Southern Methodist University

Collection of Adelsverein documents

A Guide


Creator: DeGolyer Library
Title: Collection of Adelsverein documents
Dates: 1845-1864
Abstract: This collection includes documents relating to the German colonization of Texas and the Adelsverein, also known as Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas (Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas). The Adelsverein brought thousands of German emigrants to Texas beginning in 1844. These documents include land grants, emigration contracts, promotional materials, and fiscal documents.
Accession No: Vault A2009.0006
Extent: 50 items (0.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in German and English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

The Adelsverein, also known as the Mainzer Verein, the Texas-Verein, and the German Emigration Company, was officially named the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas). In 1842 this organization was formed by twenty-one German noblemen in Biebrich, Germany for the purpose of acquiring land in Texas and encouraging German emigration.

Beginning in 1844 the Adelsverein brought thousands of German emigrants to Texas, founding the town of New Braunfels and other towns in West Texas between Austin and San Antonio. By 1847 the society was on the brink of bankruptcy. The Adelsverein managed to remain in business after installing new management, and a name change to the German Emigration Company. In 1853 the Adelsverein folded due to a large amount of debt. Louis Brister gives an opinion as to why the society failed:

“The chief causes of its failure were not greed or the mean-spirited parsimony of its members, however, but their lack of business sense, the intrigues of land speculators and some members of the society, the naïveté of the nobles involved, and a lack of trust even in their own officers in Texas.”


William Reese Company.

Louis E. Brister, "Adelsverein," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed August 02, 2012.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection of printed documents, issued by the Society during its most active period, mainly in the antebellum statehood era, represents a crucial chapter in Texas colonization history. The documents trace the history of the Adelsverein from its first active years through bankruptcy and its evolution into the Texas and German Emigration Company, headed by Henry Fisher. Documents include emigration contracts; minutes of meetings of the directors; fiscal papers; publicity material to attract emigrants; correspondence and reports from Texas back to the directors in Germany; and material on the dissolution and rearrangement of the Society's finances. Item 4 in this collection is listed as number 1626 in Thomas Streeter’s Bibliography of Texas, 1795-1845.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 1 series:
Series 1: Adelsverein documents


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
German Americans -- Texas -- History.
Germany -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 19th century.
Texas -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 19th century.
Texas -- Colonization -- History -- 19th century.

Related Materials

Digitized items from this collection are available at

Rudolph Leopold Biesele papers, A2010.0030

David I. Miller land deed, 1858 June 1, A2002.0123c

Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas records, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Solms-Braunfels Archives, 1842-1957, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of Adelsverein documents, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2009, 2014.

Processing Information

The majority of the collection was arranged chronologically by the bookseller William Reese Company. Their format and descriptions (including paper dimensions) were retained in the inventory. The locations in brackets provided by the William Reese Company are not printed on the document, but probable places of publication. All items purchased by the library after 2009 were placed at the end of the collection, but listed in the finding aid chronologically. Additional purchased items were added to the collection beginning in 2014.

Finding aid written by

William Reese Company, 2009. Revised by Cynthia Franco, 2012, 2014-2015.

Finding aid encoded by

Cynthia Franco, 2012, 2015.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Adelsverein documents
1 box

