The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 488
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
names.' Hoffmann refers to the county seat, Fredericksburg, as
"Friederichsburg"; this is the way he knew the town.
I have added notes for clarification, to put certain events into context,
and on occasion to indicate my inability to verify information that would
add to the family's history.
August Hoffmann's life spanned nine decades. His mother died
when he was nine years old and when he was twelve his father took him
from Germany to America, sailing nine weeks to reach New Orleans.
When the father and son subsequently reached the Texas Gulf port of
Indianola, their final destination, Fredericksburg, was another three
weeks' journey over land. As a young man, August earned his living
hauling freight over primitive trails in a wagon drawn by oxen. He lived
to see the automobile and the railroad come to Gillespie County.
Although he does not mention airplanes, one of American's pioneer
flyers lived near him in Gillespie County,2 and one of his grandsons
served in the predecessor of the Army Air Force immediately after the
First World War.
These Hoffmanns were not among the initial wave of German immi-
grants who were drawn to Texas in the early 184os by the promise of
good land and a better life. They came some years later, hoping to set-
tle near friends of theirs who had preceded them from their same vil-
lage in Silesia.4
Life was not easy on the Texas frontier when August arrived. As if the
frontier was not difficult enough, August had to go to work at age thir-
teen, and lived first with one family and then another while his father,
Traugott, tried to start his new life as a farmer. Traugott, moreover, was
' The best compilation of biographical information about early Gillespie County residents is
Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers zn God's Hills (2 vols.; Austin: Von Boeckman-Jones
Publishing Company, 1960 and 1974). August Hoffmann is profiled in II, 38-41. To this edi-
tor's regret, the Gillespie County Historical Society does not have notes or files on which the
books are based, which might lead to further sources. A scholarly narrative history of the county
remains to be written.
2 If August did not see what was probably America's first instance of man's controlled flight in
a heavier-than-air craft, he must have heard talk of it from his close friends. Jacob Brodbeck, a
German who had emigrated to Texas in 1846 and was a teacher in Fredericksburg and then a
farmer at Luckenbach, designed an airplane that he hoped would fly one hundred miles per
hour on power supplied by a large, tightly-coiled spring. He made his maiden flight on
September 20, 1865, thirty-eight years before the Wright brothers' celebrated flight at Kitty
Hawk, North Carolina. Brodbeck flew a short distance before crashing; he was unable to rewind
the spring fast enough to stay airborne. See Anita Tatsch, Jacob Brodbeck "Reached for the Sky" zn
Texas (Fredericksburg, Texas: Dietel and Son Printing, 1986).
a Albert W. Hoffman, the editor's father, served at Chanute Field, Illinois, and was discharged
4 TerryJordan, writing on the German Texans in Ron C. Tyler, et al. (eds.), The New Handbook
of Texas (6 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996), III, 142-144, describes the
immigration patterns as first "chain migration," in which a dominant personality tries to con-
vince others to follow him in migration, and subsequently sends letters back to the home country
urging others to follow, and then organized colonization, which brought more than seven thou-
sand Germans to Texas between 1844 and 1847. The organized projects ended by 1850;
Traugott and August Hoffmann came because friends had set a pattern for them to follow.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/559/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.