The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

German Settlement of the Hill Country - Morgenthaler







    The German Settlement of the Texas Hill Country.  By Jefferson Morgenthaler.  Boerne:  Mockingbird Books, 2007. 214 pages, notes, bibliography, index, softbound, 6" x 9", ISBN 978-1-932801-09-5 $18.95


A quick survey of the volume may lead the awkward reader to some conclusions with some inaccuracy.  For instance, as the Holy Roman Empire dissipated and left the Germans feeling inadequate, the French revolted with all those weird ideas of freedom, leaving the German wishing for enlightened despots.  They found one named Sam Houston who offered them fishing rights on the upper Llano River. 

So several hundred Germans invaded at Matagorda Bay, drove up the Guadalupe River, tried to settle in at the designated locale, found they'd been "baited" with good advertising to a harsh land with loud neighbors (the Comanche just wouldn't abide by the neighborhood association's deed restrictions), "switched" to preferred locales, established New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Boerne, Sisterdale, and Comfort, did rather well, even with a few Freethinkers along the way, found themselves beset by ruffians who wished to force acceptance of slavery and rebellion against the Union, got into a serious dust-up on the Nueces followed by a massacre, emerged from the scrapes, did rather well, and now populate the Texas Hill Country, finding freedom, education, democracy, and assimilation into Texan culture quite okay, thank you.

A calmer survey reveals Morgenthaler has strung together readable chapters of the 1840s-1860's successful colonization lead by a few German aristocrats via their Adelsverein organization, and their usually more common Germans.  Morgenthaler goes beyond the usual stories of Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Fredinand Roemer, John Musenbach, and Henry Fisher.  He gets under the Fachwerk housing, reads the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, and mixes with the Fortiers, the Forty-eighters, and Fourierists.

Folks will find many tales of their early families tucked into the story as evidence.


No comments: