The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

but prominent South Texas pioneer family whose roots extend deep into two
centuries of the state's history.
The uniting of three European strains-Spanish, Irish, and German--began
in 1832, when the daughter of Felipe Roque de la Portilla, leader of the short-
lived San Marcos de Neve settlement on the Camino Real, married Irishman
James Power, empresario of what became Refugio County. Eighteen years later,
their daughter, Delores, wed Bavarian-born John Welder (changed from the
original Welter) and began a family succession whose contributions remain vital
at the turn of a new century. Banking, farming, oil production, and especially
ranching have made the Welder name synonymous with the economic develop-
ment of a broad area that extends roughly from a Beeville-Goliad-Victoria line
southward to the Gulf.
Patrick Hughes Welder Jr., an original director of the wildlife refuge founda-
tion, proposed this history, which the authors-a popular Corpus Christi news-
paper columnist and his teacher-journalist wife-took up with gusto to produce
a readable, soundly researched study of a family whose descendants "overcame
the threat of division [of property among multiple heirs] and continued the tra-
ditions handed down by their ancestors, who endured and survived and finally
prospered on the rough coastal plains of South Texas" (p. 213). While the
book's emphasis is primarily the nineteenth century, its concluding chapters and
epilogue provide sufficient twentieth-century detail to round out the story of a
family that bore up under the Texas Revolution and the Civil War, as well as hur-
ricanes, drought, and the World War I influenza epidemic. More than a hun-
dred photographs, several of archival documents, are appropriately placed so as
to enhance the text; de la Portilla, Power, and Welter/Welder lineages and a
complete index are most helpful; and the book's design makes it a visual treat.
Both the Welders and South Texas readers have been well served.
Southwest Texas State University JAMES A. WILSON
An Immigrant Mzller Picks Texas: The Letters of Carl Hilmar Guenther. Translated by
Regina Beckmann Hurst and Walter D. Kamphoefner. (San Antonio:
Maverick Publishing Co., 2001. Pp. xvi+127. Foreword, preface, epilogue,
index. ISBN 1-893271-17-X. $14.95, paper.)
C. H. Guenther and Son at 150 Years: The Legacy of a Texas Millzng Pzoneer. By Lewis
F. Fisher. (San Antonio: Maverick Publishing Company, 2001. Pp. vii+111.
Introduction, chronology, index. ISBN 1-893271-14-5. $24.95, cloth.)
Carl Hilmar Guenther was a German who settled in Texas and founded a suc-
cessful milling company. His story, mapped out in two recent books, encapsu-
lates an immigrant's experience from the motivations for leaving his native
Saxony to the difficulties of establishing a new life in a developing land.
An Immigrant Miller Picks Texas is an edited collection of letters translated into
credible English by Regina Beckmann Hurst and Walter Kamphoefner. Arranged
chronologically, the communiques practically serve as Guenther's autobiography
and give a compelling glimpse of a new American's life from 1848 to 1892. The
writings also display the vision of Texas as a region of burgeoning opportunity for
those prepared to work hard for themselves, their families and their society.



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 30, 2015.