Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992 Page: 44
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Ervendberg's register repays close scrutiny. Consider the experience of
Elizabeth Theis as revealed in its pages. It chronicles the birth of her child, Luise Wil-
helmine L6bnitz, the death of her husband and the father of the child, Eduard, and her
subsequent remarriage, to Adolph Rohde, all within the span of 186 days. Suspicious
readers may notice that the register also catalogues the death of a person named Rohde
at the age of 34 on October 2, 1842 and wonder if perhaps Elizabeth, through ill fate or
other means, lost two husbands in so short a time. She did not. According to his
probate file (Probate File 553, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas),
Adolph Rohde lived on, undoubtedly in wedded bliss, until October 25, 1867. Elizabeth,
however, did outlive him.
The register also reveals something of Ervendberg's own life, cataloguing
the birth of two of his children and the deaths of two. It also provides a clue to the
identity of the orphan girl with whom Ervendberg departed to Mexico. Samuel Wood
Geiser, whose fine, extensive biographical sketch of Ervendberg provided most of the
information on the minister's life presented herein, seems to have known the girl's
identity, but jealously guarded it. He reports only that she was the daughter of an artist
who had died on the voyage to America and that she had been confirmed by Ervendberg
in 1850.7 This last bit of information directs us to page 28 of Ervendberg's register
(reproduced on page 57 herein), which contains the short list of the orphans he
confirmed in 1850. John G. Neher can be eliminated immediately, leaving us with only
three names to consider. Since Geiser tells us that one parent died before the families
came under the guidance of Pastor Ervendberg, we can expect to find the death of only
one other in Ervendberg's register. This profile eliminates two other candidates, Phil.
Hr. Weber and K. C. Heidelberg.
The register lists the deaths of four Webers who might have been the
parents of our unfortunate orphan, Phil. Hr. Weber. One of those, Johann Philipp, who
died at age 42, is clearly male. Two others are clearly female: Johann Philipp's wife (age
32), whose death is listed just below his and Elisb. (31), who appears on the following
page. The fourth is given as Joh. Weber (42), a name which reveals neither gender. Still,
since 12 year old Phil Weber is said to be "der letzte der eben genannten Familie" (the
last of the just mentioned family, see page 59), and since our orphan, Phil. Hr. Weber
is confirmed after 12 year old Phil's death, one can assume that there were two distinct
Weber families, that therefore the four Weber adults that are listed in the death register
constitute two married couples, that the orphan Phil. Hr. Weber was the child of one of
the two, and that therefore, neither of his/her parents died at sea.
Quite the opposite is the case with K. C. Heidelberg, whose name, like that
of Weber's, reveals no gender. No deaths of any persons who might clearly be his/her
parents are reported by Ervendberg.
However, the final candidate, Franziska E. Langer, fits the profile exactly.
The death of the woman who was likely to have been her mother, listed by Ervendberg
as Marg. Elis. Langer, is recorded, but no record of the death of a man who might have
been her father appears. Perhaps not coincidentally, young Franziska is the only one of
the three candidates who can positively be said to be female.
7 Samuel Wood Geiser, Naturalists of the Frontier (Dallas: Southern Methodist Press, 1948). The
biographical sketch appears on pp. 94-131, the information about Ervendberg's scandalous departure from
Texas on pp. 124-125. Geiser speculates that Ervendberg would have received a good bit more attention
from Texas historians had he not abandoned his family.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992, periodical, January 1992; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151384/m1/44/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.