University of Texas Arlington

Samuel Maas Papers:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Maas, Samuel.
Title: Samuel Maas Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1824-1900
Bulk Dates: 1834-1837
Abstract: Samuel Maas, a German immigrant to Texas in the mid 1830s, was a land broker and commission merchant in Galveston, Texas. The papers, which include correspondence and legal and financial documents, are the business records and personal papers of Samuel Maas. Maas’ correspondence is with family, friends, Texas business associates, and firms. A bulk of the personal letters are to Caroline Hart of Charleston, South Carolina, and from Henrietta Hart and Isabella and Miriam Maas. The letters describe the business climate of Texas and Galveston, and politics and politicians in Texas as well as the Mexican American War in Mexico. Business records include land deeds especially in Nacogdoches, Henderson, Leon, Harris, Brazoria, and Galveston counties, bills of sale for slaves, receipts, invoices, contracts, and certificates. Records also show business dealings in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1847 and with the government of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
Identification: GA11-12
Extent: 0.75 linear ft.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Biographical Note

Samuel Maas was a prominent Jewish businessman in Galveston, Texas, from 1837-1897. His business ventures included land investments, ship chandlery, mercantile, and translating Spanish land titles into English.

Maas was acquainted with well known politicians and businessmen. Sam Houston wrote a letter of recommendation for Maas to Ashbel Smith. Maas was a trading agent for Henri Castro, Ashbel Smith, and Sam Houston. He also served as an intelligence officer to Castro, keeping Castro informed about Texas events. Being a successful businessman and having had such important connections, Maas made considerable economic and cultural contributions to Texas.

Maas was born in Meinbeim, Baden, Germany, on March 1, 1810. A European education enabled Maas to speak fluent French and English. Such linguistic training was a key element to Maas' success and assimilation into Texas society. Maas was not the typical German immigrant. He sailed in luxurious cabins and spoke English before arriving in the United States. Maas made his first trip to the United States in the early 1830's. He visited Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then moved to South Carolina, where some of his relatives lived. His first attempt to sail to Texas was a disaster. The ship wrecked in a storm and sank near the Florida Keys. Maas lost all of his goods, including the lumber that he intended to use to build his new Texas home. He had to swim to shore for safety.

Though Texas was primitive compared to the environment of Europe and South Carolina, Maas believed that Texas was where he would find success. Maas moved to Galveston, Texas sometime in 1839. Maas believed Texas would be advantageous because immigrants, who were in need of land and goods, were frequently arriving in the Galveston and Houston area. Also, because Texas was not yet commercially developed, there was less competition than if Maas conducted business in South Carolina.

While in South Carolina, Maas met and became engaged to his cousin, Caroline Hart. They maintained a long distance relationship from sometime in the 1830's until 1842. They broke the engagement because Texas did not meet Hart's standard of living.

On a trip to Germany in 1844, Maas met and married an opera singer named Isabella Offenbach. Together they promoted opera in Galveston and wrote newspaper reviews of local musical performances.

Maas conducted business with New York merchants on a regular basis, which led to legal problems during the Civil War. Because he owed money to northern businessmen, he was accused of aiding "the alien enemy." Maas was not severely punished for this, but he was frequently summoned into Confederate court.

Maas never sought a political office, preferring to stay home and read. Maas struggled between his desire to be a man of letters and the realities of having to make a living. He died in his home on January 10, 1897, at the age of eighty-seven.


  • Ornish, Natalie. Pioneer Jewish Texans: Their Impact on Texas and American History for Four Hundred Years 1590-1990. Dallas: Texas Heritage Press, 1989. 132-134.

Scope and Contents

The collection, in two legal-size document boxes, is composed of personal letters and financial records. Included are letters to and from Maas' family and friends, land deeds, land inventories, mercantile receipts and invoices, court documents, bills of sale, slave purchase receipts, war tax receipts, and promissory notes dating from 1824-1900.

