The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 464
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464 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
near Oberkirch in the Grand Duchy of Baden in 1826 and was
well educated in some of the finest schools of Germany; but
before his education was completed, he took part in the revolu-
tions which rocked Germany and much of Europe in 1848. The
collapse of the revolutionary cause obliged Kettner to leave his
homeland, and he decided to come to Texas. For a few years
he tried his hand at farming, settling among the Germans at
Demijohn Bend on the Guadalupe River in Comal County.
Apparently, farming did not appeal to him. In any case, he
joined Captain J. H. Conner's Company of the Texas Rangers and
saw action against the Indians and Mexicans in the Rio Grande
Valley. Upon completion of their service, Kettner and Baron
von Krievitz, opened a general store at the German settle-
ment of Castell, on the Llano River in present-day Llano County.
It was from Castell that the first letter was written.
Only three of his letters, all written to his parents in Germany,
and dating from the period 1853-1856, have been preserved.4
Historians and geographers alike should find Kettner's account
of life on the Texas German frontier useful and interesting.
Such accounts are particularly valuable because they were writ-
ten by persons thoroughly familiar with the area involved, as
was seldom the case with travelers. Purely personal references
have been deleted from the letters.
Dear Parents, August 12, 1853
Since I have some leisure time right now and am at home alone
(my partner has gone on horseback to Fredericksburg), I will use
this time to talk with you in a letter. Our store is doing well so
far, and I was in San Antonio last month, where I bought new wares
for $32o and paid $2oo of this amount in cash. We are thinking
about considerably enlarging our store very soon, that is, to, build a
large, solid stone house.5 My main occupation now is in the store,
written by Rudolph Runge in the Mason County News, shortly after Kettner's
death on September 9, 1907.
'The letters presented here were discovered recently in Germany, quite by
chance, by Carl A. Albrecht and his wife of Dallas, Texas, and Bremen, Germany.
The Albrechts have kindly given permission for the letters to be translated and
5Kettner and his partner no doubt planned to build one of the stone houses
that are still so characteristic of the German areas in the Texas Hill Country. The
combination of store and house in one building is typically European.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/542/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.