Friday, May 03, 2024


 By Caroline Clemmons

 The Texas Hill Country, where I set my latest series, Texas Hill Country Mail Order Brides, is a favorite destination of our family. One of the loveliest and most unique cities in that area is Fredericksburg. The area was settled primarily by German immigrants. If you hate history—I can’t believe you do—you may want to skip the next couple of paragraphs.

John O. Meusebach

In 1846, under the leadership of John O. Meusebach, 120 German immigrants arrived at what is now Fredericksburg. Meusebach had renounced his title as Baron Otfried Hans Freiherr von Meusebach to lead the immigrants as a "commoner" and the commissioner general of the Adelsverein, the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. Most of this group was from the Rhine River Valley. The site he chose was on Barons Creek (named for Meusebach) four miles north of the Pedernales River. (As an aside, I must tell you that no matter that an early mapmaker misspelled the name as Pedernales, it is pronounced purr-den-alice as it has been for several hundred years.)

Meusenbach named the town Fredericksburg after Prince Frederick of Prussia. The town was laid out like the towns of the Rhine with a broad avenue and a town square. Each family received a plot in town and ten acres nearby to farm. On the town square, they built the octagonal Vereneine Kirche, the Society Church, which was shared by different denominations on alternating Sundays. The church also provided a town fortress and a place for community meetings. During the Civil War, the Germans were Union sympathizers and none of them owned slaves.

Octagonal Vereneine Kirche

Here’s something I found fascinating: The land the Germans settled was the range of the Penateka Comanche, a fierce group. Many other white men tried to make the Comanche move away. The Germans asked permission to live on the land and share it with the Comanche. The Germans said the Indians would always be welcome in town and businesses. Just shy of 34 years old, Meusebach was 6 feet 2 inches tall with a bright red beard. The Comanche called him El Sol Colorado, the Red Sun. He negotiated the signing of the Meusebach-Comanche Treaty with Santa Ana, which eliminated the threat of Indian attack, and is still unbroken to this day!  Another thing I found interesting was that many Germans refused to speak English, hoping that would keep them out of politics and local problems. Didn't work that well, but I suppose it's good to hang on to your native language. One of our friends had not heard English spoken until he entered first grade. Big culture shock for him.

End of history lesson. <g>

A substantial Sunday house, 
some were much smaller

Each time I have been to Fredericksburg, I have found new things to love. One of those is the Sunday houses. Farmers who lived too far to travel to church on Sunday morning sometimes built a small house in town. The family drove in on Saturday morning and spent the weekend. This allowed for shopping and possibly a party on Saturday. After an overnight rest, the family could attend Sunday church services. Sad to say, I have heard that many of them have been torn down to make way for so-called progress. I found the houses picturesque.

Other area interests are numerous wineries. The area has become well-known for their fine wines. Many of them offer tasting rooms. There are delightful local inns in case you need to recover from too much tasting. <g>

Winery near Frederickburg

Antique shops pull me in like magnets. A branding iron I purchase came from a shop next door to the Admiral Nimitz Museum. The iron is actually a large Z on which is centered a smaller S. The effect is a dollar sign unless you look carefully. Hero said that was definitely my brand. Imagine the nerve of the man! <g> In spite of his comment, the branding iron is displayed in our living room with many other western and American Indian memorabilia and framed western prints of bluebonnets and windmills, etc. Looking at them makes me happy. 

Perhaps you can tell I love the Texas Hill Country. I hope you’ll help me celebrate it by reading my series. The last one released is KEITH AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE, Book 5. It's available in e-book and print and is in KU. The Amazon buy link is:

I’m currently writing Book 6 about SIDNEY, owner of Garton’s Mercantile. It contains a litle more humor as well as some adventure. Stay tuned….

In the meantime, stay safe and keep reading!







1 comment:

Lyn Horner said...

I, too, love the Hill Country. Thanks for sharing these great pics!