The collection is organized into one series with two subseries. Documents are arranged chronologically, and divided into personal papers and financial records. The documents between 1839-1842 consist mainly of letters from Samuel Maas, who was living in Galveston, to Caroline Hart, who was living in South Carolina. These letters reveal information about Maas' personal and business life and local Texas politics. Documents between 1842-1900 are predominantly financial, containing many Texas land deeds. Letters to and from John Henry Tobelmann are located in documents dated between 1851-1867. Documents dated 1861-1865 reveal the affects of war on certain Texas immigrants.



The Samuel Maas Papers are arranged in one series and two subseries. Documents are arranged chronologically, and divided into personal papers and financial records.
Series I. Personal Papers and Financial Records, 1824-1900. 0.75 linear ft. (3 document boxes)



Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Maas, Samuel, ca. 1810-1897--Archives.
Hart, Caroline.
Hart, Henrietta--Correspondence.
Maas, Isabella--Correspondence.
Maas, Miriam--Correspondence.
Women--South Carolina--Correspondence.
Texas--Galveston--Social life and customs.
Texas--Politics and government--1836-1846--Sources.
Texas--Politics and government--1846-1865--Sources.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscripts Collection

Administrative Information


Samuel Maas Papers, GA11-12, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.


Gift, 1974.

The Samuel Maas Papers were donated to The University of Texas at Arlington by Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins Garrett in 1974. The donation was negotiated by President Wendell Nedderman.

Processing Information

The materials were received in chronological order, but the personal papers were in separate boxes from the financial records. The folders have been rearranged so that those containing financial records have been placed behind those containing personal papers of the corresponding years.

Container List


Series I. Personal Papers and Financial Records, 1824-1900.
Extent 0.75 linear ft. (3 document boxes)

