. He moved to Jefferson County, Missouri with his family during the 1830s; and it was there that he met and married Maranda Hildebrand on January 1, 1837.

Maranda, daughter of David and Hannah McCourtney Hildebrand, was born October 14, 1818 at House Springs, Jefferson Co, Missouri. Her grandfather, Peter Hildebrand, had brought his family to Missouri in 1783 from Fort Jefferson, Ohio.

In a general election held in August 1838, Willis Chandler was elected Constable for Meramec Township for a two year term. On August 3, 1840, Willis Chandler was elected Constable of Meramac Township for another term of two years. He was placed under $1000 bond by Duiguice [sp?] Pitzer and

John McGiver. [Marriage Records of Jefferson Co., MO, 1825-1838, Pg. 47 and Commissions and Marriages Book 1838-1849]. Willis was also elected County Tax Assessor on August 3, 1846.

About 1851 Willis and Maranda moved to Texas with their eight children: Ann, Missouri, Caroline, Melinda, Martin, Thomas, Malissa, and Julia. They purchased a farm near Blackjack Springs in Fayette County, situated between Buckner's Creek and the Colorado River. A gristmill was set into operation as the family business. On April 4,1866 an Occupational License was issued to Knight and Chandler for the operation of a ferry for one year.

Four more children were born: William, Robert, Maleta and Mary. It was during the winter of 1856 that sixteen year old Missouri and six year old Julia died within weeks of one another. In June of 1871 nine year old Mary died. [They may be buried in Byler Cemetery at the foot of their mother's grave. There are three small graves marked with worn, small markers at each head and foot.]

In November 1874 Willis sold their farm and mill in Fayette County, valued at over $2000, and bought 225 acres in Bastrop County and a 65 acre tract running along the Bastrop and Caldwell county line for $3000. [Bastrop County Deeds, Book 3, Pg. 165.] On December 22, 1884 Willis deeded one acre of his 225 acres to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court for $10. [Bastrop County Deeds, Book 6, Pg. 600.] This one acre was located in the New Union School District and was to be used for a free school and church building. On December 31, 1884 he sold his remaining 289 acres to the McCall brothers for $3000. [Bastrop County Deeds, Book 10, Pg. 416.]

However, this land had a lien against it filed on August 7, 1888 due to an unpaid bill for construction work on the Chandler home in 1876. No reason for non-payment was given in the suit. On November 10, 1888, three days after Mrs. Maranda Chandler's death, the District Court of Bastrop County awarded ownership of the 289 acres to H.T. Parr and ordered Willis Chandler and the McCall brothers to reimburse the indebtedness of $789.22, plus 10 per cent interest accumulated over a twelve year period, to H.T. Parr. [Bastrop County District Court Records, Book G, Pg. 381-388.]

Willis Chandler died July 3, 1899. The place of his burial is unknown; however, it may be in the area of Yoakum, Lavaca Co., TX since he was visiting his sister, Paralee Chandler Keeper, there in December 1898. His wife, Maranda Hildebrand Chandler, died November 7, 1888 and is buried in Byler Cemetery in Fayette County located near Muldoon. She is interred at the head of the gravesite of her aunt, Marguerite House Hildebrand Null.

Caroline Baker Clemons

by David L. Collins

Caroline Baker ClemonsCaroline Baker was born on February 10, 1863 in Louisiana.  She died on January 12, 1960 in Lee County (Sandy Point), Texas.  She married T. H. (Tom) Clemons on October 7, 1886, son of Whales Clemons and Sarah Kellough.  Whales Clemons was born on December 16, 1863 in Fayette County, Texas.  He died on April 21, 1944 in Lee County (Sandy Point), Texas.  The Sandy Point Cemetery is located southeast of New Dime Box, Texas on County Road 426.  Tom and Caroline were the proud parents of seven children.  Their names were Clara, Amanda, Ruby, Joanna, Sarah, Whales and Henry Clemons.

Wales & Sarah Clemons are buried in Sandy Point Cemetery.  Wales & Sarah Clemons gave land of about one acre for Church and Cemetery.  Sandy Point A. M. E. Church was once located here, but moved to FM 141.  The first burial was about 1896. 

There is one large pine tree growing near where the church was, outside back fence of cemetery is large grove of pine trees.  Mrs. Clemons says they all came from the one large tree. Mrs. Susie Collier Clemons and Mr. Charlie Shepherd (74 Yrs. old) walked over the cemetery with copier and gave names of unmarked graves.  The Sarah & Wales Clemons were grandparents of Mrs. Susie Clemons husband, Wales Clemons, now deceased. (Taken form Lee County Historical Commission, 1991; Volume No. 2, Lee County, Texas Cemeteries.

A review of the 1880 Census taken July 21, 1880 in the 5th District of Fayette County, Whales Clemons was a 46 year mulatto Male born in Virginia.  His wife was also Mulatto age 46 born in Alabama.  The Children listed on the Census Sheet included: Charles 18 years old, Tom  age 17, Ed age 14, John age 12, Henry age 8, Sam or Samie age 6, Lucy age 5, and  Bessie age 3.  All Children were born in Texas.

Listed below the Clemons Family was J. H. Wormly, Mullato Male age 26, his wife Mary Mulatto Female age 22, and Son Ollie Mullato male age 2.  All were born in Texas.  J. H. Wormly Father and Mother were born in Virginia.  Mary Wormly Father was born in Virginia and her Mother was born in Alabama.

All members of the Clemons family were able to read except, Henry, Sam, Lucy, and Bessie at the time the Census was taken.


Eliza Shepard Clemons

by David L. Collins, Sr.

Eliza Shepard ClemonsEliza Shepard was born August 3, 1878 in Winchester (Fayette County), Texas based on the 1880 U. S. Federal Census. Her father was Sam Shepard and her mother was Sarah Gregory. Her siblings included Mahala, and Adoph Shepard, all Were born in Winchester, Texas.

During the time the Shepard family lived in Winchester, their neighbors were the Wares, Fosters, Gregorys, Bundicks, Browns, Penns, Sims, and Mainans.  In the early 1890’s the Shepards had apparently moved to Lee County, Texas and Eliza met and married Henry Clemons on July 17, 1894.

According to the 1900 Census Henry Clemons was 27 and head of household, Eliza was 21 and listed as his wife and Monty York, 22 and listed as servant all living in Lee County, Texas.

Henry Clemons was the son of Wales or Whales Clemon and Sarah Kellough and was born on July 10, 1871 in Fayette County, Texas near Rutersville, Texas.  Henry’s siblings included, Mary, Charles, Mandy, T. H (Tom), Ed, Sr., Lucy, Bessie, Sam, Billy William Clemons.  All were born in Fayette County, except Lucy.

According to the 1940 Census, Eliza and Henry were still living in Lee County near New Dime Box, Texas (Sandy Point Community, one of the Thirteen (13) Freedom Colonies in Lee County, Texas).  There were no children listed in the 1900 thru 1940 Census, so it is assumed they did not have any children. 

Henry Clemons died on June 10, 1947 and Eliza died on March 30, 1967 and are both buried in the Sandy Point Cemetery.

Whales (Wales) Clemons

by David L. Collins, Sr.

Whales ClemonsWales Clemons was the sixth child of T. H. (Tom) and Caroline Baker, born on December 14, 1896.  His father was born in Fayette County in 1863 to Whales Clemons and Sarah Kellough who lived in the Nechanitz, Texas area.  In 1921 he married Sussie Collier in Lee County (Post Oak), Texas, the daughter of William N. Collier and Chanie Scott.  She was born on July 2, 1902 in Bellville, Texas (Austin County).     

Wales and Sussie were the proud parents of three children-Charlene, Olivett, and Vella Clemons.  His daughter Olivett, will be 90 years old on September 22, 2013 and continues to lives just south of New Dime Box, Texas on the family estate.  In the mid 1890’s Wales Grandfather Whales Clemons moved his family to Sandy Point (Lee County), Texas and purchased land to support and raise his growing family, which eventually reached 11 children by the turn of the century (1900).

Young Wales in-laws William N. Collier and Chanie Scott were from Burleson County, Texas.  Chanie Scott-Collier was born June 16, 1878 and attended school in Lyons, Texas.  She married William N. Collier in 1900 and they made their new home in Sandy Point and raised eleven (11) children, one of which became Wales wife in 1921 (Sussie Collier).  Mrs. Chanie Collier was 97 years old when she passed away on January 31, 1976.

The Clemons and Colliers produced a great family union and a great family history in Sandy Point (Lee County), Texas and the family is still growing.

Wales Clemons died on July 17, 1960 in Dime Box (Lee County), Texas and his wife Sussie Collier-Clemons died on June 16, 1999 in San Antonio, Texas.  She was 97 years old the same age as her mother when she died in 1976.

In the mid 1990’s I visited the home of Olivett Clemons-Shepard and interviewed her mother. It was a real treat and honor.  May her legacy live on.

Edward Collins, Sr.

by David L. Collins, Sr.

Edward Collins, Sr.Edward Collins, Sr. was born on June 12, 1886 in Nechanitz (Fayette County), Texas.  He was the son of Richard Collins and Mandy Clemons.  Based on the 1880 Census both Richard and Mandy were living in Fayette County town of Nechanitz, Texas. The census indicated that Richard’s father and mother were born in Virginia.

Ed Collins brothers were, Ira, Hugh and General, Sr. and one sister named Gertrude Collins.  Based on Ira Collins birth certificate Ed Collins and all of his siblings were born in Nechanitz, Texas which is approximately 10 miles north of La Grange, Texas along County Road 2145 (west of Highway 77).  Ed Collins Grandmother Sarah Kellough-Clemons, who was the wife of Whales Clemons was also born in Nechanitz, Texas.  Apparently both Whales and Sarah Kellough-Clemons lived near Richard and Mandy Clemons. Edward Collins was the last child born to Richard and Mandy Clemons.

The 1900 Census indicated that Edward Collins and his brothers and sister were living with their Grandparents in Lee County (Sandy Point), Texas and in LEE County (Sandy Point), Texas and no records of where Richard  and Mandy Clemons-Collins were living.  A search of all available records, indicate that Mandy Clemons-Collins is buried in a Cemetery in somewhere in Seguin, Texas.  We are still in search of Richard Collins today.

Based on the 1910 Census, Ed Collins, Sr. continued to live in Lee County and was married to Hanorah Huff-Collins.  He was 23 years old and she was 20 as head of household, with a live in servant named Sidney Shepard.

By 1920 their family had grown to five (5) children, named Hubert, Bessie, Delmond, Vernon and Farris Collins, and they lived in Justice Precinct 5, Lee County, Texas.  Their neighbors were the Hennigans, Jacksons, Thompsons, Colvins, Irvins, Mundines, Wards, Nunns, Cheeks, and Shufords.  As the 1930’s rolled around Ed and Hanorah’s family had grown to ten (10) children and they were buying their own farm.  The new additions since 1910, was Doris (my father), Chester, Rubin and Ruby (twins) and Eddie.  Edward Collins, Sr. also had a child by Isabell Simpson, named Edward Collins, Jr. who was born on January 10, 1910 and married Gertrude Wilson.
Ed now 53 and Hanorah 50, had settled in with their growing family with four (4) of their children off on their own and making a life for themselves, by 1940 on the eve of World War II.

By the 1940’s Ed Collins, Sr. was surrounded by family, relatives and friends, just south of New Dime Box and Yegua Creek and life was getting much easier after many years of hard work and struggle.  His neighbors included the Collins, Andersons, Donovans, Bethanys, Garcias, Dawsons, Clemons, Lacys, Bensons, Shepards and many others.

On November 8, 1944, Edward Collins, Sr. passed away.  In his absence, Hanorah Huff-Collins continued to raise their family and lived to see all of them off on their own.  She passed away on December 21, 1974 and the words on her obituary were very appropriate:  PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU; MY PEACE I GIVE UNTO YOU…John 14:27


The Peregrin and Filomena Fiser Family

by Carolyn Sumbera Heinsohn  

Peregrin and Filomena FiserPeregrin Fiser (Fisher) was born on May 15, 1836 at Mill #44 in Dolni Dobrouc, Bohemia. His wife, Filomena Vacek was the daughter of Josef and Anna Blazek Vacek. She was born on August 28, 1841 in House #58 in Cermna, a village located near Dolni Dobrouc. Both villages are in Lanskroun County in northeast Bohemia. At one time this area was all part of the Lanskroun estates owned by a nobleman. Records from 1568 indicate that Michael Vacek, an ancestor of Filomena, was a subject of a nobleman owning the estates. She was a member of the eighth generation of Vaceks living in Cermna. Matous Vacek first moved there in 1636 from Bystrec. Peregrin’s ancestors were well-known millers for the Lanskroun estates for generations. Vitus Fiser, born around 1660, operated a mill at the site where Peregrin was born seven generations later.

