Blanco County News
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Descendents of German Immigrants Invited To Share Family Stories
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 • Posted March 10, 2009

Descendents of German immigrants are invited to take part in a night of celebration of their heritage March 12 at the Blanco Library by sharing family stories and photographs. This evening program, beginning at 7:00pm, is part of the One Book/One Community project which is highlighting the contributions of German immigrants to the settlement and cultural development of the Texas Hill Country.

This program will complement the month-long survey of German immigration which opened with a photo exhibit entitled “Lone Star and Eagle” and features three books for participating readers in the community study of this subject.

Also part of the program will be a survey of Blanco native Frances Alexander’s book Orphans on the Guadalupe by Dorothy Dillon and a talk by C.A. Rust III about the German influence on the settlement of this area.

A survey of Blanco County Heritage, the 823 page history book published in l987, is replete with the names of German families who settled in Blanco County—names like Fischer, Mueller, Lueders, Grobe, Dueker, Bauer, Hallenberger, Schaferkoeter and Armke.

Many of these earliest settlers made their way to the hill country via Galveston and Indianola in the 1840s and 1850s, surviving yellow fever, cholera, hostile Indians and harsh traveling conditions. Among these immigrants were families surnamed Sauer, Koch, Petsche, Kruckemeyer, Liesman, Lindeman, Knoll, Jonas, Haas and Dechert.

Some of these immigrants were fleeing a political upheavel in Germany and conscription into the army. Some were lured by glowing accounts of the beauty and availability of land in Texas. They came from a land that abounded in culture and brought with them a love of learning, music, and political thought.

Immigrants included scholars, religious leaders, artisans, soldiers, and engineers as well as millers, cabinet makers and printers. All left their imprint on the Hill Country.

Memorialized in Alexander’s book is a fictionalized account of the fate of 19 children whose parents died on the voyage to America or of disease and harsh conditions on their trek. Alexander, who was born in Blanco, traces the lives of these orphans and their foster families as they grow up in the Texas wilderness.

The last program of this series will be a talk and visual presentation by Jefferson Morgenthaler, author of The German Settlement of the Texas Hill Country on March 19.

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