Arranged chronologically and subdivided into personal papers and financial records. The personal papers contain letters to and from Maas' family members and friends in Texas, South Carolina, and New York. The financial records contain land deeds, land inventories, mercantile receipts and invoices, court documents, bills of sale, slave purchase receipts, war tax receipts, and promissory notes.
Box Folder
GA 11 1 Financial Record, 1824.
Printed land survey provided by the Commissioner of the General Land Office and for Mr. Benton of the Senate. The land is located in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
2 Financial Records, September-October 1837.
Bill of sale to Samuel Maas from James Christian, Abraham Gibson and John Harvey. Land deed in Nacogdoches County, Texas.
3 Financial Records, November-December 1837.
Documentation of Samuel Maas' land purchases in Nacagdoches County, Texas, and the town of Bath, Texas.
4 Financial Records, January-March 1838.
Texas land purchase receipt, land survey reports of property in Henderson County, Texas, two Nacogdoches land deeds written in Spanish, and power of attorney.
5 Financial Records, April-October 1838.
Land purchases in Nacogdoches County, Texas. Land deed from DeWitt Clinton Harris for property located on the west bank of the Neches River.
6 Financial Records, 1839.
Land survey for Nacogdoches County, Texas.
7 Financial Records, March-April 1839.
Receipts for clothing and boot purchases.
8 Personal Papers, May 1839.
Letter from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart.
9 Financial Records, May 1839.
Sales receipts.
10 Personal Papers, June 1839.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing his faith in God and the misfortune of a sinking boat.
11 Personal Papers, July 1839.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart explaining how his goods were accidentally dropped overboard. He informs Hart of his general business activities. Newspaper review of the novel, Bulwer and his Wife.
12 Personal Papers, August-September 1839.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing his relatives in Germany.
13 Financial Records, August 1839.
Partnership contract between Samuel Maas and P. J. Menard, price list.
14 Financial Records, September 1839.
Inventory ledgers and sales ledgers.
15 Personal Papers, October-November 1839.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing local news, including his meeting with a Mexican general who came to Texas to request aid from President Lamar. He also explains how volunteers were called to protect the north west frontier from Comanche Indians. He reports on his business ventures, which include a large land purchase near the Trinity River. Maas instructs Hart to read newspapers and expand her interests beyond domesticity.
16 Financial Records, October 1839.
Receipts for returned goods. Maas' account balance with McKinney, Williams, and Company.
17 Financial Records, November 1839.
Receipt to McKinney, Williams, and Company for county fees. Full receipt for McKinney, Williams, and Company.
18 Personal Papers, December 1839.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing the general status of his business and his relationship with Hart's sister, Henrietta. The letter dated December 29, 1839, was delivered by General James Hamilton.
19 Financial Records, December 1839.
Sales receipts for a land purchase presumed to be in Texas, but a location is not provided. Maas' mortgage contract with M. J. Hart and General Bondris.
20 Personal Papers, January-June 1840.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing business activities, including his purchase of Pinckneyville, the value of Texas currency, and his termination of his partnership with Dor Y Gahagan. Maas also discusses the conflict between Federalists and Centralists in Mexico.
21 Financial Records, January 1840.
Mercantile receipts, contract for the purchase of Pinckneyville, Pinckneyville receipt, power of attorney given to Maas from T. J. Pinckny, and other land purchase receipts in Galveston County and San Augustine County, Texas. Receipts for liquor purchases.
22 Financial Records, March-April 1840.
Land purchase receipts for Harrisburg and San Augustine County, Texas. A contract declaring Samuel Maas as John Appleman's attorney.
23 Personal Papers, July-December 1840.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing the low value of Texas currency and his decision to consign his goods. A note to Maas from Palmer Job Pillans requesting that his clothes be washed.
24 Financial Records, June-October 1840.
Sales receipts, mortgage contract, proof of note payment.
25 Financial Records, 1840.
Letter to Tobelmann from G.W. McMahan. Price list.
26 Personal Papers, January-June 1841.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing Colonel Babez's visit, local politics, the anticipation of war with Mexico, and emigration. He also writes about his house guests, who include the French Ambassador, E. Saligny. He expresses his desire for Hart to live with him in Galveston.
