The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972 Page: 42
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the name J. Seefeld & Son. By 1885, Joachim had retired and the
now highly successful firm was being carried forward under the same
name by his eldest son, Charles Friedrich."
Charles Friedrich Seefeld, his wife, and the nine of their ten
children who survived infancy rapidly became pillars of Milwaukee's
upper-middle-class German community. And, as their business pros-
pered in the 188o's and 1890's, the Seefelds accumulated a rather
large surplus of capital for which they sought some profitable em-
ployment outside of Commission Row. It was at this stage that
Charles Friedrich's eye turned toward Texas.
It was certainly not unusual for northern capitalists of the 1890's
to be interested in the investment possibilities of the Lone Star State.
For over a decade, the commissioner of immigration, the commission-
er of the General Land Office, and the various Texas railroads had
been bombarding the East and Midwest with a mammoth promotional
barrage. Indeed, so effective was this propaganda campaign that it
often pushed more sobering Texas news to the back pages. Few
northerners probably realized that Texas cotton prices declined by
20 percent over the last two decades of the nineteenth century and
hit an all-time low of less than 5 cents per pound in 1898. Fewer
still probably knew about or comprehended the issues involved in
the Farmers' Alliance and People's Party movements or the necessity
for the regulatory legislation sponsored by Governor James Stephen
Hogg. But ask almost anyone about getting rich quick and sooner or
later Texas was bound to enter the conversation."
During the late 1890's, the Seefelds poured over maps, brochures,
and newspapers, and quizzed their business associates unceasingly
about Texas. It is not certain whether any family members actually
visited the Lone Star State during this period, but in later years
they often claimed that they had "traveled the whole state over [and]
studied climate, soil, and crop conditions." In any case, they had made
their decision by 1900 and over the next nine years they purchased
227 acres in Bexar County, 5,2oo acres in LaSalle County, 1,043 acres
in Dimmit County, 2,852 acres in what became Jim Wells County,
and assorted small parcels of urban and suburban real estate in San
Antonio and Waco.'
2Milwaukee Journal, August 13, 1939, July 20, 1952.
3Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State, 259-273, 296-307.
'J. Seefeld & Son, Acre Shares in Texas: A Farming Investment of Assured Returns
(Milwaukee, [ca. 1912]), 9.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972, periodical, 1972; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/m1/54/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.