Timeline of Historical Events

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The historical events in this timeline show the progress the German immigrants made as they settled in their new homes. Not only are their successes included, but also the trials and tribulations that they had to overcome in the new land. Some U.S. and Texas historical events are also included to serve as a reference point for the local events.

Currently the events are limited to those occurring before 1900 because these are not as well known as the more recent events. More events will be added as they are uncovered and as time permits. As this project grows, the timeline will be extended into the 20th century.

Additions to existing events and additions of new events to the timeline are gratefully accepted by sending the event description and source reference to Timeline Submission.
20 Apr 1842 In Bieberich on the Rhine, fourteen German princes and counts signed the document forming Verein zum Schutz deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Organization for the Protection of German Emigrants in Texas). It was also known as Adelsverein (Society of Nobles) or just Verein (the Society). BIE001 p. 2; SRP001 p. 8; WIS001 p. 14
1844 Adelsverein acquired the Fischer-Miller grant to be used for German immigrants. BIE001 p. vi
24 Feb 1845 Baron Ottfried von Meusebach was appointed to succeed Prince Solms as administrator WIS001 p. 23
14 Mar 1845 Prince Solms purchased land which became New Braunfels WIS001 p. 20
Dec 1845 Heavy rainfall, during the winter of 1845-1846, caused many diseases for colonists waiting at the coast for transportation to Fredericksburg and New Braunfels WIS001 p. 24
Dec 1845 Meusebach sent surveyors to chart and open wagon route from New Braunfels to Fredericksburg WIS001 p. 27-28
29 Dec 1845 Texas was admitted as the 28th state in the United States of America SRP001 p. 8; WIS001 p. 13
Mar 1846 Meusebach contracted with Torrey Brothers for transportation of colonists from the coast to Fredericksburg. WIS001 p. 24
Apr 1846 War between Mexico and USA started because of the annexation of Texas WIS001 p. 13
23 Apr 1846 First wagon train of colonists left New Braunfels for Fredericksburg, including 120 men, women & children, 8 Society's soldiers with 20 two-wheel wagons. SRP001 p. 8; WIS001 p. 28
8 May 1846 First wagon train of settlers arrives at site of the new settlement of Fredericksburg. It is described as having two deep flowing streams, tall grass and an abundance of oak trees to use in building homes. SRP001 p. 9; WIS001 p. 29
abt 10 Jun 1846 Second wagon train leaves New Braunfels for Fredericksburg SRP001 p. 9; WIS001 p. 29
1847 By the middle of 1847, Fredericksburg had 15 stores and the population is 966. SRP001 p. 9
1847 Migrating Mormons established a settlement four miles east of Fredericksburg. The troop consisted of 40 families (about 200 persons) under the leadership of their elder Lyman Wright. Their colony was built on the Pedernales River and included a grist mill, water-powered saw and a wood-turning lathe. SRP001 p. 9; WIS001 p. 45
22 Jan 1847 A train of 40 men which included a company mounted men, five Mexicans, the American surveyors, lead by Meusebach, travelled into Commanche territory WIS001 p. 38
7 Mar 1847 Meusebach and his train returned to Fredericksburg from their trip to the San Saba River where they made the peace treaty with the Commanches. WIS001 p. 42-43
9 May 1847 Original Vereins Kirche (Society's church) was built to serve as a community church and meeting room. At the dedication Indians, who took part in the treaty negotiations, were special guests. GIL002; SRP001 p. 9; WIS001 p. 33
11 May 1847 The U.S. declares war on Mexico after the slaughter at Palo Alto near Brownsville on May 8 and at Resaca de la Palma on May 9. SRP001 p. 9
20 Jul 1847 John O. Meusebach yielded his office as General Commissioner to H. Spies WIS001 p. 27
Sep 1847 War between Mexico and USA ended WIS001 p. 13
Dec 1847 Many residents in Fredericksburg died, chiefly of scurvy, during winter of 1847-1848 because of their poor diet. WIS001 p. 33
1848 Cholera epidemic breaks out and lasts into 1849. SRP001 p. 9
23 Feb 1848 Gillespie County created from Bexar and Travis Counties; named for Texas Ranger Capt. Robert A. Gillespie, a hero of the Mexican War HAN001; SRP001 p. 9
5 Jun 1848 Gillespie County has first election. SRP001 p. 9
5 Dec 1848 Fort Martin Scott was established by U.S. troops after arriving in the area durig the previous month. SRP001 p. 9; WIS001 p. 33
1849 A heavy frost on April 16 kills vegetation and the drouth prevents replanting, thus it was called a "dark year" for Texas farmers. SRP001 p. 9