27 Personal Papers, July-December 1841.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart discussing Maas' business with Mr. Barbzat and a visit from Maas' youngest brother, Nathan Maas. Letter written in French to Maas from E. Schoell.
28 Financial Records, 1841.
A list of account balances, legal costs in San Augustine County, and a contract transferring ownership of an estate from Alexander Horton to James S. Richards.
29 Personal Papers, January-June 1842.
Letters from Samuel Maas to Caroline Hart expressing his anger toward his brother. He discusses current events, including the massacres of Mexicans and Indians and the preparations for war with Mexico. He advises Hart to follow the example of courageous women of the Revolution to give her strength during the war. He instructs her to be honest and strong without being masculine. Angered because she will not live in Texas with him, he invites her to break their marriage engagement.
30 Financial Records, March 1842.
Letter to Maas from Charles Nelson, list of inventory, and an account ledger.
31 Financial Records, April 1842.
Land deeds in Houston and Harrisburg County, Texas. A list of goods sold.
32 Financial Records, June 1842.
A list of goods sold, and a record of land located in Liberty and Houston County, Texas.
33 Financial Record, June 1843.
Land purchase agreement in Clear Creek County, Texas.
34 Personal Papers, January-October 1844.
A letter from Colonel John H. James to General Charles Fenton Mercer discussing the Texas debt. A letter to Samuel Maas from Henry Dingerfield regarding Dutch immigrants in Texas. A letter from Henrietta to Samuel Maas requesting a truce be made between them.
35 Financial Records, 1844.
Receipts from John Pinckney. Land sales receipts for Liberty County, Texas. A letter form Mr. Morrison discussing a legal settlement.
36 Personal Papers, June-July 1845.
Letters to Samuel Maas from Henrietta asking him to redeem himself. She also asks for information on a man that she is interested in.
37 Financial Records, 1845.
Letter from Willard Richardson regarding advertisement costs in the newspaper.
38 Personal Papers, 1846.
A letter from Samuel Maas to H. Stuart, editor of the Civilian Galveston News, discussing Mexican War provisions and events on the train wagons
39 Financial Records, February-October 1846.
Land certificate signed by J. Pinckney Henderson. The location is unreadable. Receipt, mercantile invoice, and letters from George F. Gerding regarding stock sales.
40 Personal Papers, 1847.
Foreign letters written to Samuel Maas. A letter from D. M. Kleaner.
41 Financial Record, February-April 1847.
Invoice of sundries sent. Letter to Lewis Hancock from Thomas Simpson. A letter to Maas in Vera Cruz.
42 Financial Records, May 1847.
Spanish contract and sales receipts.
43 Financial Records, June 1847.
A note from Samuel Maas requesting payment, and a sales receipt.
44 Personal Papers, June-August 1848.
Letter from Samuel Maas in New York to Isabella advising her on what bills to pay. One of the letters contains a translation by Kincy Rygaard. He also gives Isabella instructions for Keating, who is running the Galveston store. A letter to Isabella from a friend named Hearnah.
45 Financial Records, June-November 1848.
Letter from J. De Cordova. A land agreement in Brazoria County, Texas between I. Clark Beach, James W. Ramsey and Thomas J. Callian.
46 Financial Records, 1849.
A document certifying that Samuel Maas served as a grand juror. A letter from Mr. Brewer requesting a load of wood from Samuel Maas. A land agreement between S. Kurkland and Carle Poer. A letter to Samuel Maas from Keating stating that he cannot collect any money from customers and will therefore have to try some other trade. A land agreement between Samuel Maas and I. H. A. Cobb in Galveston County, Texas. A Magistrate Docket in Galveston County, Texas.
47 Financial Records, 1850.
Deed between James W. Ramsey and Thomas Callihan.
48 Personal Papers, August 1851.
Letter to Mr. Tobelmann from H. Bohmken in Bremen.
49 Financial Records, 1852.
A tax receipt. Deed of adjustment between John L. Lyndor of Galveston and John H. Brower and Benjamin B. Blydenburgh of New York City. A record from the Smithsonian Institution referring to Supreme Court cases of Texas in the December term of 1849. A letter from Wm. May regarding the cost of publishing music.
50 Financial Records, 1853.
A request to find a land deed executed by Martha A. Rofo, located in Jackson or Calhoun County. The state could possibly be Louisiana. Acknowledgement by J. S. Sydnor that he is one half owner of the steamboat, "Wm. Penn", and that the boat is registered in the name of Samuel Maas
51 Personal Paper, April 15, 1854.
A letter, written in French, to Samuel Maas from A. Thouvenieu in New Orleans.
52 Financial Records, 1854.
