Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996 Page: 137
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
sheep, and 50 swine. Four other Germans, Peter Pieper, Fredrich Adolph Zimmerscheidt,
Bernard Schneider, and Elizabeth Beimer, like Frels, each owned more than 1000 acres.
Generally though, they had improved only about twenty of their acres and owned far fewer
animals than Frels. Between them, they produced 1050 bushels of corn and 17 bales of
cotton. The county's other Germans operated much smaller farms. Only about half of them
owned any land at all; the others, it must be presumed, rented. The smaller German land
owners typically owned about 100 acres, only a dozen of which had been improved,
produced about 140 bushels of corn, and owned about a dozen swine. About two-thirds of
them produced cotton, averaging about two bales apiece. About one-third of them owned
cattle, their herds averaging 18 head. About half of the German farmers who did not own
land grew corn and about half grew cotton; about half owned swine and about one-fifth
owned cattle. Tobacco was by far the most common side crop for the Germans, with about
one-fourth of them producing it. The largest producer of tobacco was John Gerngross, who
produced 800 pounds of it though he owned only 30 acres. The next largest grower,
Zimmerscheidt, who owned 2200 acres, produced 400 pounds of tobacco. No one who
grew tobacco produced less than 100 pounds; on average, the Germans who grew tobacco
produced 261 pounds.39
The primary cash crop in the county, however, was cotton, and most of the
cotton was grown on the plantations of men who owned slaves. In the years following the
annexation of Texas by the United States, many of the old plantations had grown markedly,
and a number of new plantations had been established. In 1850, federal census takers
39 Seventh Census of the United States (1850) Schedule 4, Colorado County, Texas. Because each
entry is spread across two pages, it is important to point out that the pages of the 1850 agricultural schedule were
microfilmed in incorrect order. It is possible to reconstruct their order from the summary of the data presented
on what were originally the last two pages, pages 13 and 14. The first page on the microfilm is original page
9; the second original page 12; the third original page 1; the fourth original page 4; the fifth original page 3;
the sixth original page 2; the seventh original page 5; the eighth original page 8; the ninth original page 13; the
tenth original page 14; the eleventh original page 7; the twelfth original page 6; the thirteenth original page 11;
and the fourteenth original page 10. The statistics cited above are based on the reported production of Germans
on original pages 5-10 of the agricultural schedule cited above, beginning with Bernard Fehrenkamp and ending
with William Gaedeke. The sample, which encompassed most of the Frelsburg and Bernardo areas, embraced
87 farmers, 48 of whom owned land. Frels, Pieper, Zimmerscheidt, Schneider, and Beimer, all of whom owned
more than 1000 acres, and Hermann Frels, George Herder, and Edward Ruhmann, all of whom owned more
than 450 acres, have been excluded from the group identified above as "smaller German landowners. " That
group then contained 40 persons; and the group of persons who did not own land contained 39. The 40 land
owners owned a total of 4087 acres, 526 of which were improved, and produced a total of 5665 bushels of corn.
Of them, 34 owned a total of 405 swine, 26 produced 59 bales of cotton, 17 owned 304 head of cattle, and 15
produced 4250 pounds of tobacco. Of the 39 who did not own land, 22 owned a total of 322 hogs, 18 produced
2425 bushels of corn, 15 produced 28 bales of cotton, seven owned 88 head of cattle, and five grew 800 pounds
of tobacco. Hermann Frels, Herder, and Ruhmann owned a total of 1739 acres, 79 of which were improved,
and, between them, 95 cattle and 42 swine. They produced 14 bales of cotton, 10 of them by Herder, and 950
bushels of corn. Only one of the three, Ruhmann, grew tobacco.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996, periodical, September 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151398/m1/25/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.