/otes atd DOcuhMeIts
letters of a perxam Pioeer i ZGexas
Edited and translated by
TERRY G. AND MARLIS ANDERSON JORDAN
COLONIZATION OF THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY BY GERMANS IN
the period from 1845 to 186o is a well-known facet of
Texas history. It was begun under the leadership of the
Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas in 1844,
and before its collapse in 1847, the Verein had brought 7,380
Germans to Texas.2 The Verein had obtained permission to col-
onize the Fisher-Miller Grant, a vast tract of land north of the
Llano and west of the Colorado rivers, and New Braunfels (1845)
and Fredericksburg (1846) were founded to serve as way stations
on the immigrant road that led from Indianola on the coast to
the edge of the grant at Castell (1847) on the Llano River.
Drawn by the magnet of the grant, the German colonists moved
inland. Few of the Germans reached the lands of the grant,
however, and it soon became apparent that settlement there was
impractical, for many reasons. Thus the power of the magnet
was shut off, leaving a belt of German settlement along the axis
of the immigrant road from New Braunfels to Castell. After the
economic demise of the Verein in 1847, German immigration
continued until the Civil War. The new settlers established
themselves, for the most part, in the area where the earlier
Verein immigrants had settled.
Franz Kettner, the writer of the following translated letters,
was among the early German colonists of the area.8 He was born
1R. L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, I831-186I
(Austin, 193o); G. G. Benjamin, The Germans in Texas (New York, 191o); M.
Tiling, History of the German Element in Texas From z82o-185o (Houston, 1913);
D. H. Biggers, German Pioneers in Texas (Fredericksburg, 1925).
aTiling, History of the German Element in Texas, io8.
"Most of the biographical data on Kettner were obtained from an obituary article
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed April 1, 2015.