A letter from C. W. Bradbury in New Orleans to H. M. Shepard in Galveston discussing the production of cotton seed oil. A letter to Samuel Maas from T. R. Hartwell discussing wood deliveries. A land purchase agreement between Walter and Hugh Bernison and John M. Odine in Galveston County. A payment contract for the purchase of a female slave from New Orleans. Letter from Johann Ortmann. Letter from C. W. Bradbury to M. H. Shepard. Letter to the secretary of Texana Steam Navigation Company. A list of Samuel Maas' land holdings and their value. A letter from Johann Ortmann.
53 Financial Records, January-April 1855.
Galveston land deeds and an invoice for the purchase of twenty five barrels of Larger Beer. A letter to Tobelmann from Johann Ortmann.
54 Financial Records, May-October 1855.
Isabella's contract for the purchase of a slave. Record of Samuel Maas' district court fees in Galveston. Deed of trust for land in Galveston City.
55 Financial Records, November-December 1855.
Letters between J. Tobelmann and Mr. Ph. P. Werlein discussing the purchase of a tenor saxhorn. Inventory of Isabella Maas' taxable property. Record of the transfer of ownership of land in Galveston County, Texas.
56 Personal Paper, June 8 1856.
A letter from William in Washington to his cousin, Mary, discussing a fight between an Irishman, McFaden, and the Cook boys, which led to gunfire.
57 Financial Records, January-March 1856.
Letters between J. H. Tobelmann and Ph. P. Werlein about saxhorns. Listings of Samuel Maas' property values. Promissory note.
58 Financial Records, July-August 1856.
A letter from Denisen and Teasdale in San Antonio to Samuel Maas discussing note payments from Dr. Harf. A letter from F. H. M. discussing Maas' suit for payment. A letter to Mr. Morrison discussing Mr. Moore's bills. A record of Samuel Maas' taxable property and its value.
59 Financial Records, February 1857.
Deed between Joseph F. and Jane McClelland from Galveston and L. R. K. Hartley for land in Galveston County. The deed includes a testimony stating that Mrs. McClelland understood and agreed to the sale of the land. This testimony was necessary because the property belonged to Mrs. McClelland before she was married. Letters from J. P. H. Baldridge regarding payments from Samuel Maas' brother.
Box Folder
GA 12 1 Financial Records, April-May 1857.
Letter to Samuel Maas from J. P. H. Baldridge regarding Maas' brother's refusal to pay debts. Two letters from M. H. Shepard in New Orleans requesting a statement of Maas' claim that Mr. Shepard is his debtor. A bill to Samuel Maas from Sherwood and Goodard for legal fees. Land deed between A. D. Beaty of Victoria County, Texas, and Willding.
2 Financial Records, June-October 1857.
A letter to Samuel Maas from V. H. Ivy requesting the evidence of Mr. Shepard's debt and a statement of the case. A bill from J. H. Baldridge to Samuel Maas for legal fees. Three blank checks of Horace Bean & Company from Exchange Bank in New Orleans. There is a letter on the back of the checks from J. Maas to Mr. Merromina complaining that Baldridge sent the sheriff to Jacob Maas' home. Jacob Maas believes the sheriff acted irresponsibly. Land deeds between Edward Parmele and Helen Parmele from New Orleans, and Oliver Hartley from Galveston for land in Galveston.
3 Personal Papers, February-August 1858.
Letter from Agnes L. Hill to her brother, John, explaining how her town, Goliad, lacks cash. A letter to Henry.
4 Financial Records, April-December 1858.
A short letter to Tobelmann addressing mercantile shipments. Letters to Henry with a payment from Julius Heydon. Letter to Tobelmann from someone in Louisa County asking Tobelmann to ship her belongings.
5 Financial Records, June-August 1859.
Land deed between Mr. P. Crawford and Hyancinth De St. Cyr for land in Angelina County. A document stating that John Orthmann appeared in court and signed an application to be admitted as a U.S. citizen.
6 Personal Papers, October-December 1860.
A letter from Wm. Machen to his sister discussing local politics and his job in stone masonry. He writes that his town is upset by the presidential election and plans to hang some of the local Negroes. A letter to Henry Tobelmann regarding the sale of pork.
7 inancial Records, April-October 1860.
A written agreement declaring L. Edward Wegmann, Ernest Parizot, and Hyacinth de St. Cyr as partners. A document giving power of attorney to Mr. Ferdinand Wolff in case of the demise of Mr. Ernest Parizot. Letter to Henry Tobelmann from E. B. Niohols regarding shipments.
8 Financial Records, February 1861.
Land deed in San Augustine County, Texas, between James D. Bullock and Alexander Horton.
9 Personal Papers, May-December 1861.
Letters to G. G. Machen from E. L. Machen discussing crops and his membership in The Minute Men military company. A notification from J. H. Caldwell, captain of Company "A", informing Enoch Machen of the death of his son, E. L. Machen. A letter to Henry Tobelmann from Eliza A. McMahon asking Tobelmann to ship her belongings to her. Letters to Henry Tobelmann from Lach regarding shipments of personal items and note payments.