Both Peregrin and Filomena were baptized in their local Catholic churches, which are still attended by members of the Fiser and Vacek families. Peregrin and his brother inherited Mill #44, which was rebuilt by their grandmother, Barbora Fiser. Peregrin sold his half of the saw mill to his brother, Josef, and bought a grist mill and house #58 from Jan Budis in Vermerovice, a nearby village, prior to his marriage to Filomena on November 19, 1861. He improved this mill with double axle rock wheels with low water movement provided by a water wheel.

Filomena’s older brother, Josef Vacek, immigrated with his family to Texas in 1873. Peregrin and Filomena sold their mill in 1875 to Josef Kunert and made preparations to also immigrate to Texas. The mill was used for many years by several subsequent owners who had a successful business with the newer sifting equipment that was invented about the time that Peregrin sold the mill. During the Communist regime, the mill stream was diverted to help generate electrical power for the village, so the flour mill ceased to operate. The mill with the old sifting equipment and the remodeled adjacent house are still standing.   

The Fisers emigrated on the ship Hannover from the port of Bremerhaven, Germany on or about April 12, 1876, arriving in New Orleans on May 10, 1876. From there they traveled by coastal steamer to Galveston, arriving on May 13, 1876. Peregrin was 40 years of age, and Filomena was 35 when they came to America with their three children: Albert (Adelbert) 13; Anna, 8, and Filomena, 5. Joseph Fiser was born in Texas six months after the family arrived in the vicinity of Hostyn, Texas, where they stayed with relatives temporarily upon their arrival. Albina, Andela and Otilia, the youngest daughters, were born in the Ammannsville area.

Peregrin’s name on his passport is spelled “Fisar”; on the Oath of Allegiance, it is spelled “Fiser”, while on the Letter of Citizenship in the Fayette County Courthouse in La Grange, Texas, it is spelled “Fisher”. Some family members called him Pelegrin; however, records in Bohemia and his tombstone state Peregrin. He apparently was named for St. Peregrin, the patron state for persons with cancer.

Peregrin and Filomena settled in the Ammannsville area of Fayette County, where they first purchased a 100-acre farm. They lived there until all of their seven children married and settled on their own. They subsequently purchased four more farms in the area, increasing their land holdings to approximately 500 acres.  The large two-story home built at the site of the original home of Peregrin and Filomena by their son Joseph is still standing, but no longer belongs to the Fiser family.

The Fisers donated three acres of land to the St. John the Baptist parish in Ammannsville to be used for the church and cemetery. A parochial school and teachers’ home were also once located on this site. They were also the donors of the main altar in the first church built in 1890. Unfortunately, that church was demolished by an inland hurricane in 1909. 

Albert Fiser, their eldest son, married Anna Kadlecek; they had five children: John, Angela, Peregrin, Martha and Annie. The oldest daughter, Albina, married Frank Pfertner. They had three sons: Edmund, Robert and Joe. Anna married Adolph Janacek. They had seven children: Stephanie, Peregrin, Marcel, Henry, Filomena, Christina and Rudolph. Filomena married Frank Janak, a widower with two children: Mary (Adamcik) and Edward. Frank and Filomena had four daughters: Angela, Filomena, Wilhemina and Otillia. Josef married Frances Sumbera. They had nine children: Marie, George, Tillie, Joe, Henry, Vojtech (Vojt), Albert, Henrietta and Johnnie. Andela married Anton Sumbera (brother of Frances). They had six children: George, Joe, Jerome, Jerry, John and Josie. Otilia married Staches (Eustaches) Vacek. They had thirteen children: Robert; Bessie; Wilma; Frances; Peregrin, who died in infancy; Staches; Tillie; Marcella; Louis; Beatrice; Jerome; James and Dorothy, who also died in infancy. 

Peregrin died on March 30, 1913 at 76 years of age; Filomena died on July 3, 1922 at 80 years of age. Both are buried in the St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery in Ammannsville. However, the birth dates on the tombstones are incorrect. Archival research done in the Czech Republic disproves those dates.

Updated: October 21, 2010

Mazema Karinski Zidek Genzer

Contributed by Angelina Genzer Kretzschmar, 130 Navato Blvd., San Antonio, Texas 78232-2255, 210-490-1099

Mazema Genzer was also known as Marianna or Marie (on her tombstone). She was born on 12 December 1829 in Brusperk, Frydek-Mistek County, Moravia. Population is now 3,631.

She married Frantisek or Frank or Franz Genzer, Sr. on 10 February 1857. Frank Genzer was born on 21 January 1833 at #89 Frenstat, Moravia. Frank died on 12 June 1878 and is buried in Frenstat, Moravia. It is believe Frank died of lung disease. Mazema was 49 years old when her husband died.

The name Genzer (in former registers written as Genser) can be found in the first registers of Frenstat and Ticha.

Mazema parents were Ignac Zidek and Mariana Tesaf. She probably married in Brusperk. Mazema applied for a passport to America on 20 September 1880 as a widow. Her application was recorded in the District Office in Frydek-Mistek on 23 September 1880. Passport number 7922/1880.

Mazema came to Ammannsville, Fayette County, Texas in 1880 with her children, through Galveston, Texas. Attached is a copy of the New Orleans Passenger List with Marie Genser’s arrival date as 11 November 1880, age 51, port of departure: Bremen, Germany, ship name: Nurnberg and port of arrival: New Orleans, Louisiana.

Their 8 children were all born in Frenstat, Moravia. They came with her on the same ship to Texas. 

Their oldest child is Frantisek Genzer, Jr., born on 12 March 1857.  He married Mariana Adamcik on 2 August 1880 and both of them are buried in the cemetery in Ammannsville, Texas. They had one son who lived one day and is buried in Ammannsville, Texas. Mariana died in 1905 and Frantisek, Jr. married Aneska Agnes Kabat from Moravia and she is buried in Ammannsville, Texas.

Their second child is Mariana or Mary Genzer, born on 9 (23 on tombstone) May 1859 in Frenstat, Moravia. She married Jan Zrubak on 26 May 1879. Her application for a passport was recorded in the District Office in Frydek-Mistek on 4 March 1880, America, passport number 7922/1880. It is possible that she married a Mr. Cizek (Cisak), Mr. Roz and Mr. Frank J. Gonser. Mr. Gonser was born in Ohio in 1871 and they married in 1888. They had one daughter, Mary Ann Gonser born 10 April 1889 in Parsons, Kansas. Mariana died on 30 March 1922 and is buried in St. Martin’s Cemetery, (was Mishak), now Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On her tombstone is written Mary Cisak Roz Genzer.

Their third child is Karel or Charles Genzer, my great grandfather. He was born on 3 September 1861 in Frenstat, Moravia. His application for emigration was dated on 20 September 1880.   He married Sophia or Zofie Hradecny on 5 February 1884 in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church at Bluff in Hostyn, Fayette County, Texas. Both of them are buried in the cemetery in Ammannsville, Texas. The Karel Genzer family came to Ammannsville in 1884. They farmed on the Heller estates and Mr. Genzer was also a shoe repair man. They had 11 children. Their son Otmar is my grandfather who died before I was born. His only son, Ludwig or Louis is my father. He died in 1986 and is buried in Mission Burial Park South, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. 

Their fourth child is Antonin or Anton Genzer. He was born on 17 December 1863 in Frenstat, Moravia. In the Register of Birth and in the Register of Frenstat citizens, the whole family left to America in 1880. His passport number is 7922/1880. His application for emigration was dated on 20 September 1880. He never married. Anton died on 15 March 1925 and is buried in St. Martin’s Catholic Cemetery, was Mishak, now Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Their fifth child is Josef or Fritz or Joe Genzer, Sr. He was born 8 February 1866 in Frenstat, Moravia. His application for emigration was the same one as his mother’s. He married Agnes or Anezka Knopek (Knapek) on 8 August 1888 in Fayette County, Texas. Joe died on 25 May 1925. Both of they are buried in St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Weimer, Texas. They had 11 children. They have a grandson, William Adolf, living in Wharton, TX. A granddaughter, Lorraine Mae Genzer Koenig, lives in Victoria, TX.

Their sixth child is Martin Leopold Genzer. Martin was born on 23 October 1869 in Frenstat, Moravia. His application for emigration was dated on 20 September 1880. He married Mary Ann or Maria or Mariana Slovak on 10 January 1893 in Ammannsville, Texas. Martin and Mary Genzer moved from Ammannsville, Texas in October 1899 to Mishak, Oklahoma. They bought 160 acres of land for $600.00. This land is located at S. E. 74th Street and Douglas Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Martin received his citizenship papers on 15 May 1906 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. Martin donated 2 acres of land to the Catholic Bishop of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the deed cost was $1.00 to build a church and cemetery. The church was built in 1909 and was named St. Martin. The couple had 6 sons and 2 daughters. Martin died on 12 October 1939, in his daughter’s home from a heart attack. His daughter’s name is Martha Nedbalek. Both of them are buried in St. Martin’s Catholic Cemetery, (was Mishak) now Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mary Ann died 5 November 1948 in the Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She died of pneumonia and leukemia. Father Murphy, St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has a copy of the deed and an 18 page article on Mishak, OK that was written in 1974. For the last 4 years that church has taken care of the cemetery and has a savings account set up for the maintenance of the cemetery.   

Their seventh child is Ferdinand or Fred L. Genzer. He was born on 29 September 1871 in Frenstat, Moravia. His application for emigration was the same as his mother’s. He married Rosalie or Rozalie Turek on 10 October 1893 in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church at Bluff, in Hostyn, Fayette County, Texas. Fred died on 9 April 1966 and both of them are buried in St. Martin’s Cemetery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The couple came to Ammannsville in 1883. The couple had 10 children. Fred was a charter member of the St. Vaclav Lodge and still belonged to the Ammannsville KJT after moving to Oklahoma. In a trip to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in November 2006, I met James Genzer and his sister Theresa Shaefer (descendants of George and Margaret Genzer). We agreed to write a book on the Genzer family in Moravia, Texas and Oklahoma to preserve the family history and tie us altogether for future generations. Also, I spoke with Kenneth Joseph Genzer, Jr. (descendant of Kenneth Joseph and Judith Genzer) about his family and Genzer history in Oklahoma. In Apr 2007, I spoke with Elizabeth Zaloudik Kolar (descendant of John and Rose Ann Genzer Zaloudik) who grew up in Mishak, Oklahoma.

Their eighth child is Frantiska or Francis Genzer. She was born in Frenstat, Moravia. Her application for emigration was dated on 20 September 1880. She married Joseph or Josef Keclif (Keclick) (Keelik) (Keslik) on 28 October 1895. I found a baby, Ladislav Keclik, lived 12 days and died on 28 Jun 1898 in Ammannsville, Texas. The funeral was conducted by Father Neubert. I believe she may have married a Mr. Adams. I do not know where she is buried either.


Mazema and 5 of her children moved to Mishak, Oklahoma in 1898. Oklahoma was a territory and became a state in 1907. A family could file a claim and get free land. I believe that Ammannsville was getting “crowded” with many large families needing more and more acres to farm. I believe this may have been one reason Mazema left with her grown children and grandchildren. Also, I was told by Henry Nekvapil, Taos, New Mexico, that a fast talking land developer or salesman from Mishak, Oklahoma talked Czech families into moving to Mishak, Oklahoma for “good farm land”. 

St. Martin’s church at Mishak, Oklahoma was built in 1909 by a group of Moravians and Czech settlers. Martin and Mary Genzer had donated the 2 acres of land for the church and St. Martin’s cemetery. It is located west of Douglas Boulevard on SE 74th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Mishak, Oklahoma was a small town with a school, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, grocery store, and a dance hall located over the store building. Two families lived there at that time. Mishak was located on what is now S.W. 59 and Douglas Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This small town was on the Oklahoma map for many years. The settlers received their mail from Marion, Oklahoma. Clear Springs, Mishak Cemetery is located on S.W. 59th. We visited the cemetery but only found the grave of Joe Turek, brother to Rosalie Turek Genzer and Anna Turek Rodesney.

In a telephone conversation with Richard Lee Genzer, Genzer Real Estate Company, he told me his grandfather, Ferdinand or Fred owned a dance hall located over the store building. Also, he delivered milk. Ferdinand owned 1200 acres and his farm is now the runway of Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. The runway lights are next to St. Martin’s Catholic cemetery.

The church that was built on this land was named St. Martin and mass was held once a month for many years. Priests would come from Harrah and Shawnee, Oklahoma to serve mass for the parishioners. St. Martin’s church was destroyed by vandalism and fire in 1950. Two large oak trees still stand in 2006 inside the fenced cemetery where the church once stood.

Katholicy Delnik (Catholic Workman) Lodge #104 was organized at Antone Vrana, Sr.’s home in January 1907. The second meeting was held at Fred Genzer’s home in March 1907. At that time, men were the only people that could belong to the lodge.


