Notes and Documents
W. Steinert's View of Texas in 1849:
May 22 to June 5
Translated and Edited by GILBERT J. JORDAN*
O N MAY 22, I849, A GROUP OF GERMANS INCLUDING W. STEINERT'
arrived in Galveston for the purpose of examining at first hand the
conditions in Texas, the opportunities for employment, and the prospects
for settlement in the new state. They spent four months in the south-central
and central sections of Texas, in the so-called German belt, where they
traveled, inspected the land, met many settlers, and for a short time ac-
tually engaged in various kinds of labor. Then, on his return trip to Ger-
many, Steinert traveled through other parts of the United States, particular-
ly the Mississippi valley, the Great Lakes area, and New York. During his
entire trip he kept a diary and made extensive notes on his experiences and
observations, which he sent in the form of letters to his family in Germany.
He continued his observations on the conditions elsewhere, as he had done
on Texas, but he wrote only one-half as much about the other areas of
America. Sometimes he seems to have been impressed more favorably by
other places than he was by Texas, but his overall reaction to the country
was much the same as is indicated by his comments on Texas.
Steinert was a modest and obscure schoolmaster in the town of Lucken-
walde, south of Berlin in present East Germany. He and a small group of
friends and acquaintances made the trip to America under an agreement
with a private company, apparently the Craftsmen's Guild of Luckenwalde,2
*Gilbert J. Jordan is professor emeritus of German at Southern Methodist University,
where he taught from 1938 until 1968. Following his 1968 retirement he served as pro-
fessor of German at Sam Houston State University until I973. He was assisted in the
editorial work for this translation by his son, Terry G. Jordan, professor of geography
and chairman of the department at North Texas State University.
1So far, it has not been possible to establish Steinert's full name. The biographical
and bibliographical reference books list simply W. Steinert. Additional searching and
correspondence have been fruitless.
2In the preface to his book (see note 3) Steinert names the six official delegates of
the guild: W. Steinert, A. Bading, R. Anwandter, E. Herrmann (usually spelled with one
"r" by Steinert), Findeis, and Lange. Later, Steinert states that there were eight men
in the group that made the sea voyage; a brother of A. Bading and a brother of Findeis
came along. The Findeis brothers and Lange left the group at New Orleans and went
on to St. Louis. Steinert writes about these matters in earlier entries, April Io and May
2o. This left five men who made the trip to Texas: R. Anwandter, A. Bading (Bading I),
Bading's brother (Bading II), E. Herrmann, and Steinert.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/. Accessed July 7, 2015.