The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Book Reviews

LaVerne Harrell Clark, who incidentally comes from Smithville,
Texas, was educated at Texas Woman's University, and once was a
newspaper reporter in Fort Worth. Degrazia and the University of
Arizona Press should all be enormously proud. Together they have
created a book which is worthy of the animal it portrays.
University of Texas at Austin JOE B. FRANTZ
John O. Meusebach, German Colonizer in Texas. By Irene Marschall
King. Austin (University of Texas Press), 1967. Pp. x+192. Illus-
trations, appendix, bibliography, index. $5.oo.
This brief volume is a tribute to one of the men who brought the
early German settlers to Texas, written by a granddaughter who makes
an effort to avoid familial adulation, although Meusebach was a cul-
tured intellectual of whom any granddaughter might be fond. John
O. Meusebach was a member of the German gentry with a background
of public service and legal training. He was one of those Germans
of the 184o's who was devoted to liberty, not nationalism, and he
gave up a promising legal career in Germany to move to the Texas
frontier.
Texas was much talked about in Germany in the early Nineteenth
Century; the first efforts toward colonization were made in 1842 by
a verein organized by a group of German princes interested in land
speculation. Meusebach joined them in December, 1844, as commis-
sioner-general and arrived in their settlement at New Braunfels, Texas,
in May, 1845. Financial and land troubles plagued the colony from
the beginning; the German princes were not good bookkeepers and
never understood the difficulties of frontier settlement. When Meuse-
bach arrived, none of the sponsors had ever been to their land grant,
which was 150 miles northwest of New Braunfels.
Meusebach immediately established Fredericksburg as a way-station
between New Braunfels and the company grant; 4,000 immigrants
promptly arrived with no money or facilities available to establish
themselves. The grant was located in inaccessible Indian country and
the Mexican War further complicated the matter. In 1847, Meuse-
bach made a treaty with the Comanches which allowed the verein to
survey the grant, and he deserves credit for the fact that the Indians
never molested the company agents and surveyors. Several communities
were established on the southern part of the grant, but a settlement
seldom lasted long because of its vulnerability.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed April 17, 2014.