Three of Mazema’s children and their families stayed in Texas. Josef is buried in Weimer.  Charles and Frantisek are buried in Ammannsville. I have visited all three graves. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ammannsville has an annual picnic or home coming every year on Father’s Day. Many relatives attend this annual event.  There are Czech bands, fried chicken lunch, bingo, live auction, cake wheel and other activities for children.

The only picture I have of Mazema Genzer is in the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Book, in Ammannsville. She is in a picture with her son, Ferdinand and his family on page 100. She appears to be a small woman with her hair tightly pulled back.


Mazema is buried in the Catholic Section, Block 1, Lot 16S, Fairlawn Cemetery, on the north side of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On her tombstone is written: Zde Odpociva-Marie Genzer Nar V Brusperku, Na Morave, 12 Pros 1829, Zem it, Zem ji bud lehka. In English:  Here is resting/sleeping/Marie Genzer born in Brusperku in Moravia, 2 Dec 1829, land, let the soil be easy to her. I finally found her tombstone on 10 November 2006. She is buried by herself. The Catholic cemetery is well maintained. When I found her grave, the church bells rang and I cried. I finally found my great great grandmother, Marie Genzer.


Elijah L. Griffin

by David L. Collins, Sr.

Elijah L. GriffinElijah L. Griffin was born December 24, 1864 in Georgia, and based on the 1880 Census he was a farmer and his wife kept house.  There was not a listing where his mother and father were born.  The Census was taken June 22, 1880 in the 5th District of Fayette County, Texas.  The next census page showed the names of Sanford Griffin, black male age 23; farmer born in Texas.  Sanford’s mother and father were born in Georgia.  Also listed was Sanford’s mother Laura age 45 also born in Georgia (father and mother born in Georgia) and Stepfather Phillip age 75 born in Virginia, and his father and mother were born in Virginia.  A Jarriet or Jarrut was listed as Sanfords 19 year old son born in Texas.  All of this data was listed as a family unit and somewhat confusing, however, it is part of the story of Elijah L. Griffin.

Elijah L. Griffin married Henrietta Francis who was born in 1856 in Antioch (Lee County), Texas, one of the Freedom Colonies of Lee County, Texas.

A review of several Ancestry.com records, Elijah Griffin's parents were James M. Griffin and Laura Davis and may have also lived in Burleson County, Texas at one time. There may be a conflict between the Burleson, Fayette and Lee County Census.

Elijah and Henrietta Griffin were the proud parents of seven (7) children, that included Reddick (Red), Carry, Horace, August (Gus), James, H.T. (Huddy) and Laveda (Lizzie) Griffin.  One of his children, August (Gus) Griffin was born on March 2, 1878 in Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas.  He died on July 23, 1959 in Ledbetter, Texas.  August Griffin was married to Amy Estes, daughter of Roland Estes and Jennifer Kerr (born in Ledbetter, Texas).

August Griffin and Amy Estes had three (3) children (Elbert, Horace and Roland (Buddy).  My Aunt Katie Taylor (daughter of Wesley Taylor and Josephine Little) was married to his son Horace Griffin.
Based on the 1910 U. S. Census Elijah L. and Henrietta Francis-Griffin were living in Justice Precinct 1, Lee County, Texas, with five (5) of their children.  Sanford Griffin and his wife Anna, children, and grandchildren were living near Elijah and Henrietta.  Based on Ancestry.com Sanford Griffin is Elijah L. Griffin’s brother.

By the 1920’s the Elijah L. Griffin family had settled in their home and farming operation/business.

According to History of Lee County by the Lee County Historical Survey Committee, published in 1974, “For a few years an organization or company of Negro citizens owned and operated a cotton gin on Nails Creek.  The gin burned down either in 1921 or 1922.  Among the owners were: Will Crenshaw, Jasper Crenshaw, Bob Johnson, Wiley Hancock, Elijah Griffin, August Griffin, Duncan McCoy, Tobe Soloman and Parker Shepard”, many of whom migrated from Fayette County, Texas.

The Griffin Family which included Elijah’s son August, brother Sanford, and James Griffin owned 298 acres of land in the William Johnson League and 87 acres in the Friend Boatwright League in Lee County in 1953 fronting on Highway 141.

Elijah L. Griffin and the African American Pioneers, who migrated from Fayette County were very industrious, and purchased sandy clay land and made a great living.  What is amazing is that just next to the William Johnson League is the John Dobbins League of which 85% of the land in the league was owned by African American, which included my great-great Grandfather, Wesley Taylor and Martha Jane Crenshaw, Stephanys, Rivers, McCoys, Wilsons, Franceses, Daniels, Estes, Olivers, McNeils, Bookers, Shepards, Marions, and Centers to name a few.  What was unique about their purchases were that each of their tracts of land was contiguous to each other, and many of their family members still own land in the area.

Elijah L. Griffin died on April 3, 1941 in Giddings (Lee County), Texas, seven (7) days after I was born.

Our search continues to find out why Elijah L. Griffin’s and his partners gin burned down.


Franz, Sr. and Magdalena Krause Hausmann

By Carolyn Heinsohn

Franz Hausmann, Sr., the son of Johann Joseph and Appolonia Ritter, was born in House No. 40 in Schoenwald, Bohemia (now Krasny Les, Czech Republic) on February 21, 1821.  His family were descendants of German colonists who had settled in northern Bohemia before 1640.  He married Maria Magdalena Krause, born on August 5, 1830 in Hegewald, Bohemia (now Hejnice, Czech Republic), the daughter of Florian and Barbara Koenig Krause.

In the fall of 1853, Franz, Sr. emigrated from Bohemia to Texas, sailing on the Bark Friedrich Grosse with his brother, Josef, Sr. and wife, Maria Anna.  They arrived in Galveston in October, 1853 after 60 days at sea.  Family tradition states that Franz’s wife, Magdalena, and possibly his son were also with the group; however, the family got separated in Galveston, so Magdalena sailed back to Bremen, Germany.  Passenger lists at that time did not usually mention women by name, and minor children were not listed at all, so the only evidence is the mention of an additional person traveling with Joseph, Sr.  It is not known if the Hausmanns came directly to Fayette County or lived elsewhere before arriving here. 

Later records indicate that Franz, Sr., Magdalena, and their oldest son, Anton, arrived in Galveston from Bremen in the fall of 1856, so Franz must have returned to Bohemia to accompany his family back to Texas, making sure that they all arrived together this time.

Franz, Sr. registered a cattle brand in April, 1860 in Fayette County, so that supports the fact that he was already living in the county by that time. 

F. Hausmann, age 43 (actually 42), is shown as having enlisted in the Confederate Army in Fayetteville in October, 1863.  He was a private in Captain Martin Martindale’s Company of Unattached Infantry in the Fayette County 22nd Brigade.  Men of his age in the Unattached Infantry units often served as teamsters hauling cotton to Brownsville instead of doing active duty.   His wife and older son also received compensation for dependents of soldiers serving in the State or Confederate forces.

On February 14, 1870, Franz, Sr. purchased 205 acres of land between the south side of Buckner’s Creek and the Hallettsville Road in the Bluff community from August von Buttlar for $2050.  A close neighbor was Heinrich Kreische, the stonemason who built a brewery and home on top of the 200-foot bluff south of the Colorado River.   Kreische’s wife, Josepha Appelt, originated from the same village as Franz’s mother-in-law and coincidentally traveled with the Hausmanns on the same ship in 1853.  Soon after purchasing his land, Franz built a two-room rock house, perhaps with Kreische’s help.  That house is still standing with an addition and is currently a weekend home.

In addition to the oldest son, Anton (10/6/1850 – 12/22/1893), Franz, Sr. and Magdalena had three more children: Franz, Jr. “Frank” (5/4/1862 – 1/9/1958), married to Emma Strickler; Anna (8/28/1865 – 6/3/1955), married to Henry Charles Loehr; and Louis (5/25/1872 – 4/18/1958), married to Bertha Stark.

Magdalena died on March 25, 1906 at age 75 of unknown causes, and Franz, Sr. died of senility on February 24, 1913, three days after his 92nd birthday.  They are both buried in the Williams Creek Cemetery.


Louis and Bertha Stark Hausmann

By Carolyn Heinsohn

Louis and Bertha Stark HausmannLouis Hausmann, the youngest child of Franz, Sr. and Magdalena Hausmann, was born on May 25, 1872 in the rock house built by his father on the family farm in the Bluff community shortly after his father purchased the property in 1870.  Louis attended the old Bluff School and grew up with his Hausmann cousins in an area that was a wonderful place for children – multiple springs, waterfalls, a swimming hole, caves, great hiking places, plus a nearby creek and river that provided swimming and boating opportunities.

He married Bertha Stark on December 27, 1894.  She was born on January 15, 1870 in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of Charles August and Christina Frieble Stark, also recorded as Storic.  Her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1873 and first lived in Brooklyn, New York.  Her father became a pack peddler, serving customers in rural New York, but by 1881, the family, which included six children, moved to Fayette County where her father farmed.  For some reason, most of the family moved back to Brooklyn between 1886 and 1893, but then returned to Fayette County.  Bertha’s father resumed farming, but then purchased the Dessau Hall north of Austin in 1898 and moved there with his remaining family.  He and his wife also owned and operated a grocery store and saloon in Dessau.

After their marriage, Louis and Bertha lived and farmed on his father’s property on Creamer Creek Road in the Bluff community.  They purchased some property from his parents and eventually inherited the homestead and farm after his parents’ deaths.

Louis was very skilled with woodworking, having built various pieces of furniture out of cedar harvested on his farm, including childen’s furniture for his daughter.  His descendants still possess some of furniture that he crafted.  He also belonged to the Bluff Schuetzen Verein and was crowned King one year after winning the annual “King’s Shoot”.  In 1896, he found a 17-pound meterorite on the family farm, which is now on display in the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin, Texas.  He also played the violin and was a phenomenal runner.

According to her descendants, Bertha was a champion skeet shooter.  Her great-granddaughter still has one of the medals that Bertha won in a competitive match.  Bertha’s sister, Emilie, married Emil Hausmann, the youngest son of Joseph Hausmann, Jr., who was a first cousin of Louis Hausmann.  Emil died a year after their marriage, so Emilie then married Emil Peschka, whose parents also lived in the Bluff community.  Emil was the son of Wendelin and Christiane Wandke Peschka, whose father built the cedar organ in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top, Texas.  Hannah Stark, another sister of Bertha and Emilie, married Emil Peschka’s brother, Louis Henry Peschka.  Most of the Peschka family eventually moved to Austin where they were involved in the grocery business.

Louis and Bertha had one son, Frank Louis (9/20/1897 – 5/21/1952), who married Delta Marie Helmcamp (12/11/1900 – 9/15/1989), the daughter of Henry and Lena Knigge Helmcamp.  Frank Louis first farmed and then worked at Schulze’s Grocery and then at Adamcik’s Appliance Store.  Delta was a homemaker and active member of the Bluff Home Demonstration Club.  They had one daughter, Elsie Mae, who married Leon Adamcik of Smithville, and one granddaughter, Doris (Otto).

Bertha died at age 68 of chronic congestive heart failure on December 31, 1938, and Louis died on April 18, 1958 at age 85 of the same condition.  Both are buried in the Williams Creek Cemetery. 


Gerhard and Sophie Fehrenkamp Heinsohn

Contributed by Rox Ann Albrecht Johnson

Eilert "Gerhard" Heinsohn was born at Jade in Oldenburg on February 13, 1822 to Hinrich "Diedrich" and Anna Marie Rodefeld Heinsohn. He served in the German army before emigrating through Hamburg with his brother Anton in 1847. Two brothers, Friedrich and Johann, had already immigrated to Texas in 1845 and two married brothers, Wilhelm and Heinrich, and their families would follow in 1850. His only sister, Catherine Marie, had died as a toddler.

By 1850 all of the brothers except Friedrich had made their way to Frelsburg in Colorado County where others from their village in Germany had already come. Among them was Anna Margrete "Sophie" Fehrenkamp, who was born at Jade on January 9, 1838 to Bernhard Anton and Anna Catherine Rohde Fehrenkamp and immigrated with them in 1844. Gerhard and Sophie married on January 4, 1855, shortly after her mother died and her father remarried. The Heinsohns first lived at Frelsburg, where unlike most of their German countrymen, they owned a female slave, reportedly causing a rift with Gerhard's brother, Anton.

