The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 82
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Meusebach's activities naturally occupy a prominent place in Rudolph
Biesele's article, entitled "The Relations Between the German Settlers
and the Indians in Texas, 1844-1 860," which more than seventy years
after it was written remains the major publication on early German-
Indian relations. In setting up his discussion of Meusebach's treaty,
Biesele stated that the "settlers in Fredericksburg were in almost con-
stant danger of their lives." But he could only muster meager evidence
to support this contention. "This danger ceased," he continued "when
Meusebach made a treaty with the Indians in 1847."1
Biesele was clearly influenced by earlier German Texan accounts that
tended to laud the German colonization efforts. He seems to have been
particularly influenced by Moritz Tiling, even borrowing phrases from
Tiling's book, which was published in 1912. Tiling stated that "The open-
ing of this vast territory of 3,ooo,ooo acres to civilization and cultivation
is without doubt the most important pioneer work of the Germans in
Texas, and could only be accomplished through the absolute confidence
the Indians placed in the Germans' promises and pledges."2
Later historians have primarily followed Biesele's lead. Irene
Marschall King's biography of Meusebach reminds readers that "the
Comanche tribe was notorious for its savagery and atrocity" before turn-
ing to her discussion of Meusebach's treaty. Glen Lich in his book The
German Texans portrayed Meusebach's treaty as a successful way to over-
come the "obstacle" of "the ever-present danger of Indian attack."' Even
a recent treatment by a German historian follows Biesele.1 A notable
exception is Karl A. Hoerig's 1994 article, which employed published
sources to succesfully debunk the myth that relations between Germans
and native peoples were exceptionally peaceful.6
The letter that follows was written to the editor of the New Braunfels
Zeitung in June 1855 in response to several articles that the newspaper had
Rudolph L. Biesele, "The Relations Between the German Settlers and the Indians m Texas,
1844-1860," Southwestern Hstorcal Quarterly, 31 (Oct., 1927), 116-129.
2 Moritz Tiling, Hzstory of the German Element in Texas from i82o-1913 (Houston. M. Tiling,
1913), 104. Compare Tiling's statement to the last sentence of Biesele's article: "A vast territory
of over 300,000,00o acres was opened to civilization. It was the great pioneer work of the
German settlers m Texas." Blesele, "Relations Between the German Settlers and the Indians,"
3 Irene Marschall King, John O. Meusebach: German Colonzzer in Texas (Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1967), 111.
" Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981), 83, 87.
Beate Rese, Texas-Zzel deutscher Auswanderung zm 19. Jahrhundert (Pfaffenweller: Centaurus,
B Karl A. Hoerig, "The Relationship between German Immigrants and the Native Peoples in
Western Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 97 (Jan., 1994), 423-451. It should also be
noted that the Specht letter provides convincing new evidence to support Hoerig's thesis that
government pohcies contributed to the worsening of German relations with the native peoples
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/90/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.