Box Folder
1 44 [Articles of partnership between German Emigration Company and Henry F. Fisher and Burchard Miller.] Signed by Carl, Graf zu Castell and Henry F. Fisher. Frankfort on the Main. June 24, 1844. 6 pages
Box Folder
1 1 Agentur. Schiff-Vertrag des Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer Texas. Biebrich. 4 pages. Blank ship contract for Texas emigrants, possibly pre-1845.
Box Folder
1 2 Additional-Congress-Beschluss …[Wiesbaden]. Broadsheet. January 1845. Congressional resolution from the Texas legislature in regard to the settlement and its agents.
Box Folder
1 3 Aufnahme-Schein. Mainz, 1845. 1 page. Emigrant receipt signed by an agent, Cappes.
4 Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas. Mainz. 1845. 4 pages. Description of the Society’s land in Texas and the dangers of emigration. Streeter Texas, 1626.
Box Folder
1 5 Einwanderungs-Vertrag. Bremen. 1845. 2 pages. Printed emigrant’s contract, complete in manuscript and signed by Wm. Fehrmann, Republic of Texas Consul at Bremen.
6 Vertrag zwischen dem Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer nach Texas. Antwerp. 1845. Broadside. Emigrant’s contract for an individual sailing from Bremen, signed and stamped by the Consulate of Texas at Bremen.
7 Vertrag zwischen dem Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas. Antwerp. 1845. Broadside. Emigrant contract between the Adelsverein and an individual sailing from Antwerp in 1845. Signed by the Texas consul as well as the emigrant, with seal of the consulate of the Republic of Texas.
8 Vertrag zwischen dem Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas und dem Auswanderer. Antwerp. 1846. Broadside. Printed emigrant’s contract, completed in manuscript, signed and sealed by the Consulate of the Republic of Texas in Antwerp.
Box Folder
1 45 [Agreement by John O. Meusebach as General Director of the Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas to give gratuitously for five years 480-500 acres to Carl von Iwaonski] English translation by Augustus Fisher. Travis County, Texas. December 7, 1846. 4 pages.
Box Folder
1 9 United States of America, State of Texas, County of Coman, New Braunfels Decbr.29 1846. [New Braunfels, Tex.] 1846. 1 page. Printed bond, 27 x 20 cm. Completed in manuscript and signed by John Meusebach, the general commissioner of the Adelsverein's interests in Texas.
10 Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas. Mainz. 1846. 3 pages on folded folio sheet, 35 x 22 cm. Promotional piece for the Society signed in type by the president of the Adelsverein, Prince Carl of Castell. Description of the colony, the number of emigrants who have gone to Texas, and adds numerous other details about the means of transportation, costs, etc.
11 Statuten des naturforschenden Vereins in Texas. Biebrich. 1846. 4 pages on folded folio sheet, 27 x 22 cm. Communications concerning the natural resources of Texas. Signed in print by Castell.
Box Folder
1 46 [Johann Freidrich Hubsoh colonization contract]. New Braunfels, Texas. February 9, 1847. 1 page.
47 [Hermann Speiss land grant with manuscript map.] Comal County, Texas. October 1, 1848. 3 pages.
Box Folder
1 12 Comite-Bericht. Wiesbaden. 1849. 3 pages on folded folio sheet, 34 x 21 cm. Committee report concerning land grants in New Braunfels.
13 [Manuscript document reproduced in lithography]. Wiesbaden. 1849. 16 pages. 32 x 20.5 cm. Report from Bene on the situation in Texas during 1849, cover letter, and letters from several other officials on progress at Fredericksburg.
14 Circular an die Mitglieder des Vereins zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas. Wiesbaden. 1849. 2 pages. Folio broadsheet, 34 x 21.5 cm. Circular issued by the Society concerning banking arrangements made through the banker Flersheim of Frankfurt.
15 Die Thätigkeit des Comite’s seit dem lekten Bericht vom 15. May D. J. betreffend. Frankfurt. 1849. 4 pages on folio sheet, 33.5 x 21.5 cm. Report of the Committee on progress made in the Texas settlements.
