The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 84
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Unfortunately, not much is known about Theodore Specht.1 He was
born April 27, 1810, and educated in Braunschweig. Before coming to
Texas he served as a merchant seaman and made several distant sea voy-
ages. In Fredericksburg he operated a store, was an agent for the New
Braunfels Zeitung, and served as the town's first postmaster. A brief obit-
uary published in the New Braunfels Zeitung noted that he was also a
correspondent for the New York Staatszeitung, the Galveston Union, and
"other publications."" According to Gillespie County tax records, in the
mid-185os he owned property valued at over $1,300: several head of
cattle, a wagon, three town lots, and more than six hundred acres of
land.13 He died June 4, 1862.
The letter is presented in its entirety in translation from German.
Parts of the letter appeared in abridged form in English in the San
Antonio Zeitung on June 23, 1855. I have followed the 1855 translation
where possible. However, after comparing it to the original I have made
changes where necessary to restore original readings. In addition, I have
translated the portions of the text omitted in the abridged version.
These sections include many of the negative assessments of the German
Emigration Society and several of Specht's proposals on Indian policy.
In addition to providing valuable new information on early relations
between the German settlers and Native Americans, this document
serves as a much-needed corrective to the ancestor worship and ethno-
centrism that have surfaced in many previous German-Texan
accounts.14 Before Meusebach even set out for the San Saba, the
Comanches had been cementing friendships with the Fredericksburg
colonists on their own terms through trade for months. This friendship
paved the way for Meusebach's visit and made possible the trust that
resulted in the celebrated treaty. Specht was well aware of the fact that
Meusebach's treaty only prolonged the period of amicable relations. A
lasting peace, however, would not be achieved in his lifetime. It came to
the Hill Country decades later only as a result of the policy he most
sought to avoid: the removal of the region's Native Americans to out-of-
"The major source on Specht remains the biographical sketch pubhshed in Gillespie County
Historical Society, Pioneers zn God's Hzlls. A Hzstory of Fredencksburg and Gzllespze County People and
Events (Austin. Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960), 192-193.
1" Neu-Braunfelser Zeztung, June so, 1862. A concerted effort to locate Specht's other articles
would certainly yield additional formation about the early years of the Fredericksburg settlement.
" See Gillespie County Tax Rolls, transcribed and bound for 1850-1859 (Fredericksburg
Genealogical Society, Fredericksburg, Texas).
'" Unlike later accounts, which emphasize the heroism of the German settlers and cunning
diplomatic skills of Meusebach, Specht gives the Comanches due credit for their role in making
Fredericksburg a viable settlement.
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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/m1/92/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.