The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 50
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
recent account of Racknitz's efforts to establish a German colony on the
Nueces River is in an article by Leroy P. Graf based almost exclusively on
a memorial dated March 27, 1849, written by Racknitz himself to "His
Excellency, the Governor of the State of Texas."s In that memorial, di-
rected to the governor when the state was attempting to quiet land titles
in the trans-Nueces region, Racknitz recounts very briefly only the most
salient facts about his colonization ventures in Texas and Mexico.4
Although Racknitz established no permanent colony on either the
Colorado or the Nueces River, the complete history of the first orga-
nized colonization enterprise to bring German emigrants to Texas nev-
ertheless deserves to be recorded. Throughout the decade just prior to
the founding of the Adelsverein, Racknitz did more than any other Ger-
man writer to promote Texas as a land ideally suited to German colo-
nization. He published newspaper notices, pamphlets, and books
advocating the settlement of hundreds of Germans along the Colorado
and Nueces Rivers.
Johann von Racknitz was the illegitimate son of Eugen Christoph
Philipp Baron von Racknitz (1759-1815) and Maria Ortlieb Baumann.
His father was the landed and titled descendant of a long line of Styrian
knights and nobles from southeastern Austria dating back to the thir-
teenth century. His mother was the daughter of a tenant farmer, proba-
bly on the baron's estate at Haunsheim, about twenty-five miles
northeast of the city of Ulm in Bavaria. Johann was born on March lo,
1791, at Bichingen, a small village near Haunsheim.5 No details of his
early life are known to have been recorded, either in family correspon-
dence or in any of his own writings. In 1813, at the age of twenty-two,
Racknitz launched his military career in Hamburg in the Hanseatic Le-
gion, a military force maintained by Liibeck, Bremen, and Hamburg,
the three independent city-states in North Germany. After a little over a
year of distinguished service as a cavalry officer in Hamburg, he re-
turned to Wfirttemberg, where on March 4, 1815, Second Lieutenant
S Leroy P. Graf, "Colonization Projects in Texas South of the Nueces, 1820-1845," Southwest-
ern Historical Quarterly, L (Apr., 1947), 437-440 (cited hereafter as SHQ); "Memorial,Juan Rack-
nitz to the governor of Texas," Mar. 27, 1849 (quotation), Governors' Letters: George Tyler
Wood (Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin). Graf cites also four documents from the
Library of the National Museum in Mexico City concerning the Racknitz colony, but the same
items are contained also in the colonization records utilized by Biesele.
"Memorial," Mar. 27, 1849, Governors' Letters: Wood.
S Wolfram Hans Freiherr von Racknitz, "Genealogische Notizen aus dem Haunshelmer Archiv
uber den Herrn Johann von Racknitz" (4 pp.; typescript and manuscript), supplied to me in
photocopy by Hans Lothar Freiherr von Racknitz; "Kriegs-Ministerium. Stammliste der Officiere
u. Militar-Beamte: Vom Jum 1818 bis 1.Juli 1854," D 64, vol. 6, p. 213b (Hauptstaatsarchiv-Mil-
itirarchiv, Stuttgart; cited hereafter as HSA-MA).
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/78/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.