16 Die Rückkehr des Herrn Louis Becter aus Texas betreffend. Wiesbaden. 1849. 3-6 pages on folded folio sheet, 33.5 x 21.5 cm. List of assets of the Society, both in America and Germany.
17 Vortrag die Beschaffung der Fonds betr, welche der Generalagent Bene zur theilweisen Deckung der Vereinsschulden in Texas... Wiesbaden. 1850. 29 pages. 34 x 22 cm. Manuscript reproduced in contemporary offset, printing letters from F. Roemer, Kroeber, and others. This report seems to have been prepared for financing purposes, the literal title being "Report on the condition of funds, which the General Agent Bene has submitted on Jan. 22, 1850, for partial provision of the Verein in Texas." There is an account of the situation there, as well as information on stockholders in Germany and financing measures.
Box Folder
1 48 [Ludwig Bene land grant to Joh. Geo. Chr. Doebner] . New Braunfels, Texas. January 23, 1850. 1 page.
49 [Ludwig Bene land grant to Joh. Chr. Doebner]. Fredericksburg, Texas. January 23, 1850. 1 page.
Box Folder
1 18 Beilage zu No. 41 des herzoglich Rassanischen allgemeinen Intelligenzblatts vom 12. October 1850. Wiesbaden. 1850. 4 pages on folded partially uncut sheet, 27 x 22 cm. Fiscal paper for the Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas, describing conditions of loans.
19 Prioritäts-Obligation des Vereins zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas uber 500 Gulden im 24½ Gulden Fuss. Wiesbaden. 1850. 4 pages on folded folio sheet, 31.5 x 20 cm. Printed bond, signed in ink by the Committee members, but not executed.
20 Wie aus nachstehendem Schreiben erstchtlich, ist der General-Agent Herr Bene, veranlasst durch gemichtig Gründe, vor etlichen Lagen aus Texas hier angetommen. Wiesbaden. 1850. 2 pages on folded sheet, 28.5 x 23pp. Concerning financial matters. First section signed in type by the Committee, the second section in type by Bene, the general agent.
21 Uebersetzung. [Wiesbaden?] 1850. 1 page on folded folio sheet, 32 x 21 cm. Lithographic manuscript. Short report translates a letter from the Governor of Texas, P.H. Bell, on the landholdings of the Verein.
22 In der Ungewizheit, ob nach Unfunft des Texanischen Legislaturbeschlusses die Zeit zur Berufung einer ausserordentlichen Generalversammlung.... Wiesbaden. 1850. Broadside. 27 x 19 cm. Resolutions in light of the Texas Legislature meeting. Signed in type by the Committee.
Box Folder
1 23 Comite des Vereins zum Schulze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas. Stuttgart. 1850. 21 pages. Manuscript document reproduced by contemporary offset, stitched. Fine. Lithographically reproduced document, in a style often used by the Society, is a letter from the German promotional agent, Traugott Bromme, giving a detailed account of the doings of the Society, with an extensive summary of conditions in the colony.
24 [Manuscript document reproduced by contemporary offset]. Wiesbaden. 1850. 2 pages on folded folio sheet, 34.5 x 21.5 cm. Circular from the Committee seeks to raise funds in light of Bene's most recent report.
Box Folder
1 25 Ich ertheile hierdurch dem...Vollmacht mit Substitutionbesugniss… Dusseldorf. 1850. 1 page. Printed document, completed in manuscript, 27 x 20 cm. Agreement to be bound by laws of the colony.
Box Folder
1 26 Denkschrift. Wiesbaden. 1851. Broadside. 35 x 21.5 cm. Memorandum concerning the Society and the status of things in Texas, signed in type by Prince Hermann of Wied.
Box Folder
1 27 Das Comite bittet die Herren Actionaire des Texas-Bereines, welche der lessten General-Bersammlung… Wiesbaden. 1851. 3 pages on folded folio sheet, 33.5 x 21 cm. Document regarding attempts to raise money.
28 P.P. Die Generalversammlung des Bereines zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas vom 8. September D. J. hat sich, in Erwägung der zweifelhasten... Wiesbaden. 1851. 7 pages on folded folio sheet, 34.5 x 22 cm., signed in type by members of the Executive Committee. Fiscal document summarizing fundraising and finances of the Society.