1849 Methodist Episcopal Church, South was organized by Rev. Eduard Schneider SRP001 p. 9; WIS001 p. 62
1850 Cholera took many lives WIS001 p. 37
1 Jul 1850 John Hunter's store was burned. He was the county clerk at the time and kept all records in his store. SRP001 p. 9
1851 Fort Mason is established northwest of Fredericksburg. SRP002 p. 8
1852 Charles Henry Nimitz erected a sun-dried brick hotel in the shape of a ship and was later enlarged to resemble a steamship. NIM001 p. 58
1852 Zion Lutheran congregation was formed after withdrawing from the Vereins Kirche SRP002 p. 8; WIS001 p. 63
1853 Mormons left their settlement in Gillespie County after a flood devastated their colony named Zodiac. SRP002 p. 8; WIS001 p. 46
27 Mar 1854 Five public school districts in the area are created. District I includes the settlements on the Llano River; District II, the town of Fredericksburg and settlements on Palo Alto and Barons Creeks; District III, settlements on the Liveoak Creek, Pedernales River, Bear Creek and down the Pedernales River to San Antonio Road crossing; District IV, settlements on Grape Creek; District V, settlements on Sandy and Honey Creeks and their tributaries. SRP002 p. 8-9
21 Jul 1855 Peter Pehl donates land for building the first Luckenbach School. SRP002 p. 9
Sep 1855 Gillespie County's first courthouse is completed on the northwest corner of the courthouse square. In 1882 it becomes the Fredericksburg post office after the second courthouse was built. It was razed in 1940 to make room for the new post office. SRP002 p. 9
1856 Llano County create from Bexar and Gillespie Counties HAN001
18 Feb 1856 Francis Morris, of New York and Maryland, buys 23,040 acres of land in Gillespie County. He sells 6,400 acres to Peter Hayden in 1859, and the rest (16,640) remains in the Morris family until 1921. The land becomes the site of the famed Morris Ranch. SRP002 p. 9
1 Jul 1856 A mill is founded by brothers John E. and Thomas C. Doss. The Doss community is named after these brothers and this date is considered to the founding date of the community. SRP002 p. 9-10
2 Aug 1856 John E. and Thomas C. Doss take in a partner, Wm. G. Thomas, for the purpose of building a saw mill and grist mill on the waters of the Threadgill Creek. SRP002 p. 9
26 Aug 1856 First Catholic school was held in the rectory by Franz Stein for seven students. MON001 p. 49; SRP002 p. 10
Dec 1856 Catholic school was moved to the first schoolhouse MON001 p. 49
1858 The first classes are held in Meusebach Creek community in a private home but lasts only for about one year. SRP002 p. 10
22 Jan 1858 Mason County created from Bexar and Gillespie Counties; named for Ft. Mason HAN001
12 Feb 1858 Blanco County created from Burnet, Comal, Gillespie and Hays Counties; named for Blanco River HAN001
1859 The first formal school lessons are taught at Grapetown by Louis Hartwig in F. W. Doebbler's home. He would teach for alternate weeks between Grapetown and Meusebach Creek communities. SRP002 p. 10
11 Apr 1859 A new Gillespie County jail is built. SRP002 p. 10
29 May 1859 The Sixth State Saengerfest begins a three day event in Fredericksburg with seven societies coming for the event. SRP002 p. 10
1860 The first settlers arrive along the Pedernales River in the eastern part of the county, and that community is at first known as Millville but is later known as Stonewall. SRP002 p. 10
1860 The population of Gillespie County is 2,736. SRP002 p. 10
1861 Fort Martin Scott is reactivated and held by the Confederates during the Civil War. SRP003 p. 8
28 Jan 1861 Texas secedes from the Union and joins the Confederacy, a move ratified Feb 23 by statewide vote. SRP003 p. 8
23 Feb 1861 In the statewide vote to ratify secession from the Union, the majority of the citizens of Gillespie County vote against secession by a margin of 400 votes, with 17 for seceding. SRP003 p. 8
26 Feb 1861 The first stone of the foundation of St. Mary's Catholic Church is laid and on Jun 8 the cornerstone is put into place. SRP003 p. 8
Mar 1862 Brig. Gen. P.O. Hebert proclaims martial law over the state of Texas, requireing every male over 16 years of ages who is an alien to swear allegiance to Texas and the Confederate States. SRP003 p. 8
30 May 1862 Capt. James Duff arrives in Fredericksburg and declares martial law in Gillespie County, giving residents six days to come in and take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. SRP003 p. 8
Jun 1862 A number of men from Gillespie and adjoining counties meet and organize a Union Loyal League, the purpose of which is to maintain peace and neutrality; to prevent the conscription of Union sympathizers for the Confederate Army; and to protect their homes from the Indians. SRP003 p. 8
