The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979

Secession and the Texas German Community:
Editor Lindheimer vs. Editor Flake
WALTER L. BUENGER*
IT HAS LONG BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT THE GERMANS WHO LIVED ALONG
the western frontier of Texas were among the major opponents of
secession in 1861, and proved to be the most reluctant of Confederate
supporters. What has not been as clearly perceived is that these Ger-
mans were a minority not only among all Texans but also among Texas
Germans. In fact, German opinion on secession closely paralleled the
opinions of their fellow Texans. A small number of Germans left the
state rather than accept secession. A larger group, perhaps the majority,
were apathetic or passive. Politically minded Germans, however, divided
into three major groups. Some Germans, primarily those in the frontier
area surrounding Gillespie County, consistently opposed secession and
remained loyal to the United States throughout the war. Other German
unionists, like Ferdinand Flake (the editor of Galveston's Die Union),
accepted secession after it had been approved by popular vote. Another
group, of which Ferdinand J. Lindheimer (the editor of the Neu Braun-
felser Zeitung), was the intellectual leader, believed secession necessary
or inevitable soon after the 1860 presidential election. Thus, except for
the absence of rabid secessionists, the divisions in the German commu-
nity on secession mirrored the divided reactions of the rest of the state.2
Texas Germans, however, did not act as they did because of slavery,
because of fear of anarchy if slavery was abolished, or because of strong
cultural ties to the South. Only in their attachment to the state's Demo-
*Walter L. Buenger is an instructor of history at Houston Community College and a
doctoral candidate at Rice Universits.
1Frank H. Smyrl, "Unionism in Texas, 1856-1861," Southwestern Historical Quarterly,
LXVIII (Oct., 1964), 191-192; Claude Elliott, "Cnion Sentiment in Texas, 1861-1865,"
ibid., L (Apr., 1947), 449-477; Robert XV. Shook, "The Battle of the Nueces, August 1o,
1862," ibid, LXVI (July, 1962), 31-42; Floyd F. Ewing, Jr., "Origins of Unionist Sentiment
on the West Texas Frontier," West Texa, Historical Association Year Book, XXXII (Oct.,
1916), 21-22.
2Ralph A. Wooster points out that only five of twenty German-dominated counties
\oted against secession. Wooster, The Secession Conventions of the South (Princeton, 1962),
133 n. Also, see Terry G Jordan, German Seed in Texas Soil Immngrant Farmers in Nine-
teenth-Cenluiy Texas (Austin, 1966), 182-185; Earl W. Fornell, The Galveston Era: The
Texas Crescent on the Eve of Secession (Austin, 1961), 12:5-139; Rudolph Leopold Biesele,
The History of the Geiman Settlements in Texas, 183p-1861 (Austin, 193o), 206-207; Ella
I.onn, Foreigners in the Confederary (Chapel Hill, 1940), 46-52; Ada Maria Hall, "The

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed December 18, 2014.