Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 240 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AN1D PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
brain. What he has already succeeded in doing is
a sufficient earnest of what he will yet accomplish
in the interest of the unfortunates committed to his
Although he is giving his whole heart and all his
energies to the management of the institution he
gives a large measure of the credit of its success to
CARL HILMAR GUENTHER,
As the pioneer history of Texas is being written
and put into print the fact is being developed that
the German Empire has contributed more of its
bone, sinew, and brain to the settlement and development
of the Lone Star State, than all of the
other nations of the world combined. The Germans
were among the very first pioneers who made
their way into the region of country known as Western
and Southern Texas and as a rule they were
plain, honest people without means, who were accustomed
to hardship and a rigid economy in all of
the affairs of life and were especially adapted to
pioneering in a frontier country. The now venerable
Carl Hilmar Guenther, of San Antonio, is a
fair type of the Texas pioneer, and a brief account
of his career will, therefore, be of interest to the
readers of this work.
Mr. Guenther was born in the town of Weissenfels,
Prussia, March 19th, 1826. His father, Gottfried
Guenther, was a successful business man of
that town, who, in early life, was a merchant and
later owned lands and pursued the avocation of a
farmer. He was a man of property and influence.
Hilmar Guenther spent his boyhood and youth on
his father's farm, received a liberal schooling and
learned the business of scientific milling in all of
its branches, which in those days not only involved
the operation of a mill, but also the arts of planing
and millwright. After learning his trade he held a
responsible position as manager of the largest mill
in the city of Zeitz, not far from his home. Upon
the breaking out of the great German revolution of
1848, not wishing to be involved therein, he embarked
from Bremen for New York City on a sailing
vessel and reached his destination after a tedious
voyage of about nine weeks. He remained in New
York about one month, where he took up and pursued
the work of a carpenter. He then went to the
now old town of Racine, Wis., a port town on
Lake Michigan. Wisconsin was then a new and
unsettled State, Racine a small trading port, and
the present great cities of Chicago and Milwaukee
were but small frontier towns. At Racine Mr.
Guenther was employed as a miller a portion of
the time. There was not wheat enough raised in
that section to keep this, a merchant mill, in
operation more than three or four months in the
year. He therefore worked as a carpenter and
builder when not employed in his position
of miller. He remained at Racine something
over a year and then pushed on west to the
Mississippi river and took a steamboat for New
Orleans. Water in the river was low, however,
and the boat stranded at Lake Providence, La.
Here Mr. Guenther disembarked and took a contract
for building a residence for one Mr. Green, of
Green P. 0., not far from Lake Providence. He
completed his contract in due time, drew his money
therefor and returned to New York, took out his
papers of citizenship, and made a trip to the fatherland
to visit his parents. He remained at his home
about three months and then, with the full consent
and approval of his parents, returned to the United
States to make his fortune and his future home.
He landed this time at New Orleans where he purchased
himself a full kit of carpenter's and millwright's
tools and embarked for Texas, reaching
the little gulf port of Indianola in January, 1852.
While he had personally not much means, he had
received assurances from his father that if he found
a favorable opening for business in his line, the
money would be furnished him to engage therein,
and from Indianola he started on a prospecting tour.
He drove with an ox-team from Indianola to San
Antonio. Here for a time he worked as a carpenter
and, not long thereafter purchased a horse and
saddle and prospected for a business location at
Fredericksburg, then a considerable settlement of
German colonists. His coming to Fredericksburg
was welcomed by the people of the colony and his
proposition to build a mill met with much encouragement
and promises of support, as, up to
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/240/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .