The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 162
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
one of the finest houses in Texas, the von Rosenberg family became
owners of the most hotly contested property of the Society.2
Apart from this purchase of a part of Nassau Farm, the von Rosen-
berg family was in no way associated with the Society, either before or
after the sale. Like most other Germans who immigrated to Texas at
this time, the family of Peter Carl Johann von Rosenberg had come
to Texas seeking greater freedom and economic opportunity than
current conditions afforded them in their homeland. Their motives
for emigrating were more political than economic, however, for be-
fore coming to Texas they had lived on the family estate, Eckitten,
near Memel in East Prussia. Peter Carl had fought with the Prussian
Guards under Field Marshal Gebhard L. von Bliicher at Waterloo,
but by 1848 he had acquired the reputation of a Freidenker (free-
thinker) and was often severely criticized for his liberal political views.
It was his son Carl William (1821-1901), however, who was forced by
the repressive government of Frederick William IV (1795-1861) to
abandon his native Prussia and to emigrate to Texas. A licensed sur-
veyor and a graduate of the University of Architecture in Berlin, he
held the position of royal architect. In June, 1849, he was discharged
from that post because of his outspoken democratic views; subsequent-
ly he was barred from any future employment with the Prussian gov-
ernment. Faced also with a choice between a dishonorable discharge
or voluntary departure, he resigned his commission as lieutenant in
the Prussian Reserve Army. Thus, with little hope of a professional
career in Germany, he decided to emigrate.3
Much had been published in Germany at the time about Texas,
2Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas [Society for the Protection of
German Immigrants in Texas] was the official title of the organization of German noble-
men in Mainz. The organization was popularly called the Mainzer Adelsverein, or simply
the Adelsverein; in this discussion and translation it will be referred to hereafter as "the
Society." It was the reputation of the Society that William von Rosenberg sought to de-
fend, even while confusing the name slightly in various places-"Emigrant" for "Immi-
grant," "to" for "in."
Nassau Farm is located in Fayette County, near Round Top. Within a ten-year period
from 1844 to 1853, the property was leased or sold at least three different times. For a
complete account of its history, including Otto von Rbder's temporary ownership, see
Leonie R Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange,
1936), 107-113. For details of the von Rosenberg purchase, see Amanda F. von Rosenberg,
"Emigration of the Von Rosenbergs," 22.
3The complete history of the von Rosenberg family was thoroughly researched and
compiled by a descendant, Alma von Rosenberg-Tomlinson (comp.), The Von Rosenberg
Family of Texas (Boerne, 1949). For the family background in Europe, see ibid., 1-8. A
sequel to this volume continues the family history in North America to the last decade.
See Charles W. von Rosenberg (comp.), The von Rosenberg Family Record Book (Waco,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/196/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.