The Heinsohns had twelve children: Maria "Wilhelmine" (Minnie) (13 May 1857 - 13 Dec 1940) married William Schweke, August (27 Sep 1858 - 9 Jul 1920) married Adele J. Scharnberg, Emma Helene (3 May 1860 - 1 Aug 1921) married Albert Wagner, Mary Katherine (1 Nov 1862 - 18 Jun 1943) married Charles Theodore (Charlie) Zapp, Friedrike Margrotha (14 Nov 1864 - before 1870) died as a small child, Gerhard Werner (8 Jun 1866 - 10 Oct 1953) married Emma Lincke; Emilie Friedrike (Emily) (10 Aug 1869 - 2 Feb 1942) married August "Monroe" Johnson; Louis Gerhard (18 Mar 1872 - 4 May 1945) married Nora Fehrenkamp; Charles (Charlie) (18 Mar 1875 - 24 Mar 1882) died as a young boy; Helene "Matilda" (16 Nov 1879 - 29 Oct 1968) married first Adolph D. Krueger and after his death Henry C. Fehler,  Ida Mary (24 Jan 1882 - 23 Feb 1960) married Rev. August Beteit, and Ella Therese (30 Oct 1884 - 27 Aug 1964), married Rev. Hans Krause. The oldest child, Minnie, was twenty-seven years old with a family of her own, when her youngest sister, Ella was born.

Gerhard is said to have hauled flour as a teamster for the Confederacy and also made trips to Mexico to hawk supplies. By 1872 the Heinsohns had moved across the Fayette County line near the Willow Springs community where they became prosperous through farming. Most of the children lived in the area when they first married, but only August, Gerhard, Emily, and Louis spent the rest of their lives in Fayette County.

Gerhard and Sophie Heinsohn remained members of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at Frelsburg, where they now lay in the church cemetery. Gerhard passed away at age eighty on September 18, 1902. Sophie died on September 8, 1916 at age seventy-eight. The Heinsohns' old home on what is now Prihoda Road, though long vacant and now uninhabitable, is owned by a grandson and still standing almost a hundred years after her passing.

John and Anna Meyer Heinsohn

Contributed by Rox Ann Albrecht Johnson

Johann Gerhard Heinsohn was one of six Heinsohn brothers who immigrated to Texas. Born in the village of Jaderberg near Varel in Oldenburg on February 4, 1827, his parents were Hinrich "Diedrich" and Anna Marie Rodefeld Heinsohn. His mother had died and his father had remarried by the time John and an older brother, Friedrich, arrived in Galveston on "The Ferdinand" in June 1845. Immigration records show that he left through Bremerhaven, a carpenter hoping for a better life in Texas. Friedrich spent the rest of his life in the Galveston area, but by 1850 John was living at Frelsburg in Colorado County with two other brothers, Heinrich and Gerhard, and Heinrich's wife and child.

On January 17, 1853, John married Anna Meyer, the daughter of Johann Hinrich and Anna Margarita Dorothea Glander Meyer, who had been living in the Ross Prairie area of Fayette County since about 1842. Anna was born in Hanover on September 29, 1836. After they married, the Heinsohns bought property in Post Oak Point area of Austin County. John farmed there, as well as working as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. Several descendants are the proud owners of his hand-made furniture.

John and Anna had five children: John (22 Mar 1854-6 Feb 1894), who married Maria "Louisa" Brune ; Anna Maria (13 Jul 1856-1 Nov 1928), who married Julius Beck;  Wilhelmina "Nancy" (19 Dec 1858 - 12 Jan 1921), who married Max Gustav Albrecht; Elise (29 Jan 1861 - 7 Feb 1908), who married Johann Frederick (Fritz) Lingnau; and Wilhelmine Sophie (Minnie) (9 Jan 1864 - 21 Dec 1938), who married Johann "Friedrich" (Fred) Hillmann.

According to the late Janice Heinsohn Cloteaux, John Heinsohn aided the Confederacy by delivering mail to soldiers in the field. The Civil War was still raging when Anna died on March 10, 1864, two months after giving birth to their daughter Minnie. Minnie was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery at Frelsburg. John found himself unable to care for an infant, so Minnie was brought up by an otherwise childless couple, John and Sophia Wittbecker, who lived at Ross Prairie and later Schulenburg. His daughter, Nancy, also spent some time living with the Wittbeckers, though the older children mostly remained with John.

In his later years, John was unable to farm because of an asthmatic condition. He made his home with John Heinsohn, Jr. near Osage in Colorado County until his son's  death in 1894, then lived a short time with his brother, Gerhard W. Heinsohn, at Willow Springs. He spent most of his last years with his daughter, Nancy Albrecht, in the Bluff area near La Grange. He passed away on April 11, 1903, on a prolonged visit to his daughter, Minnie Hillmann, in Yoakum and is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery there.

Nancy Heinsohn Albrecht raised a family of six children in Fayette County, as well as taking in her sister Elise's youngest daughter, Linda Mae Lingnau. Her nephew, John Heinsohn, also spent his later years in La Grange as the owner of the Heinsohn Cafe on the square.


Charles and Margaret Riser Hill

Contributed by LaVerne Gibson

Charles Hill married Margaret Riser in 1860 and settled in Fayette County on land inherited from his Mother, who was Mary Alley, daughter of William and Sarah Alley who got a Spanish land grant in 1827 which had to be proved by their eldest son John, because William Alley was killed by Indians. The land was divided into fourths, John Alley, William Alley, Sarah Chaplain, and Mary Hill in three separate court documents, in 1840's and 1850's. Thomas and Mary Hill had 4 children William, Charles, Jane and John Wallace Hill. Their father Thomas Hill, had his own land grant in Austin County in 1831, but sold it and moved most of his family back to Missouri in 1838. Evidently his wife Mary had died and he remarried in St. Francois Co. Mo. to Hester League and had another large family there and died in 1892.

Charles Hill and Margaret Riser had 4 children, Alice, Molly, Charles and Bonnie Thomas(AKA Barney). Listed in 1870 at Bluff post office. Martha's mother was Julia Ann Green Mercer, whose Father, Asa Simmons Mercer and her husband Martin Ricer bought land from the 'Heirs of William Alley,' but both men died of influenza in 1850 leaving Julia a widow with 3 small children, one of which was Martha. Julia then married to T. J. Walker, who was guardian to Charles Wallace and Bonnie Hill for a while after Their father Charles Hill, Martha's husband who died in 1877. No record has been found of the burial of either Charles or Martha. We assume they may have buried on the farm. Their daughter Alice married G. C. Harwell, Molly married a Long. Charles married Elizabeth Johnson and had 6 children in Comanche, Texas, Bonnie Thomas married Ada Lea Chambers and settled in Stanton, TX. My mother was the daughter of Wallace LaVerne Hill, who was son of Charles Wallace and Elizabeth Hill.


Anton, Jr. and Elizabeth Bruese Hoelscher

By Carolyn Heinsohn, great-great granddaughter
Anton Hoelscher, Jr.

Elizabeth Bruese Hoelscher

Anton Hoelscher, Jr., son of Anton, Sr. and Mary Catherine Daldrup Hoelscher, was born near Olfen in the Munsterland region of the province of Westfalen, Prussia (now Germany) on January 14, 1824.  At age 23, Anton, Jr. immigrated to Texas with his parents and four brothers, Joseph, William, Franz and Bernard, arriving in Galveston in late December, 1846.  His sister, Elizabeth, married to Theodore Buxkemper, emigrated four years later with their three children.  Anton’s brother, Franz, died before 1850.

Anton, Jr’s fiancee, Anna Maria Elizabeth Ahsen-Bruese, known by her shorter name, Elizabeth Bruese, born on November 15, 1815, accompanied the Hoelscher family to Texas.  Anton, Jr. and Elizabeth were the first couple to be married on April 5, 1847 in the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in the Cummins Creek Settlement (now Frelsburg) in Colorado County.  

The Hoelscher family was among the 4,000 German immigrants who traveled to Texas with the Adelsverein during the last quarter of 1846.  The Verein was a society of German noblemen who hoped to realize a profit from purchasing a three-million acre tract of land, known as the Fisher-Miller Grant, in west-central Texas with the intention of settling half of it with Germans and retaining the remainder of the land.  The Verein eventually collapsed due to mismanagement, but the Hoelschers were awarded the full amounts of promised land – 640 acres for a married man and 320 acres for a single man.  Since Anton, Jr. married before the registration of the grants, he was granted 640 acres in McCullough County.  Due to its remote location in Indian country and poor soil, Anton, Jr., along with his parents and male siblings all chose to remain in Colorado County until the early 1850s when they moved to Fayette County.  They all eventually sold their land grants.  Elizabeth Buxkemper and her family chose to live in the Frelsburg area.

Anton, Jr. and Elizabeth bought various parcels of land first at Ross Prairie and then near the village of Live Oak Hill located at the foot of Live Oak Hill (also known as Hostyn Hill) east of present-day Ellinger in southeastern Fayette County.  Their remaining 140 ½ acre farm is still owned by their descendants.  They first lived in a log cabin that is still preserved on that farm, then in a two-room single-wall house with an upstairs loft and an outdoor kitchen, built in the 1860s.  In circa 1880, they built a two-story saltbox-style house with a parlor and three bedrooms next to the 1860s house.  Sometime in the 1890s, the two houses were connected with a dining room.  The 1880 section has been moved to the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange and is used as a museum by the Polka Lovers Club of Texas.

During the Civil War, Anton, Jr. was enlisted in Rabb’s Company of Unattached Troops, 22nd Brigade, CSA, stationed at Columbus, Texas.  He served as a teamster for three months, hauling cotton to Brownsville.

Anton, Jr. and Elizabeth reared six children, all of whom helped contribute to the growth of the communities of Ellinger, Westphalia and Olfen, Texas.  They were: Anton F., 7/13/1848 – 1/16/1909 (married Elizabeth Mueller and Amalia Mozemeyer); Casper, 12/31/1849 – 6/4/1937 (married  Elizabeth Moeller); Elizabeth, 1/25/1852 – 12/13/1932 (married Bernard Matthiesen); Joseph Anton, 2/5/1854 – 12/26/1925 (married Minnie Zurborg); William A., 11/27/1856 – 8/16/1944 (married Marie Neimann Maiwald); and Marie, 12/22/1858 – 11/5/1912 (single).

Elizabeth died on February 20, 1901 at age 86, and Anton, Jr. died on March 1, 1915 at age 92.  Both are buried at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery at Hostyn Hill (Live Oak Hill) near Ellinger, Texas.

William and Marie Hoelscher

By Carolyn Heinsohn, great-granddaughter

William and Marie Neimann HoelscherWilliam A. (Wilhelm) Hoelscher, the fifth child of Anton Hoelscher, Jr. and Elizabeth Bruese, was born November 27, 1856 in a log cabin on the first 50 acres of land that his father had purchased in 1854 in the Live Oak Hill area, about 15 miles southeast of La Grange and about one mile east of Ellinger, Texas.  He was baptized in the small log St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at Ross Prairie, a mission church of Frelsburg , Texas that was built by the Hoelschers and other early settlers in the area.  A few years later, that church was moved to Live Oak Hill and was renamed St. Mary’s in 1879.

The Hoelscher family emigrated from a rural area near Olfen in the Westfalen province of Prussia (now Germany) in 1846, first settling in the Cummins Creek Settlement (now Frelsburg) in Colorado County.  They moved to the Ross Prairie area of  Fayette County by the early 1850s.  William’s father, Anton, Jr., bought additional land in the area of the village of Live Oak Hill; that farm became the family homestead.  This farm at one time totaled 230 ¾ acres, but part of it was sold to William’s brother, Casper, and some was granted as a railroad right-of-way, leaving 140 ½ acres.  

On November 22, 1892, William, age 36, married a widow, Maria Anna Neimann Maiwald, age 33, who had a two-year old daughter, Otillie.  Maria was born at Ross Prairie on February 19, 1859, the daughter of John and Wilhelmina Stuckenbrok Neimann.  William and Maria were married in Fayetteville by Rev. Joseph Chromcik.  Maria’s first husband, Leopold Maiwald, died six months earlier from influenza and only four months after both of her parents had died days apart with the same illness. 

In June 1893, Anton Jr. and Elizabeth sold their 140 ½ acre farm to their son, William, for $700 with the understanding that he would maintain the property, but that they would actually possess the land until their deaths, at which time William would take possession of the farm.  William and Maria continued to live on this farm, where their three children were born: Amalia, 8/23/1893 – 8/18/1964 (married Alex Fehmer); Henry, 8/24/1895 – 1/9/1976 (married Sophie Gully); and Anna, 6/12/1898 – 11/27/1951.  Maria’s daughter, Otillie, also lived with them until her marriage to August Schneider.  Amalia and Alex Fehmer had no children; Henry and Sophie had six sons and one daughter: Edwin, Walter, Clemence, Willie, Nora (Schobel), Henry, Jr. and Albert.  Anna had one daughter, Minnie (Sumbera).

