The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861. By
R. L. Biesele. (Austin, Texas. Published and copyrighted
by the author. 1930. Pp. XII, 259. Price, $3.50.)
In its broader aspects this study is a contribution to the history
of the German element in the United States. From a narrower,
but in some sense a more important, point of view it is a valuable
chapter in the social and economic history of Texas.
The introduction of European immigrants into Texas on a large
scale, particularly of Swiss and German families, engaged the
attention of a number of the empresarios who undertook the col-
onization of Texas under Mexican contracts. In 1830, Stephen
F. Austin wrote for publication in Europe a pamphlet extolling
the advantages which Texas offered as a field for Europeon col-
onization, and during the same year Lorenzo de Zavala was on
the point of sailing for the continent to enlist colonists for the
vast tract in East Texas which he and David G. Burnet and
Joseph Vehlein had transferred to the Galveston Bay and Texas
Land Company. Through a cousin in New York, Austin was for
a time in indirect correspondence with various Swiss and German
agencies, but neither his efforts nor those of other empresarios
effected a notable movement of Europeans to Texas, though scat-
tering German families settled in Austin's grants before the
Texas revolution.
After the revolution the Republic of Texas continued for some
years the general features of the Mexican colonization laws and
a considerable infiltration of German families settled in the area
now included in Colorado, Austin, Fayette, Washington, and Bas-
trop Counties. Through relatives and correspondents in Ger-
many, these settlers, whose immigration was due to individual
enterprise, began to turn the attention of larger numbers of their
countrymen to Texas and thus prepared the way for an organized
emigration to Texas. A letter from Friedrich Ernst was especially
influential in arousing interest. Ernst settled in Austin's colony
in 1831 on a league of land which included the present village of
Industry, and his letter to a friend in Oldenburg was published
and widely read, finding its way in 1834 into Detlef Dunt's Jour-
ney to Texas, one of the earliest books concerning Texas that was
published in Germany.
In 1842, Henry Frances Fisher, Burchard Miller, and Joseph

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/. Accessed January 25, 2015.