29 [Manuscript document reproduced by contemporary offset]. [Wiesbaden?]. [1852]. 12 pages. 33.5 x 21.5 cm. Printed letters from Bene in New Braunfels; a two-page report, unsigned, in English, about troop movements in Texas; a letter from Hobbe in New York.
Box Folder
1 30 Geschehen zu Mainz (Europäischer Hof) am 12. Juli… Wiesbaden. 1852. 7 pages. 34 x 21.5 cm. Proceedings of a meeting at Mainz concerning the Texas settlements.
Box Folder
1 31 [Manuscript document reproduced by contemporary offset]. Wiesbaden. 1852. 1 page on folded sheet, 27.5 x 21 cm. Signed in facsimile by Reuscher.
Box Folder
1 32 Forsetzung des Protocolls des Consortiums des Schmidtschen Anlehens… Wiesbaden. 1852. 5 pages. Further remarks on blacksmith unions and Society finances.
Box Folder
1 33 Circularschreiben in Betress der Regelung der Berhältnisse hinfichtlich... Frankfurt. 1852. 15 pages. Detailed report on the circumstances of the Society. Intended to satisfy the holders of the bonds issued by the Society in 1847. Attached is a report from Henry Fisher which gives an account of finances in Texas.
34 Das unterzeichnete Comitee hat einen Bericht des Herrn Bene… Wiesbaden. 1852. 3 pages on folded sheet, 27.5 x 22 cm., signed by the Executive Committee. Reaction to a report from Bene.
Box Folder
1 35 Geschehen zu Wiesbaden… Wiesbaden. 1852. 5 pages. 32.5 x 21 cm. Signed by the Executive Committee. Review of the situation of the Society.
36 Texas and German Emigration Company Certificate of Stock ...Shares of One Hundred Dollars Each... [Houston. ca. 1853]. Engraved stock certificate, executed in ink. This stock issue was the result of the dissolution of the original Verein and the formation of this new company in Texas to take over its assets. A number of shares were issued to the original Verein holders, including this one, dated in manuscript at Houston, June 15, 1859. The assets of the new company included all of the old Verein landholdings in Texas. The share is signed by Henry F. Fisher, one of the leading figures in the German Texas colonization.
Box Folder
1 37 Die Herren Uctionare des Vereins zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas. Wiesbaden. 1854. 4 pages on folded sheet, 26 x 21.5 cm. Two printed letters from Henry Fisher dated Houston, July 29 and Aug. 24, 1854. This notice "To the Stockholders of the Verein..." conveys the terms of settlement between that body and the new Texas and German Emigration Company, which took over the activities of the Verein.
Box Folder
1 38 [Manuscript letter reproduced by contemporary offset]. [Frankfurt]. 1854. 2 pages. List of agents of the Verein in German authorized by the Committee. Signed in facsimile by the Verein's agent in Frankfurt with some contemporary manuscript notes.
Box Folder
1 50 [John O. Meusebach certificate for 320 acres]. New Braunfels, Texas. February 28, 1855. 1 pages.
Box Folder
1 39 Geschehen zu Wiesbaden am 11. October 1855. Wiesbaden. 1855. 19 pages. Signed in type by Henry Fisher. Detailed discussion of the financial ramifications of the transfers between the old Verein and the Texas and German Emigration Company.
40 In Folge Beschlusses vom 17. Mai D.J. find die Angelegenheiten… Neuwied. 1858. Broadside, 28 x 22 cm. Document settling the estate of one of the stockholders.
Box Folder
1 41 [Manuscript document reproduced by contemporary offset]. Frankfurt. 1864. 20 pages. Signed in facsimile by P.N. Schmidt. A late fiscal report on proceeds of the dissolution of the Verein.
Box Folder
1 42 Fahrpreise von Baltimore, in Einwandererzugen. Bremen. [1856?]. Broadside, 36 x 13 cm. Fare schedule for the Baltimore and Ohio Railway.
Box Folder
1 43 Vollmacht zur Betreibung. 1 page. This document appears to be regarding power of attorney and Emil Leisler.