William and Maria also owned two adjoining farms consisting of a total of 224 acres that were located approximately two miles south of Ellinger in northern Colorado County.  Their son, Henry, moved to one of the farms after his marriage and eventully purchased it.  The other farm was rented out and eventually sold multiple times.  The 140 ½ acre farm was later purchased by Amalia and Alex Fehmer from the William Hoelscher estate and is still owned by descendants of William and Maria.  There were two houses built on that property – the 1880 bedroom/parlor section was moved to the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center and is used as the museum for the Polka Lovers Club of Texas.

Maria died on August 8, 1927 at age 68, and William died on August 16, 1944 at age 87 of a cerebral hemorrhage.  He lived to see his first great-grandchild, Carolyn Sumbera (Heinsohn), the author of this story, who was five months old when he died.  Both Maria and William are buried in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery at Hostyn Hill (Live Oak Hill) near Ellinger.


Johann Hruska

contributed by Lillie Mae Brightwell
Jan Hruska
Johann ( or Jan) Hruska was born June 20,1831 at Jablunka, Moravia, (today Czech Republic) then Czechoslovakia. He served in the Conferate Army as a teamster.

Below from National archives:

In the Confederate army 1861-til end of war Pvt. comm officer: Hillebrand, R. Capt. Organization: Rutersville German Co. Inf. Reserve Co. of 2nd class, TM enlisted July 1, 1861 Remarks; R & F 43, election certificate with roll; Co Comm. Au 21-61 Headquarters at Rutersville, TX, Fayette CO. 1 MR.

Johann's son, Thomas S. Hruska, Sr., writes memories of his father:

"My father hauled cotton and was paid in gold. The gold was hoarded in an old coffee pot in our house in Rutersville. When the pot was full we bought a farm in Rutersville.

One day a Confederate officer from La Grange came to the house. The sight of the officer frightened my Mother. He stood in the open doorway and asked for her husband. Also demanding to know his age - Without thinking, she replied "fifty years" (he was a lot younger). The officer said "Very good. Have him come to La Grange tomorrow and I will make an affidavit which he will sign before a notary public. The fee will be fifty cents and we will attend to the rest.

Mother pleaded with the officer not to take her husband and as she pleaded she held one of the hoarded sixteen dollar gold pieces in her hand. Reaching out and catching hold of the officer's hand she put the gold piece in it. At first he did not want to take it, but he finally slipped it into his pocket and told her to have father go to Rutersville the next morning. Father was there at the appointed time. He was drafted and given a government pass as a cotton hauler. Before he returned from his last trip for the Confederacy the war was over. After the war, he continued to haul cotton. The country was infested with bands of robbers which made conditions bad for the teamsters. Father bored holes with an auger in the wagon tongue and there in placed the gold pieces. He then effectually covered the holes and in this way was able to bring his earnings safely home."

Johann Hruska died October 2,1894 and was buried at the Brethren Church on Ross Prairie Rd. in Fayetteville, TX the next day. His wife received a Confederate Veteran's pension after his death.

Herman Christoph and Meta Joost Klaevemann

Written in June 1971 by Callie Klaevemann Hertel, who took much of the following from a diary kept by Herman Christoph Klaevemann

Contributed by Jon Todd Koenig

Herman Christoph Klaevemann was born on November 2, 1837, at Oldenbrok Herzogthum, Oldenburg, Germany. Here he lived with his parents till the wanderlust struck him. His father, Johan Herman Dietrick Klaevemann was born in 1809 and was killed by lightening on June 24, 1879. His mother, Anna Adelheid Bruening Klaevemann was born in 1803 and died in December of 1875. On March 23, 1874, he and several of his friends set sail for America, "The land of plenty." They sailed on the steamship Frankfurt, from Bremerhaven, Germany.

He kept a diary of his journey and some of this information was taken from those pages, which were all stuck together and hard to read.

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon on March 26, 1874, they neared the French coast, and were towed into the Harbor of Havre, where they spent the night. They all got off the ship and went sightseeing. At night they were all back and danced to the tunes of an accordian, drum and waldhorn.

The next morning they sailed bright and early, after picking up more passengers. From then on the trip was slow and monotonous and everybody was glad when the ship arrived at Galveston on April 23 a month later. Galveston was a busy place, being the main trading place in Texas. Buyers came from all over Texas to stock up on their needs.

That same afternoon they took a train to Schulenberg. The train track out of Galveston was under a foot of water due to heavy rains. They landed safely in Schulenberg and then had to find work. He worked in a cotton gin near Freyburg, and several other places. In a year he had saved up enough money to go back to Germany to get his girlfriend, Meta Joost, who had refused to make the trip alone. She was born on January 27, 1849, and was 26 years old.

On March 8, 1875, he left Galveston and boarded a cattle ship which took him to Morgan City, Louisiana. From there he went by train to New Orleans and stayed till March 16, when he went aboard the good ole steamship, Frankfurt. Two cannon shots were fired and away they went down the Mississippi. In his diary he wrote, "It's a beautiful sight to see the town of New Orleans with all the cotton and sugar mills. All around there were hundreds of steamships and sail boats. The country is beautiful with all the plantations."

At 3 o'clock that afternoon they reached the Gulf where they had to cross the sand bar. Of course, they got stuck in it since the water was only 14 feet deep. On the 18th two good sized boats came and tried to tow them out, but the lines broke. The Frankfurt was loaded down pretty heavy with 4,000 bales of cotton, flour and other things. Then, it started to rain and everyone had to get below deck. They passed the time by eating, drinking and sleeping. There were 81 passengers aboard at the time. Finally on the 19th, a big ship stopped by and offered to push them out. They fired up the engines and managed to get out by midnight, after being stuck for three days.

On Monday, March 22, they reached Havana, Cuba. He wrote, "The port is very beautiful with its high cliffs and the entrance is very narrow and has some vicious looking cannons placed on each side, and a few fierce looking battleships stood guard." While they were in Havana they loaded up on coal, tobacco and liquor to take to England, France and Germany. By night everybody was feeling good and dancing on the ship. Cuban boys came on board and sold coconuts, oranges and bananas.

On March 23, they were joined by ten new passengers, two cannon shots were fired again and they drifted out to sea. On the 27th, the sea was very high and the boat really rocked. They were about 24 hours out of New York. On Friday they had made about 330 miles and were now close to the North American shore which was the reason it was so cold. The French and Spaniards almost froze to death and all huddled around the big smoke stack and drank wine, which they had bought by the case in Havana. March 31, it was snowing and they were getting closer to the icebergs. They made it safely past about 100 icebergs which were all sizes. Some were 200 or 300 feet high, some looked white and some a pretty blue.

On April 8, they arrived in the English channel and on April 9, they were in the Port of South Hampton. He stated, "The country along the water is sort of hilly and has wooded sections, just like Texas. Some very pretty villas and castles could be seen."

April 10, it was cold and foggy and they didn't make much headway. In the afternoon it cleared up and they could see hundreds of little fishing boats out close to the ship.

Sunday the 11th, was beautiful weather and not a cloud in the sky. The passengers were all in high spirits and getting dolled up. At 12 o'clock a small Lloyd steamship came to take the passengers aboard because it just happened to be low tide. After an hour they were in the Port of Bremerhaven, Germany and they went by train to Bremen, Germany. They spent the night in "Willie's Gasthaus" and the next morning he went on to Oldenburg to his home and loved ones.

He and his girl friend left Bremerhaven June 14, 1876, landed in New York, came through Cincinatti, Ohio, and spent July 4, in Des Moines, Iowa. Here they first had in mind to settle down because some of their friends had settled here and liked it very much. Iowa was a rich farming country and the price of land was high, which helped them decide to go on to Texas.

The trip from there was very slow due to heavy rains and sometimes they had to stop out in the open country all day for bridge repairs. The people were prepared for all of this and had brought coffee pots and would build fires by the side of the tracks and brewed coffee by the gallons. They finally reached the Texas border July 14, and came to Schulenberg, Texas.

They got married August 16, 1876 by the Justice of the Peace and settled in the Black Jack Springs community where they farmed. On December 21, 1880 they bought a 200 acre farm from A. Bauer for $3,500.00 near Freyburg. They bought 6 cows and as years went by they increased into a nice sized herd. Another 6 yearlings and I cow were added, which they bought for $50.00 and their herd increased to about 40 head. Most of the implements were home made - a harrow was made from pieces of 4 X 4 and he also made corn and cotton planters. They raised a good bunch of chickens, the hard way, by clucks. Between the chicken hawks and snakes there weren't too many left sometimes.

Things were pretty disgusting at times.

They raised good hogs, too. The good home made sausage and ham lasted nearly all year. She planted a large garden and everything grew, as they had no insects then. There was a big peach orchard on the place, so they canned and dried peaches. It took quite a bit of food to feed a family of 8 and everything was raised on the farm except flour, sugar and coffee. The coffee was bought for $0.50 for 10 pounds and that was green coffee.

They raised a family of 5 sons and 3 daughters. When the children were old enough they took over and did the farming. Little by little the children got married so the parents sold half of their farm and rented the rest out to neighbors. The last part of the farm was sold December 28, 1928 for the sum of $4,500.00 for 100 acres of land.

Following below are the names of the children born to Herman Christoph Klaevemann and his wife Meta Joost.

Minna, Henry, (Carl, who died at the age of I month), Willie, Marie, (Adolph, who died at the age of one year), Herman and Cally. Of this family three brothers passed away in 1961, leaving three sisters of the family.

Herman Christoph Klaevemann passed away November 25, 1926 at the age of 89.

His wife passed away January 7, 1928 at the age of 78 years. Both Herman Christoph Klaevemann and Meta Joost Klaevemann are buried at the Methodist cemetery in the Freyburg community near Schulenberg, Texas.

John Henry Koenig

Written and contributed by Jon Todd Koenig

On Tuesday, November 3, 1908, a new baby boy, John Henry Koenig, was born to John August Koenig (then age 31) and his wife Mary Klaevemann Koenig (then age 25), at Black Jack Springs, Texas. The youngster was the fourth child, having been preceeded by brothers Charlie and Bob, as well as sister Helen. He was named for his father, with the Fayette County Clerk, Rudolph Klatt, a one armed man, having helped in the naming process when the birth was registered in the Fayette County Court House in La Grange, Texas. As had been the practice earlier, it is believed that little John Henry was assisted into this world by midwife, Tante "Rika" Boettcher, a sister of little John's grandmother, Dorothea Dinklage Koenig. While young John's mother had been born in Texas, his father, John August Koenig, was a native of Oldenburg, Germany, and hence little John's generation was the first generation of Koenigs to be born in Texas. His mother's parents, Herman Christopher and Meta Joost Klaevemann had come to Texas in 1876 and had raised their children, including John's mother, Mary Klaevemann, at Freyburg, Texas, a few miles southeast of the Koenig Farm where John Henry was born. The Farm on which John Henry was born had at one time belonged to the famous German poet, Johannes C. N. Romberg, who was well known during the early German settlement of the area. The language spoken by the Koenig family was German, both "high German" and the "Oldenburger Platt-Deutsch" or "low German".

John Henry Koenig obviously loved his family, and he recalls greeting the children after him, including Sam, Hattie, Bill, Paul, Walter and Myrtle. When he was old enough to help, he was expected to take care of the younger children, which he did somewhat reluctantly. When he was about 5 years old, he managed to get a hoe of his own and decided he would rather, help in the field than take care of the younger children. So started a life-long career of being a farmer and rancher. Johnny, as he is called by many of his family, worked his way up the table at the Koenig household as the older children left and eventually got to sit next to his Dad, John A. Koenig. Here he stayed, being absent for trips to Vernon, Texas in North Texas and being absent temporarily while working for Hausmann Water Well Drilling Company at about age 17, until he was age 24 and married Elva Marguerite Oeding. He received plenty of training to be a good farmer and rancher from his father and others and he also got plenty of on-the-job training. He even learned how to become a butcher, when his first cousin from Germany, Friedel Koenig, later known as Fred King, lived with the Koenigs for a while. Friedel was a trained butcher from Germany. Friedel was the oldest child of Gerhardt Koenig, the older brother of John August Koenig. Little John's grandfather, also known as Johann Koenig, and the oldest son, Gerhardt Koenig had stayed in Germany when little John's grandmother, Dorothea Dinklage Koenig and her three youngest children, John August, Frieda, and Charles, came to America and Texas in November of 1889, probably on the steamer, Trave. The Koenig family raised chickens, cattle and other livestock. They also had cotton and corn as primary crops. Some of the closest neighbors to the Koenig farm on the headwaters of the West Navidad River had names like Romberg, Stuedler, Narendorf, Otten, Boettcher, Haas, Holtz, Knape, Ullrich, Heinrich, Olle, Koehler, Guettermann, Luck, Frank, and others. The farm was situated on a very nice hill which gave the family a fine view. The farm eventually, after the second purchase from neighbor Ernst Romberg, was composed of 142 acres in the T. 0. Berry League. A clear creek, which later becomes the Navidad River, ran through the Western edge of the farm, as well as along parts of the eastern edge of the farm.