1 Aug 1862 Eighty men who are determined not to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy meet at Turtle Creek in Kerr County and make plans to go to Mexico. Sixty-one of those present join the expedition. SRP003 p. 8
22 Nov 1863 The second church of the St. Mary's Parish was consecrated following 3 years of construction. Today it is known as Marienkirche. MON001 p. 27; SRP003 p. 8
16 May 1866 The mill owned by John E. and Thomas C. Doss is now known as Lange's Mill after changing owners. SRP002 p. 9
1871 Northern Methodist Episcopal Church was organized WIS001 p. 63
20 Mar 1873 Second Catholic schoolhouse was purchased - the former house of Pastor Dangers MON001 p. 53
10 Aug 1874 Louis Doebbler was awarded a contract to build a new Gillespie County Jail. The amount of the contract was $1,645.00. The jail was erected south of the County Courthouse and has since been reworked several times and a second story was added. FIC003
1881 First Gillespie County Fair, oldest continuously operated county fair in Texas, first held on grounds of old fort (Fort Martin Scott). GIL002 p. 165
1 Jun 1881 Luckenbach shooting club was organized GIL002 p. 178
21 Nov 1883 Harper Post Office was established by George F. Harper HAR001 p. 34
1884 Evangelical Lutheran St. Paulus congregation at Cave Creek was organized WIS001 p. 63
1 Nov 1885 Grapetown Leidertafel (Singing Club) was formed. GRA001
1887 Grapetown Eintracht Schuetzen Verein (Grapetown United Shooting Club) was organized with the range located on the Theodore Hohenberger place. HOH001
abt 1888 The first Grapetown shooting competition was held just downhill from the stage stop [Doebbler's Inn] on a level piece of land where the creek [Grape Creek] makes a wide bend.
aft 1889 Gillespie County Fair moved to "Central Park", the present Fredericksburg Turn Verein GIL002 p. 165
17 Dec 1890 Hubertus Rifle Club was organized WIS001 p. 67
1892 Gillespie County Fair Association was formed WIS001 p. 67
1892 Gillespie County Fair moved to the Fair Grounds (which is now parkland and HEB) GIL002 p. 165
18 Dec 1892 Gillespie County Schuetzenbund (Marksmen's Association) was organized at Wahrmund's Hall GIL002 p. 178
Jan 1893 Gillespie County Schuetzen Bund (Rifleman's Association) was formed, uniting Hubertus, Grapetown Eintract Schuetzen Verein (Grapetown United Shooting Club), Jaegerlust of Luckenbach, Lone Star Gun Club of Cherry Spring, Gun Club of Tivydale, Nimrod of Palo Alto, Cherry Mountain Gun Club of Trockenburg, Jaegerlust of Meusebach Creek. WIS001 p. 68
29 Jul 1893 Grapetown Schuetzen Verein hosted the first Gillespie County Schuetzenfest at their new (current) location. GIL002 p. 178
Aug 1895 Scharfschuetze (Marksman) shooting club was organized. During the early years, the rifle range was on the Kordzik pasture near the second Town Creek. WIS001 p. 69
May 1896 The original Vereins Kirche was converted into an open pavillion for the 50th anniversary jubilee. The stone walls were removed and decorations were added. WIS001 p. 60

BIE001: Rudolph Leopold Biesele, German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861 (Ann Arbor: McNaughton & Gunn, 1987)
FIC001: Bill Fickert, “Friedrich Wilhelm Doebbler”
FIC002: Bill Fickert, “Ferdinand Friedrich Doebbler”
FIC003: Bill Fickert, “Ludwig Adolph Doebbler”
GIL001: Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960)
GIL002: Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills, Vol. II (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960)
GRA001: Grapetown Eintract Liedertafel und Schuetzen Verein ledgers. Property of Grapetown Eintract Schuetzen Verein (Grapetown Shooting Club)
HAN001: The Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/index.html
HAR001: Centennial Committee, Here's Harper (Fredericksburg: Dietel & Son)
HOH001: Cynthia Hohenberger, "The Grapetown Legacy" in The Junior Historian, Sep. 1965
MON001: Stephen E. Montgomery, Jr., trans., 75th Year Jubilee of St. Mary's Parish Fredericksburg, Texas (Unknown, 1995)
NIM001: Sister Joan of Arc, C.D.P. My Name is Nimitz (San Antonio: Standard Printing Company, 1948)
SRP001: "A Look Back ...", Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, Apr 13, 1994
SRP002: "A Look Back ...", Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, Apr 20, 1994
SRP003: "A Look Back ...", Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, Apr 27, 1994
WIS001: Dr. Charles L. Wissemann, Sr., trans., Fredericksburg, Texas; The First Fifty Years (Fredericksburg: Fredericksburg Publishing Co., Inc., 1971)