Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 13
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
1874, featured the usual parade followed by speeches, a baseball game, foot races, and
dances, and added livestock exhibitions and a shooting contest, which was won by Helmuth
Kulow. The tournament, held on the afternoon of the 27th, was won by James West. John
Stafford finished second, John Willower third, and James Light Townsend fourth. The festi-
val concluded with a fireworks display in a light rain. The 1875 festival was marked by
smaller crowds and a considerably shorter parade, and was ended prematurely by a sub-
stantial rainstorm. Still, it featured speeches (including one by Mathias Malsch in German);
exhibitions of glass blowing, galvanic batteries, and art; a shooting gallery; a food booth to
benefit the construction of the Episcopal church; and two dances, one of them at Dick's
Hall. The tournament, on May 26, was organized by local physician Joseph W. Brown.
Brown charged participants $2.50 to enter, and gave prizes of $25, $15, and $10 to the top
three finishers. The winners, West, Shelley C. Smith, and Warren Decatur Stafford, had just
completed their competition when rain dispersed the crowd. The planned third day of the
festival never materialized.'6
Despite the demise of the Columbus Volks Fest, festivals with a German flavor
continued to crop up in other parts of the county. There were German Gesang Vereine
(singing clubs) in both Frelsburg and New Mainz, and by 1876, the club in Frelsburg had
begun holding a festival each May featuring dancing, singing, and the copious consumption
of beer. Oakland area Germans organized a Schuitzen Verein (shooting club) and held a
shooting contest each May. Not to be outdone, Weimar area Germans conducted festivals
each fall, beginning, apparently, in 1876. That September 27, the citizens of Weimar staged
their own recreation of a medieval tournament, with fourteen participants. The following
spring, the Weimar Odd Fellows lodge scheduled a festival for April, but rain forced its
cancellation. In 1878, Weimar's spring festival was reorganized by a group calling itself the
German Volks Fest Association. Thereafter, the Weimar Germans celebrated both spring
Colorado County Germans also participated in a celebration of the United States
Centennial, held in Austin County near New Ulm on July 4, 1876. The event, which attracted
about two thousand people, was very similar to the recent Volksfests, featuring speeches (in
German), a parade, a tournament, music, horse races, dances, shooting contests, and theat-
rical performances. There were no celebrations of the nation's centennial in Colorado County.
The prevailing sympathies of those county residents who were neither black, German, nor
16 Colorado Citizen, April 23, 1874, April 30, 1874, May 14, 1874, May 21, 1874, May 28, 1874,
April 22, 1875, May 13, 1875, May 20, 1875, May 27, 1875, June 3, 1875. Though there would be no
Volks Fest for the next several years, the festival would be revived, very successfully, in 1880.
17 Colorado Citizen, May 11, 1876, June 1, 1876, November 2, 1876, November 9, 1876, April
19, 1877, May 3, 1877, May 9,1878, May 23, 1878, August 15, 1878, April 17, 1879, May 8, 1879, May 15,
1879, September 11, 1879.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/13/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.