The creek on the eastern edge contains a fairly long clear pond which the Koenig children (and others) used as a swimming hole. On one memorable occasion, several Koenig boys and others (including Ed Hoehne) were swimming in the nude in the old swimming hole when a teenage girl, Millie Olbert, came up on the boys and stole their clothes. Along with Millie were her sisters, Minnie and Mary plus some Roeder girls. Millie later married Charlie Ulrich. Little John Koenig, then about 8 or 9 years old, immediately gave chase in the nude, knowing that the choice was between his modesty or a spanking if he lost his clothes. He managed to retrieve his lost clothes from a surprised teen-aged girl.

With a number of children being born after John, he managed to be the messenger to fetch Mrs. Oehler, the midwife, for some of the subsequent births. The old family horse, Charlie, was the method of transportation for John & Helen and others from time to time. Johnny also had a horse named "Nancy" which he rode for a number of years. In turn "Nancy" had a colt known as "Coalie" by a Shetland pony owned by Fritz Vogt and three mules known as "Kate, "Mollie", and "Mike", all from a "Jack" owned by the Oedings. While Johnny never knew his Grandfather Koenig, who had stayed in Germany, he felt very close to his Grandfather Klaevemann (who was originally from Oldenbrok, Germany). In fact he rode Nancy to see his Grandfather from time to time at the Klaevemann farm about one mile southeast of the Freyburg Store, also known as Grover Gleckler's Store. One interesting story involves a horse, Nancy, which would always tear the reins if she was tied. When Johnny told his Grandfather Klaevemann of this, old Grandad Klaevemann said he could fix that bad habit. He took a chain and tied the horse. The tree to which the horse was tied is still standing, as is the old Klaevemann home at Freyburg, Texas, but the horse, being very sensible, did not try to tear the chain at all.

Grandfather Klaevemann also asked Johnny one day if he would promise him something. Johnny said he would. Then Grandfather Klaevemann said he would give Johnny a $20 gold piece if Johnny would promise to always keep it as a keepsake and family heirloom. Johnny made the promise and has honored his promise to his Grandfather, never parting with the 1854 twenty dollar gold piece. Johnny's grandfather Klaevemann had a knack for burying money as well, and once nearly misplaced a bottle in which he had buried $500, because his son-in-law, John A. Koenig, had inadvertantly pulled a nail out of the side of a barn which had marked the place of the buried money.

Johnny went to school, where he was called "Der Dicke", meaning the thick or fat one, while he was very young. However, he became quite slim later. He attended Romberg School, which was about one and one-half mile south of the Koenig home. Teachers at the Romberg School were Nellie Bruegger for his first year and Isabell Jackson for his second year. Other earlier teachers at the Romberg School were Katie Banks and her sister Mamie Banks Romberg, who was married to Ernest Romberg. He also went to Luck's school, after the Romberg school closed. Luck's school was quite a bit further from the Koenig home, being three miles north east of the Koenig homestead. While at Luck's School, Johnny managed to snitch a love letter which the young woman teacher, Miss Dora Martin, had received from her beau, Ernest Luck. Johnny was given amnesty on the condition he return the love letter. Being a reasonable young teenager, he agreed. Other teachers at Luck's School were Annie Loessin, Susie McGowan, and Viola Meyer. He went through the 7th grade, but continued a lifetime of reading which educated him years beyond his formal education.

As a young person, he was very interested in baseball and played on the Abbotts Grove team, playing third base, while his brother Sam played pitcher. Other pastime activities included going to dances at the O'Quinn Hall (near the Julius Oeding farm), the Freyburg Hall (near the Freyburg Methodist Church), the Plum Dance Hall, the Ammannsville Dance Hall, and the Swiss Alp Hall, as well as Play-Parties at homes such as the Raabe home. Johnny and Sam also learned how to borrow the family car to go to dances. Sam would ask their Dad if he wanted to go with them to a dance, to which question Pop Koenig replied, "What do I want at a dance?", whereupon the boys got to go to the dance with the family car. Johnny also learned several musical instruments, including the alto saxaphone, the violin, and the accordian (button type) which were all fun to play and which were played at some of the Parties. He took weekly music lessons for $5 a month on the saxaphone from Professor Striethoff in La Grange when he was about 20. He learned to play the violin and accordian on his own, being able to play by ear very well. Johnny's brother, Charlie, took violin lessons from Jim Bell, an old time fiddler from near Muldoon. Johnny learned to play violin from listening to Charlie. Johnny bought a used violin at the Hilcher Book Store on the West side of the Square in La Grange, which had the name Stratavarius inside the violin. Sam and Johnny played violin duets and also played duets on the sax (Johnny) and clarinet (Sam).

When he was dating Elva Oeding, he often rode his horse to the Paul Oeding farm near Freyburg to see Elva. One very foggy night as he was riding home to the Koenig farm, with his horse, Nancy, traveling on her own in the very dark fog, he heard a loud "CLANG" and realized his stirrup had hit the stirrup on another horse, and looking quickly, could see a horse's tail disappearing in the other direction. Several weeks later in talking to Gussie Sommer, he finally determined who the other rider had been since Gussie was telling a similar story.

In addition to riding his horse, Johnny also eventually got a Model A Sport Roadster which he had at the time of his marriage to Elva. Prior to getting married, Johnny loved to tell stories of his spending many a night in the Fayette County jail. However, the facts reflect that, Johnny's older brother, Bob, was the jailer and later Deputy Sheriff, and lived in the jail. Hence his younger brother could stay with him from time to time and legitimately stay in jail, although he could leave at any time while the regular inmates were not so lucky. About this time Johnny found an old one-spring wall clock, at the Vogt livery stable, which he was helping tear down, which was given to him by Fritz Vogt since it did not work. Fritz Vogt was the father of Johnny Vogt and Harry Vogt. Johnny Koenig cleaned up the clock and it still runs well in 1989 in the John Koenig home. [See wedding story below.]

John Koenig also started being involved in Democratic politics very early. His father, John A. Koenig, was an election judge. Johnny followed suit, commencing work as an election clerk at age 19 with his father and continuing every year thereafter as an active election Judge (except the one year Brother Bob Koenig ran for Sheriff of Fayette County) up to 1984, for over 57 years.

The work for Hausmann's Well Drilling concern taught young Johnny how to pull pipes and fix water well problems, a skill he was to use on his own wells many times in years to come. His sons and grandchildren watched and helped pull water well pipes on many an occasion. He also traveled to Vernon, Texas to pick cotton on the Henry and Frieda Frank farm. Frieda was his Dad's sister. Their farm was in North Texas in Wilbarger County, near the very large Wagner Ranch. Some interesting stories were told of the auto trips to Vernon, including one trip in a 1917 Model T Ford belonging to Pop Koenig, which was involved in a minor wreck in downtown Ft. Worth (in which the Model T lost its headlights). Johnny possessed many interesting abilities, being a Jack-of-all-trades. He was a superb farmer, rancher, plumber, carpenter,butcher, auto repair mechanic, combiner, water well driller, barber, cow-doctor, appraiser, musician, singer, and best of all, storyteller.

After the marriage to Elva, he and Elva moved to a place owned by Johnny's dad, which had earlier belonged to the Loessin family. It was located near O'Quinn several miles east and north of the old Koenig place. Johnny and Elva rented this farm, as had his older brother Charlie and also older sister Helen (two years) before him. However, Johnny and Elva decided they would try to buy the place if possible, which they did over a period of time. They raised cotton and corn, and fought cockleburs on the west side of the 99 acre farm. On September 26, 1935, the first little Koenig arrived. John Weldon Koenig was born at home in the frame house at O'Quinn with Dr. E. Schoffield in attendance. ) The doctor was picked up at Melcher's store at about 11 a.m. He was born at 12:10 p.m. with Mary Koenig also there. The Oedings came in their surrey the next day. While Weldon was fine, Elva developed a high fever, became severely ill, and was taken by ambulance to the Hospital in Hallettsville, Duffner Hospital, where she stayed from October 5 through October 13, 1935. Later, in December, Elva's brother, Felix died of complications of appendicitis. Thereafter the young couple's life changed dramatically. The baby went with them everywhere, including the field, dances and on visits to the Oedings or Koenigs. The account book of the young family reflects months where the total income was $30 per month. Income came from eggs, cotton, corn, cattle, hogs, sale of lard, and even from Johnny's giving haircuts to neighbors such as Charlie Bretting or Irene Owen for 10 cents a haircut. Johnny also occasionally did work for Elva's Uncle Walter Oeding (who had married Florence Gleckler), who owned the old Julius Oeding farm nearby to the south. Three months after Weldon was born, Elva lost her older brother Felix (who died of appendicitis), and three years later also lost her father, Paul Oeding as a result of a heart attack. Paul Oeding loved to hunt and enjoyed target practice with his son-in-law Johnny. The young couple's life was changed after Elva became the oldest living child in her family and then also lost her father in 1938. Johnny had lost his grandmother Koenig and the Klaevemann grandparents sometime earlier.

On November 21, 1940, a second little Koenig arrived. Rodney Curtis Koenig was also born at home at O'Quinn in the northwest bedroom with the old Dr. John Guenther in attendance. Johnny had earlier checked to see that the young Dr. J. C. Guenther would be available when the time for delivery came and was assured that no problem would exist, however, when he tried to fetch the doctor, he found that the doctor had gone deer hunting and only the nearly 80 year old retired doctor was available. The doctor's nurse, Annie Brum, who was at the movie in La Grange when Johnny called, finally got old Dr. John Guenther to come out. Elva went into labor at about sundown on November 21. Grandma Oeding was at her daughter, Mae Carby's house at Swiss Alp and was fetched by Johnny. Headnurse Annie Brum, Dr. John Guenther, Grandma Oeding, Johnny Koenig, especially Elva Koenig and lastly Rodney Koenig were present at 9:00 p.m. when Rodney was born. Little Weldon was also near by, having been sent to bed before the birth occurred. In any event, little Rodney arrived without any unusual difficulty. However, about a year later, about the time of Pearl Harbor, Elva went to the hospital for appendicitis and was a very sick woman. Weldon and Rodney stayed with Elva's mother, Margaret Oeding, during part of that time.

John H. and Elva Oeding Koenig Wedding

Written and contributed by Jon Todd Koenig

On Tuesday, January 24, 1933, Elva Marguerite Oeding married John Henry Koenig at Philadelphia Lutheran Church, Swiss Alp, Texas. Pastor Dodzeweit(sp) was the preacher who performed the service. The marriage was at 6:00 p.m. The of ficial witnesses were Robert (Bob) Koenig and Herman (Sam) Koenig, brothers of the groom. Elva was 20 and Johnny was 24. Elva's older brother, Felix Oeding, had just married Lillie Kainer in October of 1932. Elva's younger sister, Mae Oeding and her younger brother, Archie (then age 13) were also there. In addition to the two Koenig brothers, Bob and Sam, who were witnesses, so far as is known, all of the other Koenig brothers and sisters were also there. Elva remembers her Grandmother Louise Mueller Oeding being at the wedding as well as Tante Elise Oeding, Uncle Louis Oeding and other aunts and uncles. The parents of the groom, John August Koenig and Mary Klaevemann Koenig, as well as parents of the bride, Paul Edwin Oeding and Margaret Munke Oeding were present. Elva had a very pretty wedding dress which she and her mother Gretchen Oeding bought from Hilda Brossman. One humorous problem was discovered later. The dress had a V-Back, which Mrs. Brossman somehow thought belonged in front, So Elva was fitted with the dress with the V-Back in front She wore the dress backwards – but modestly had the seamstress put lace in the V. Some years later Mrs. Brossman redeemed her mistake by finding baby Rodney (who had left the safety of sleeping under a dance hall bench in Grandmother Gretchen Oeding's care and then wandering out on the Freyburg Dance Hall floor when his Grandmother wasn't watching) among the Freyburg dancers and bringing him back to his parents.

After the wedding at the Swiss Alp Lutheran Church, the wedding party went to the bride's parents' home, the Paul E. Oeding home, at Freyburg for a wedding dinner. A Shivaree was performed for Johnny & Elva at the Paul Oeding house after the wedding. Noise from hitting plows, sweeps, washtubs, pots, bells and other noise was merrily started by many, including Marguerite Grasshoff (later to marry Reynold Krischke), Rudolph Misch and others. A Norther blew in after the wedding so a taste of winter was very evident that night.

