The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 528
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Baltic seacoast. Before they developed a complete culture of their
own, they were conquered by the Germans. Through a process
of subjugation which offered only extermination as the alterna-
tive to assimilation, the Wends were Germanized and Christian-
iked under the Saxon kings. As a result, the Wends never had a
country of their own; they were, at the time of their migration
to the United States, a Slavic minority, devoutly Lutheran, who
were extremely eager to move out of Germany.
Their motives for leaving were varied. Politically, there existed
a smouldering desire for national freedom, aggravated by a long-
standing resentment of German subjugation. Economically, they
hoped to leave behind the discriminations which forbade their
becoming skilled laborers and made their wage scale lower than
that paid to Germans. Their desire for religious freedom was
supplemented by a feeling of dissatisfaction with their inferior
position in German society. For these reasons, the Wends met in
March, 1854, to plan their migration. In addition to writing a
constitution, they also selected as their leader and pastor Johann
Kilian-scholar, poet, and musician. In September, 1854, over five
hundred Wends left Germany for the United States via Hamburg
and Liverpool. Their voyage to America aboard the English
sailing vessel Ben Nevis ended on December 16, 1854, when they
disembarked at Galveston. From this port of entry, they moved
first to Houston, then overland to Rabb's Creek in what was then
Bastrop County. They chose a site which offered three basic neces-
sities: water and food for survival, and wood for homes, fences,
and fuel. This settlement, located approximately six miles south
of present-day Giddings, they named Serbin.
Mrs. Blasig's narrative is concerned primarily with the frontier
phase of the Wendish society in Texas. From the date of original
settlement until the Civil War, the colony passed through its
"time of troubles." As these pioneers labored to establish them-
selves in their new environment, they were beset by hardships
which are almost incomprehensible to the modern American. An
inadequate food supply, frequent visitations of disease, and a
cruelly capricious nature combined to exact a heavy toll. Yet the
durable Wends survived and studiously preserved many of their
old customs and institutions; their religion, their language, their
social practices. At the same time, the frontier was making its
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/560/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.