10 Financial Records, February-December 1861.
Receipts from Wegmann and Parizot to Willarrubin and Laughnd. Letters to Samuel Maas from Theo D. Ormsby regarding receipts for land deeds, and a fraud made against Maas. Letter from J. W. Hamilton regarding his debts to Samuel Maas. Letter from Montgomery and Ford to G. W. McMahon.
11 Financial Records, January 1862.
A letter to Henry Tobelmann from McMahon regarding mercantile purchases.
12 Personal Papers, April 1862.
A letter to Henry Tobelmann from G. W. McMahon requesting Tobelmann to come to Fort Benn.
13 Financial Records, May 1862.
War tax receipts.
14 Financial Records, August-September 1862.
War tax receipts.
15 Financial Records, October-November 1862.
Confederate citation summoning Samuel Maas to appear in Confederate court for owing money to New York businesses. Samuel Maas' land deed for purchasing Houston land from Henry F. Fisher and Mary Fisher.
16 Personal Papers, July 1863.
Letter to M. S. Gayle from W. T. McGeher discussing how to raise bees for honey.
17 Financial Records, January-December 1863.
Bookkeeping ledgers, shipping receipts, and a record of what was owed to northern businessmen.
18 Personal Papers, April-May 1864.
Letters from Merian in Galveston to her father requesting money, shoes, Negro clothing, and yeast powder. She complains of the present low currency value. She is concentrating on her school work and believes to be studying under a respectable teacher. She discusses the present costs of wood, flour, molasses, and other goods. Merian is upset that the family's Negress, Mary, intends to marry a man who was responsible for instigating setting the house on fire.
19 Personal Papers, August-December 1864.
Letters from Merian to her father asking him to send household goods. Letter to Henry Tobelmann from A. De Pelchin discussing his trip to Shreveport, Louisiana and the Northern soldiers advances. A letter to Mrs. P. Strother regarding the death of her nephew, Milton L. Strother.
20 Financial Records, March-July 1864.
J. Deichman's receipts. A copy of Bill Number 121 from the House of Representatives.
21 Personal Papers, January-March 1865.
Letters from M. who is concerned about approaching Northern soldiers. She wants to sell the Negroes and leave for Europe with the children until the war is over. A letter from Isabella in New York discussing plans to go to Europe with the children.
22 Financial Records, 1865.
Confederate court papers accusing August Badin of aiding the Unionists. Legal documents arguing that John Henry Tobelmann is not a citizen of Texas, and should not be restrained from his liberty. Letters announcing the liquidation of the Wegmann and Prizot firm.
23 Personal Papers, June 1866.
A letter from Mary in New York to her father discussing a trip to Europe. She explains that a gentleman told her that Germans in Texas were using white labor to raise immense crops of cotton. She also discusses the value of cotton and gold.
24 Financial Records, 1866.
Letter attesting to the liquidation of the Wegmann and Prizot firm. Samuel Maas' extracts from Isabella Maas' letters.
25 Personal Papers, October 1867.
A letter from Minnie to her older brother discussing her trip to Buffalo.
26 Financial Records, 1867.
Checks written to Isabella Maas and J. P. Harrison, signed by Samuel Maas. A court document appointing J. H. Tobelmann as administrator of the estate of John Orthmann.
27 Personal Papers, 1868.
Draft of Isabella's letters listing items that she was in need of.
28 Financial Records, May-July 1871.
Document from the office of H. M. Trueheart, real estate and general tax agent, acknowledging H. De St. Cyr as the owner of lot 239. A Galveston land lease between H. De St. Cyr and Vital Goguely.
29 Financial Records, 1871.
Federal summons requesting Samuel Maas to court in the case of the United States vs. Frank W. Glenn and Others. A document of suit filed against Samuel Maas and others for failing to pay $50,000 to the Federal government.
30 Financial Records, 1872.
Lease agreement for H. De St. Cyr for land on Galveston Island. Letter from James H. Starr and Son, Bankers and real estate brokers.
31 Personal Papers, 1873;
Letter from J. L. Gaston to his or her brother reprimanding him for not writing and discussing the status of corn and cotton crops.
32 Financial Records, March-April 1874;
Checks written to E. Austin, T. M. Burroughs and others, signed by Samuel Maas.
33 Financial Records, 1896-1900;
Written agreement to advertise in The Galveston News, signed by Samuel Maas. Receipt for announcing the funeral of Samuel Maas in The Galveston News. Receipt for subscription payment to The Galveston Daily News. Max Maas' receipt for payment of dues to Camp Magruder.
34 Financial Records, Undated;
Directions for making liquor.
35 Personal Papers, Undated;
36 Personal Papers, Undated;