Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996 Page: 83
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
Advocates of religion found it difficult to build a congregation even among the
one segment of the population which did have a religious tradition, the Germans who lived
in the north part of the county. Louis Cachand Ervendberg, who styled himself an
unaffiliated Protestant minister, arrived in the area in 1840, performing his first religious
service, a baptism, on February 21, 1841. Ervendberg, who had failed to make a living as
a minister in Houston, found the waters in Colorado County little better. He was never able
to build a church and probably did not hold regular services. In his nearly four years in the
area, he baptized 42 children, performed seven marriages and four funerals, and, one day
shortly after he arrived, confirmed four people. This level of activity could not sustain him,
especially since he had a particularly keen interest in money, and he leaped at the offer of
the Verein zum Schutz deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (also known as the Adelsverein)
to minister to the colony they hoped to establish in the state. His last activity before going
off to Comal County, a series of baptisms, came on November 18, 1844.35
Though the Protestants, with Ervendberg in the lead, had trouble building a
congregation among the Germans, the Catholics had better luck. When the priest and future
bishop Jean Marie Odin passed through the area in April 1841, though he did baptize one
child, the son of Joseph Ehlinger, there was certainly not even a semblance of a
congregation then present. More than two years later, in November 1843, the German-
speaking priest Jean Pierre Og6, baptized several more Colorado County area Germans.
However, by May 1844, enough Catholics were in the area that they had begun building
a church. Apparently a crude structure near Cummins Creek, this first church in Colorado
County was named after St. John the Baptist.36
73; John S. Menefee, "Early Jackson County History, " Jackson County Clarion, May 20, 1880 (or quotation
on p. 219 of Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration oflndependence (Salado: The Anson Jones
Press, 1949)). One must wonder whether it was Dewees or his secret co-author, Emanetta Cara Kimball, who
made the remark about the sermon into a mild complaint. Morrell, a preacher who began his ministry in Texas
in 1836, but who, unhappily, spent little time in the Colorado County area, provides a good picture of the early
colonist's response to his efforts. He tells of an 1838 religious service that was intentionally and continually
disrupted by a number of men on the porch until he struck one, who stuck his head in a window, with a cane,
and remarks that, after two years in Texas, "if a single soul had been converted under my ministry I did not know
it" (see Morrell, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness, pp. 83, 89-90).
35 Colorado County Deed Records, Book B, p. 228; Bill Stein, Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski, Marie
Rose Remmel, and others, transcribers, Jim Kearney and Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski, translators, "Excerpts
from the Kirchenbuch of Louis Cachand Ervendberg, " Nesbitt MemorialLibrary Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 41-
64, which presents a transcription of the register Ervendberg kept of his ecclesiastical activity, the original of
which is in the State Archives in Austin. Ervendberg's cupidity is referred to in a letter by Prince Carl of Solms-
Braunfels to Ottfried Hans Freiherr [John O.] Meusebach, in vol. 59, Solms-Braunfels Archiv, The Center for
American History, University of Texas, Austin. Ervendberg stayed in Comal County for a decade. In 1855, he
abandoned his wife and his flock and ran off to Mexico with a 17 year old girl who had been entrusted to his
orphanage a few years earlier. In February 1863, bandits broke into his home, stole a considerable sum of money,
and killed him.
36 "1840-Daily Journal-1846 of the Late Rt. Rev. J. M. Odin," Southern Messenger, June 15,
1893; Baptismal Records of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Houston, 1841-1860, Records No. 12, 39-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996, periodical, May 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151397/m1/23/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.