Prior to a wedding, a bride would work on her hope chest, and Elva Oeding was no exception. She had towels, pillow cases, (embroidered and crocheted) and other linens in the hope chest. It apparently was customary for the bride's parents to provide furniture for the couple. The Paul Oedings went to the furniture store known as Reichert & Kneip and bought a bedroom vanity, chest of drawers and bed, as well as a table and six chairs, all of which Elva & John Koenig are still using fifty years later. Furthermore Paul Oeding's brother, Louis "2 J" Oeding made a kitchen cabinet for pies and other items. This cabinet is still located in the garage today. A wood cook stove was donated by the sister of the groom's mother, by Aunt Callie Klaevemann Hertel. The stove had a small hole, which was covered to keep it from smoking but which worked well. A green pitcher still seen on Elva Koenig's table was probably in the hope chest. Since the young couple would begin farming at O'Quinn, they each received one dozen chickens from each set of parents. The Oeding family contributed a dozen Rhode Island Red chickens with the Koenig family giving a dozen white chickens. The couple also probably had two cows and one little mule named "Molly."

John H. Koenig also had his 1929 Ford Model A Sport Roadster, which had a Rumble Seat, which he brought into the marriage. The Roadster had a small airplane propeller which a neighbor of the elder Koenig's, namely Ernest Romberg (a descendant of the famous poet), had whittled and which was put on the radiator of the Model A.

The young couple moved on a farm at O'Quinn which was owned by the groom's parents Mr. & Mrs. John A. Koenig, purchased from a Loessin estate, and which was rented to the young couple on a sharecrop basis. While they spent the first night at the Paul Oeding place, they soon moved to their own home, and on Thursday, January 26, 1933, they were introduced to a second dose of Shivaree at O'Quinn, with Arthur Haas, a neighbor leading the merry noisemaking for the embarrassed newlyweds. The O'Quinn house was a three room house, having a kitchen, living room and bedroom. A small pantry was on the southwest corner of the kitchen. The bathroom was a "one-holer" way out back of the cottonseed house a good ways from the main house. In winter when Northers came, trips to the out-house were infrequent. In fact, one Sears catalogue would last all year. Many of the implements used initially were borrowed from family and neighbors.

The first crop was cotton and corn (with plenty of cockleburs thrown in on the southwest field next to Luck's place and the Bretting place), with some chickens and cows to raise. The first dog was probably Ranger, which came from Ed Russeh in about 1934. Old Ranger turned rabid and caused Bill Koenig to have to take rabies shots. The water was quite a chore itself. The O'Quinn well was about 133 feet deep and had to be pumped by hand. The windmill wasn't bought until 1937 (and put up the year Grandpa Paul Oeding died in 1938) from old Squire Vogt for $65 for a cistern, windmill, pump and all. The first asking price on the windmill was $100, but John H. Koenig said that was too high. Then Squire Vogt offered it for $75 but Johnny Koenig said it was still high, but Johnny offered $65, with the Squire hollering "Sold!" immediately.

Another interesting sidelight to the wedding of Johnny and Elva is the honeymoon. Since they were farmers, they had to get the crops taken care of first. So the Honeymoon didn't happen until the fall of 1933, after all of the crops were in. Then a young sister of the groom, a good-looking blond girl, Hattie Koenig, got to go on the honeymoon (which was a number of months late) with Johnny and Elva, on their trip to Galveston, Texas The trip to Galveston was made in the 1929 Model A Sport Roadster with the Rumble seat. Whether or not Hattie had to sit in the Rumble seat all the way to Galveston is a question we should ask her.


Grannison Lindsay

Written by Marsha Thompson

Grannison (Granderson/Grandison/Grantson) Lindsay was born in Kentucky about the year 1834.  Like many other African Americans during this time period, he was brought to Texas in the year 1852 – according to information he gave, as part of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867, when on 09-Jul-1867 he responded to the Voter Registration program for Fayette County, Texas, stating he had been in the State and County 15 years and in Precinct #12 (La Grange) 6 months.

As part of the Federal Census of 1870, Granison’s family was canvassed on the 16th day of August, 1870. Along with his wife and 3 children, his enumeration reads as follows – Granison lists his birthplace as Kentucky (age 36); Lucy (his wife), lists her birthplace as Alabama (age 23); Charles, a son, (age 7), born in Texas; Alice, a daughter (age 5), born in Texas; Olivia, a daughter (age 2), born in Texas.  They live in an area of the county which the census denotes as being between Buckner Creek and the Colorado River; where Granison’s occupation is listed as “Field Hand” and Lucy’s as “Field & House”.  Grannison lists no personal property value. 

In the Federal Census of 1880 Granison’s (last name spelled “Lindsy” in this years’ Census) family included –  (Grantson), born KY, described as “black”, a Farmer, age 47; Lucy, born AL, described as “mullato”, a Housekeeper, age 34; Charly (S), born TX, described as “black”, a Farm Laborer, age 17; Alice (D), born TX, described as “mulatto”, a Farm Laborer, age 16; Olivia (D), born TX, described as “mulatto”, at school, age 10; Warren, (S), born TX, described as “mulatto, no profession, age 9;Virginia, (D), born TX, described as “mulatto”, no profession, age 6; Edgar, (S), born TX, described as “black”, no profession, age 4; Loberta, (D), born TX, described as “black”, no profession, age 2;  John Wesley, (S), born TX – Mar1880, “mulatto”, no profession, age 2 months.

1880 finds Grannison and his family living and working together with another African American Lindsay family (Willis) on land which Grannison is purchasing from A. Reichter.  It was 100 acres of land out of the A. Savage League, adjoining the Eblin League, just  2-1/2 miles SE of the town of La Grange between Cedar Creek and the Colorado River – which Grannison set out to acquire on 29-Oct-1879. On 30-May-1883, Granison would re-convey this land back to Mr. Reichter.  My GGrandparents may have given up the land they stove to make their own, but they would not give up the community they had known their whole lives.

In the spring of 1883, ‘Granderson’ Lindsay is named as part of a group of African American citizens and other who helped Mr.  J.F. McClathy, fight a disastrous fire on the La Grange town square and to rebuild his livery afterward.  McClatchy and other white business owners of La Grange showed their appreciation by posting a letter to the Editor of the La Grange Journal and acknowledging each person by name (See Fayette Footprints – “African Americans Save La Grange”) – “… “Expressing our sincere thanks to the citizens, white and colored, who came to our relief on the occasion of the recent destructive fire....  For the prompt, noble, and untiring efforts of the citizens and visiting friends, we do most sincerely tender our grateful acknowledgements… ”.

By the 1887/88 tax year Grannison is dead but Lucy his wife would remain in La Grange until 1906, when she moved, along with several of her children and several of Willis Lindsay’s grandchildren to Southeast Arkansas.  

In the 1900 Federal Census, Lucy Lindsay is listed as a widow, living with her 3 youngest children, Lucy (18), Jennie/Jenetta (13), and Essie (15); along with her Mother Hannah Davis, who is also a widow.  Hannah dies sometime between 1900 and 1906, and Lucy sells the land in La Grange, which passed down to Hannah Davis her from her husband Charles Davis at his death.

Several of Granderson decedents remained in Fayette County to contribute to the success of various communities the area.

 Charlie, Granderson’s eldest son, married Victoria Grant on 28-Dec-1880 in Fayette County, daughter of Ned (Edward) Grant. They had 4 children, all born in Fayette County.  One of his daughters, Lucy Lindsay, married Mr. Alex Sanders, a Minister and Farmer from the Plum area, in 1903 where they would live and Alex would preach for a number of years.

Alice, Granderson’s eldest daughter, married James Goodman on 10-Nov-1881 in LaGrange.  They had 6 children (losing 3 of those to tuberculosis) and lived with her family in LaGrange until 1926, 4 years after James’ death in 1922.  She then moved to Houston to live with her youngest daughter Lucille.

Warren (my Grandfather), would stay in La Grange until, he along with his brother Charley and Charley’s  family; his sister Jenetta; his Mother Lucy and others would relocate to Ashley County in Southeast Arkansas.

Lucy, Grannison and Lucy’s daughter, married Charlie Leslie Wilkerson in La Grange on 15-Nov-1904.  By 1910 they’d moved to Fort Worth, where Lucy remained until her death in 1954.

Essie, who married Carl McEntire, remained in Fayette County until sometime after Carl’s death in 1910.  Together Carl and Essie had 2 sons, who would move with their Mother Essie to Houston then eventually go on to serve in the US military during WWII and to settle in Southern California.

It should be noted that my G-Grandmother, Lucy Davis Lindsay – as an infant, was one of a group of Negros who were purchased – in exchange for land – into the Estate of Thomas J. Rabb between his death in the fall of 1846 and the time his Executor Andrew Rabb submitted his first inventory in the winter of 1847.   Lucy would be partitioned to one of Mr. Rabb’s children, Adelia Rabb Nichols and her husband Edward; while Hannah Davis, my GGGrandmother, also part of the exchange for land purchase, and her Husband Charles Davis were kept by Barthenia Rabb Ragin to support the Rabb land which was allotted to Barthenia as the widow of Thomas J. Rabb.

The information we have to date on this family in Fayette County, both before and after slavery is thin, but I must approach it as a work in progress and I am your patient researcher.


Deputy Sheriff Otto Menn of Fayette County

by Thomas E. Menn

Otto Menn

Otto Menn
Photo from 6th Annual Texas Skat Congress, Brenham, Texas on April 4, 1897

Deputy Sheriff Otto Menn was the Resident Fayette County Deputy Sheriff in Carmine and proprietor of The Bismarck Saloon in Carmine.  Monday Night, November 7, 1898, (Election Eve) some young men of the city created a disturbance and he was called away from his place of business to quell the disturbance.  Deputy Menn warned the young men to be quiet.  Words followed and District Court indictments indicate that Albert M. Brau and Alfred W. Kollatt assaulted Deputy Menn.  Apparently, the fight was going badly for Brau and Kollatt as Brau resorted to a deadly weapon stabbing Menn in the abdomen.  Deputy Menn died on the afternoon of November 9th and was buried in the Carmine Cemetery in Fayette County on November 10th at 5 PM with burial services conducted by the Sons of Herman. 

Albert M. Brau was arrested and charged with “Murder” (Case 3673, TX Dist. Ct. No. 22) and was acquitted at trial due to an excellent use of a “Try the Victim” defense by his attorney on December 6, 1898.  Alfred W. Kollatt was also arrested, charged with “Assault with Intent to Murder” (Case 3666, TX Dist. Ct. No. 22), and on December 5, 1898 the case was dismissed as were six other felony cases with the approval of the District Attorney.

Otto Menn was born November 21, 1867 to Heinrich and Magdalena Föhner (Foehner) Menn. He married Marie C. Hachemeister on November 08, 1891 in Round Top.  Otto was survived by his wife Marie Caroline Menn and a daughter Olga Elise Menn who was born less than one month prior to his death.   Other survivors include his Mother, Magdalena Menn; three sisters: Wilhelmina Menn Fricke, Lena Menn (Fritz) Knoche, and Hedwig Menn (Theodore) Brandes; and three brothers:  Adolph, Ernst, and Henry Menn plus numerous other relatives.  He was predeceased by his Father Heinrich Menn and brother-in-law Herman Fricke.

Fayette County Deputy Sheriff Otto Menn has been recognized by the following organizations:

  • Sheriff’s Association of Texas, Lost Lawman Memorial, November 20, 2009
  • National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Foundation, May 13, 2009
  • Texas Peace Officers Memorial
  • Officer Down Memorial Page (On Line)


Haywood Moore

Written and contributed by Erin Haywood Moore

Haywood Moore was born in Pitt County NC on 5 Jan 1815 a few miles southeast of the current town of Farmville. His parents were William Moore, farmer and magistrate, and Frances Forrest, daughter of William Forrest of Greene County NC, who was in the Revolutionary War.  In 1835 William Moore moved his family to Haywood county TN.

Haywood moved to Texas by 1838 and was granted a conditional certificate on 320 acres in Fayette county TX 22 Mar 1839.

Haywood served as a private in the Expedition commanded by General Edward Burleson in the spring of 1842 to repel the invasion of Texas by General Vascues (also called the Wall Campaign).  On Feb 7 1853, Haywood received a Public Debt Receipt from the Late Republic of Texas for $15.75 for his service in the campaign.

Haywood married Mary (Polly) McClure on 14 January 1845 in one of the early marriages in Fayette Texas, USA. Mary McClure was the daughter of Levi McClure and Elizabeth Archer, who had moved to Texas from Hempstead Arkansas about 1841.

Haywood lived all his life on his farm in Fayette and Colorado counties. He and wife Mary were Primitive Baptists who had fourteen children and 57 grandchildren.

Haywood died on his farm 18 December 1882 and was buried a day later in the small Black Jack Springs (Pin Oak) cemetery near Muldoon, Fayette County Texas. Mary Moore died 20 May 1904 and was buried the next day at Myrtle Cemetery in Rock Island Texas.

