Verein Zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas Records, 1842-1858
The Adelsverein, also known as the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas), and later as the German Emigration Company, was provisionally organized on April 20, 1842, by twenty-one German noblemen at Biebrich on the Rhine, near Mainz. The Adelsverein was composed of German noblemen whose intent was to settle emigrants on the Fisher-Miller Land Grant in Texas, but instead they became the founders of New Braunfels and Fredericksburg and ran up a huge debt that they were never able to repay.
The members of the Adelsverein hoped to solve some of the economic problems of the time and turn a profit for themselves while establishing an American trade base for Germany. After various attempts to secure land, the society finally acquired the Fisher-Miller Grant on the Llano River. Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels was sent to Texas in July 1844 as commissioner general for the society, and in December he received the first group of emigrants with whom he founded New Braunfels in March of 1845. Almost from the beginning the society was in financial trouble; and although Otfried von Meusebach, later called John O. Meusebach, who took over as commissioner general after the first year, was able to keep the settlement running and also to establish Fredericksburg in 1846, the noblemen themselves were never able to pay off their debts and suffered serious personal financial losses. Few of the emigrants ever claimed their land in the Fisher-Miller Grant; but after surviving the ordeal of the first two years, New Braunfels and Fredericksburg became thriving communities. New Braunfels had become the fourth largest city in Texas by 1850.
Source:Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Adelsverein," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/AA/ufa1.html (accessed June 2, 2010).
Correspondence, legal and financial records, and inventories comprise the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas Records, which document the society's operations. The materials are primarily in German. The records make up the portion of the Archiv Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, which went missing in Germany after 1931. They contain the records of Louis Becker, Louis Bene, P. Cappes, Count Castell, and Henry Fisher. Furthermore, the collection contains the sick books of New Braunfels and Fredericksburg and ship lists, as well as various financial and legal records.
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Verein Zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas Records, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center's "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
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