The Haywood Moore name has been passed on in each subsequent generation- John Haywood Moore b. 1855; Lit Haywood Moore b. 1884; Merle Haywood Moore b. 1909; Lit Haywood Moore, Jr. 1925; Erin Haywood Moore b. 1938; Daniel Haywood Moore b. 1964, and Timothy Haywood Moore b. 2001.

Franz Mühr

Written by Mark Schumann on November 20, 2004, based on facts garnered from other documents. Franz Mühr was the patriarch of the Muehr family, which has a long history in Fayette County, Texas and the surrounding counties. Franz is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Ammannsville and his wife, Theresia Pauler Muehr is buried at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Weimar

Franz Mühr, 63, passed away at Swiss Alp on Oct. 7, 1902. He was buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Ammannsville.

Mr. Mühr, a farmer all his life, was born on August 25, 1839, in Schlesisch-Wolfsdorf, Austria, the son of Georg and Theresia Fischer Mühr. On January 14, 1862, he was united in marriage in the parish of Dörfel, Austria to the former Theresia Pauler of Gross-Hermsdorf, Austria. 

To this union and while living in Austria, ten children were born.  Josef (Feb. 11, 1864), Anna (Oct. 22, 1865), Ferdinand (August 20, 1867), Franz (June 7, 1869), Wilhelm (May 24, 1871), Charles (Aug. 21, 1873) and Theresia (Oct. 24, 1875) were all born in Schlesisch-Wolfsdorf.  Anton (Nov. 9, 1878), Rudolph (Feb. 29, 1884) and Richard (Aug. 1, 1888) were all born in Kunzendorf.

In 1891 at the age of 51, he moved his wife and four youngest children from their home in Kunzendorf, Austria. On Feb. 25, 1891 they boarded the ship Werra in Bremen, Germany, bound for Texas. He first settled in Bastrop County, near Rosanky, where two of his older sons, Franz and Wilhelm were already living. He later moved his family to Fayette County.

Mr. Mühr was survived by his wife Theresia, of Swiss Alp; sons Josef and Charles Mühr of Vienna, Austria; Ferdinand Mühr of Abazzia, Italy; Franz, Anton, Rudolf and Richard Muehr of Swiss Alp; Wilhelm, of Bastrop County; daughters, Mrs. John (Annie) Woellert of Hallettsville; and Theresia Muehr of Swiss Alp.

Christian and Margaretha Munke

Liberally copied by Jon Todd Koenig, from the history written by his father, Rodney C. Koenig, as told to him by his grandmother, Margaret Nancy “Gretchen” Munke Oeding in 1970.
The first of the family that later was known as the Christian Munke family came to America during the time that Texas was a Republic. In about 1839, Margaretha Laux, at the young age of about 15, came across the Atlantic with her parents Peter Laux (born October 14, 1804) and Rosina Pauli Laux (born November 22, 1797), and settled near La Grange, Texas, at what was then known as Bluff, Texas. The Laux family came to Texas from Elz, in the Duchy of Nassau, which is located in the present-day state of Hesse, Germany, where Margaretha was born on October 4, 1824. Margaretha had one brother, John Laux who married a bride name Margaretha, and two sisters, Catherine who married Joseph George Fietsam and Anna who married Theodore Merrem. Margaretha had dark hair and was a short and somewhat chubby woman.

A few years later Christina Munke, a tall, lean bearded young man whose build was somewhat rugged like Abe Lincoln’s, decided that America was the place for him too. Christina was born on March 25, 1825 in the little town of Dunkelbeck bei Peine, in the Kingdom of Hanover; which is located in the present-day state of Lower Saxony, Germany near the city of Hanover. His father was the owner of an implement manufacturing plant in or near the city of Hanover, and Christian came to America after his oldest brother inherited the factory. Christian came over to Texas and settled in Fayette County when he was 21 years old. That was about the time that Texas became a state of the United States. Christian has gone to school in Europe and was baptized as a Lutheran there. Young Margaretha had also gone to school in Europe and was baptized as a Roman Catholic there.

Christian Munke and Margaretha Laux were married in Fayette County, Texas, in about 1848, the year there first child was born, and made there home in a log house that they built at Bluff, Texas, which was near La Grange, Texas, and which is now known as the Hostyn Community. They had both come from German speaking lands in central Europe, what is today Germany, to Fayette County, Texas, and did not live anywhere else in the United States or Texas before coming to Fayette County. Christian worked as a farmer on his farm and also had his blacksmith shop at home on his farm at Bluff, Texas. Since Christian’s father owned an implement manufacturing plant back in his homeland, he knew how to make farming tools. He made wagons and other tools in his shop. Implements were then hand-wrought and were made to order only. Christian was essentially a farmer, making tools and implements when someone needed something. Although he made a number of tools, the whereabouts of the tools he made are not known today.

When the Civil War hit the United States, Christian Munke was one of the soldiers that were called from Texas, notwithstanding the fact that he had several children and a wife to care for. Christian Munke survived the Civil War and his exact company or unit is listed in the Texas Archives in Austin, Texas, along with all of the other Confederate soldiers and companies or units.

Christian and Margaretha Munke had seven children, five boys and two girls. The children were Charles Peter Munke, Joseph Julius Munke, John Ludvik Munke, Frederick “Fritz” Munke, Hermann C. Munke, Bertha P. Munke, and Anna Munke. About the end of the Civil War, Margaretha Laux Munke’s father, Peter Laux, passed away on April 18, 1864, at the age of 59. her mother, Rosina Pauli Laux passed away on January 12, 1870, at the age of 72, during the Reconstruction days following the Civil War. Both Peter and Rosina Laux were buried at what was then Bluff Cemetery, but what is now known as the Williams Creek Cemetery, which is located out in the country about 8 miles southeast of La Grange.

Christian Munke lived to be 71 years old, passing away on June 21, 1896 when his granddaughter Margaret Nancy “Gretchen” Munke, the author of this history, was only six years old.

Margaretha Laux Munke often told her children and grandchildren stories for entertainment, stories which were usually bible stories. One of the stories the children always loved to hear and were amazed at was that of Lot and the salt pillar.

Margaretha Laux Munke lived to be 88 years old, passing away on October 8, 1912, a month after her granddaughter Gretchen Munke Oeding’s own daughter, Margaretha’s great-granddaughter, Elva Marguerite Oeding was born.

Both Christian and Margaretha were buried at the Bluff Cemetery as well, next to Margaretha’s parents, Peter and Rosina Laux.

Although Margaretha’s family came over to Texas with her, so far as is known, none of Christian’s brothers or sisters came over to the United States from the homeland.

Joseph Julius and Marie Louise Munke

Liberally copied by Jon Todd Koenig, from the history written by his father, Rodney C. Koenig, as told to him by his grandmother, Margaret Nancy “Gretchen” Munke Oeding in 1970.
Joseph J. Munke

Marie Albrecht Munke
One of the sons of Christian and Margaretha Munke, namely Joseph Julius “JJ” was born September 20, 1852, at Ross Prairie near Ellinger, Fayette County, Texas. This was just seven years after Texas became a state within the United States. Millard Fillmore was President of the United States at that time. When he was about 8 years old the Civil War started and his father was called as a Confederate soldier. JJ Munke learned blacksmithing from his father, Christian Munke and from Mr. Nordhausen at Old High Hill, near Schulenburg, Texas. JJ was a tall man, as was most of the Munke family. He had dark hair, dark eyes and wore a mustache and was considered quite handsome. After he reached his twenties and was married, he wore a beard as well. He was neither lean nor fat, but was of a medium build. Since there were no public schools available, parents were required to pay for any schooling. JJ attended school in La Grange, Texas. He did not serve in any military unit inasmuch as the Army was a volunteer army and no draft was involved when he was of military age.

A tall and slender young woman who was destined to be JJ’s wife, Marie Louise Albrecht, was born at Bluff, Texas near La Grange, on November 15m 1856, at which time Franklin Pierce was president of the United States. She went to school at Bluff. Marie’s parents, Friedrich Albrecht and Christine Suhren Albrecht had come to Texas from Schwerin, in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, after their marriage.  Friedrich Albrecht was born on August 19, 1818 in Qualitz, in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, which is in the present-day state of Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania, Germany, and was overseer on a large estate and was head of the male servants. Christine was born March 26, 1825 at Schwerin, in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and was governess and head of the female servants on the same estate. After their marriage, they could no longer work on the estate and emigrated to Texas. Their daughter, Marie Louise Albrecht, who was later to marry JJ Munke, had black hair and grey eyes and was considered very beautiful as a young woman by all who saw her. Friedrich Albrecht also served in the Confederate army during the Civil War as did the father of his son-in-law, Christian Munke.

JJ Munke was baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic, as was his mother, Margaretha Laux Munke, while Marie Louise Albrecht was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The couple married on January 27, 1876, when JJ was 24 years old and his bride was 20. They were married by a Judge at the Albrecht home. After being married they bought and lived on a farm about one mile east of Ammansville, Texas towards Holman, in an area then called Pecan, Texas. JJ and Marie lived on this farm the rest of their days. JJ was also a butcher and later bought a cotton gin, grist mill and saw mill. The gin was purchased from Koenig and Mewes and was located in Ammansville itself. Approximately six men were employed by the gin every day. Some immigrants who helped work at the gin included men named Melcher (engineer), Buehring, and Ganzer. Additionally some negroes helped work the press and also helped haul cottonseed to Weimar and Schulenburg. The only son that survived infancy, Frederick Christian “FC” Munke helped in the gin but JJ did not like for him to get too near the machinery. The two other boys, Alfred and Hermann had died as toddlers. Marie Louise Munke had the enormous task of preparing meals for all of the gin hands during the cotton ginning season. The Munke daughters, Marie, Ella, Margaret and Emilie, helped in this chore and an “awful” lot of food was prepared for the hard-working gin hands. One of the jobs of the Munke daughters was to hitch up the horse and haul the meals into Ammansville to the gin hands. Margaret remembers driving the horse with the meal for the gin hands when she was eight years old in 1898.

The home in which JJ and Marie Munke lived was at first rather modest. They first built a two room house on their farm. Later the house was expanded to encompass three bedrooms, a parlor, a large kitchen and dining room combined, a long hall about 10 by 24 feet and two large porches. All of the seven children of the couple wee born on the farm. The children were as follows; Marie Louise, Frederick Christian, Hermann, Ella Christina, Alfred, Margaret Nancy, and Emilie Anna. Of these children, little Alfred and Hermann died from diphtheria and were buried in Williams Creek Cemetery. All of the children were baptized and those who survived were confirmed at Swiss Alp, Texas at the Philadelphia Lutheran Church by the Reverend Karl Kern. Marie Louise enjoyed doing a lot of knitting, doing crochet and embroidery work. She also enjoyed reading German papers and books. Papers and magazines were in good supply in the JJ Munke household. Among others, the family received the Houston Chronicle daily, the Galveston Semi-weekly News, the La Grange Deutsche Zeitung, the Lincoln Freier Presse (from Lincoln, Nebraska), the Farm Journal and Fashion Magazine. The family always had plenty to read.

The farm on which JJ and Marie raised their family was east of Ammansville. The nearest neighbors included JJ’s brother Fritz Munke, Joe Fietsam (Marie’s uncle), Theophilus Heller (JJ’s brother-in-law), and an Adamcik. The crops raised on the farm included the money crop of cotton, corn, hay, and cane for feed and for home-made molasses. There were also peas and a large vegetable garden as well as fruit trees such as apples, plums, peaches, and pears. Livestock on the farm at one time included 8 mules, 2 horses, numerous cattle, hogs, geese, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl as well as others.

JJ Munke sometimes talked about his cousin Wilhelm Munke who was in Germany. One of his cousins, Henry Feldmann came to the United States and Fayette County in about 1896 and then went to San Antonio, Texas. Marie Louise Munke had several aunts and an uncle in Germany of whom she spoke.

During most of their lives, women were not allowed to vote so Marie was not able to be active politically. JJ however, was strictly a Republican and voted the Republican ticket regularly. JJ served as an Election Judge, as a school trustee and also served on the jury and the grand jury most every year.

The parents-in-law of JJ Munke, Friederich and Christine Albrecht lived to be 76 years and 59 years old respectively. Friedrich Albrecht died January 27, 1895 and Christine died August 10, 1884. Both are buried at Williams Creek Cemetery.

The JJ Munke farm was sold to his nephew Moritz Heller, the son of his sister Anna Munke and Theophilus Heller, after JJ passed away at the age of 78 in 1930 and after Marie passed away at the age of 77 in 1933. Moritz Heller’s wife later sold the farm to a Mr. Tumis who owns the farm at the present time (1970).

The living descendants of JJ and Marie Louise Albrecht Munke as of June 1970 include the following; one child, Margaret Nancy “Gretchen” Munke Oeding, sixteen grandchildren, forty-one great-grandchildren and thirty great-great-grandchildren for a total of eighty-eight living descendants.