Winds of Change, Part II -The Travelers

View of Indianola by Helmuth Holtz, 1860, from aboard the Barque Texana.  Courtesy The San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston. (Click to enlarge)

Tucked into the rigging of the barque Texana, Helmuth Holtz sketched for us his view of Indianola, Texas.

Behind the town lies Powderhorn Lake. A tangle of bayous traces the beach front, hinting at future roads. The variety of vessels spread across the water is impressive, as are the wharves built to accomodate them.

To the left lies the Morgan Steamship Company wharf. By 1850, just a year after Indian Point became Indianola, Morgan’s company supported three sailings a week from Galveston and two from New Orleans. By 1860, the company had secured a monopoly on coastal shipping in Texas, and could provide everything a new town required: lumber and liquor from New Orleans; garden seeds from Long Island; dressmaking supplies from Baltimore.

Writing in Charles Morgan and the Development of Southern Transportation, James P. Baughman says:

The prospects of Texas continued to impress business men. Her vast hinterland, her numerous natural harbors, and her navigable rivers gave her special attractions to settlers and trade.
The commerce of the western Gulf was steadily increasing and diversifying. Receipts of cotton at the Texas ports jumped from 39,744 bales to 62,433 in the four years after 1848. By 1856 this figure climbed to 116,078 bales, and the 193,963 bales received in 1860 set an ante bellum record.
Besides cotton, Texas was producing and exporting increasing quantities of sugar, cattle and hides, lumber, pecans, and wool. Morgan, having firmly established himself as master of the New Orleans-Texas trade by 1850, increased his service in proportion to this new prosperity.  (p. 86)

A decade before Holtz recorded his 1860 view of things, the port was bustling. An 1852 publication, Texas in 1850, makes clear that Indianola had taken root.

The population is about five hundred. The town is increasing rapidly with every prospect and facility of future importance.
The United States Government, after very thorough examination, has removed all its business to this place from Port Lavacca. The government stores intended for San Antonio, Austin, Fredericsburg, Paso del Norte, and the upper frontier posts are now landed at Indianola. A large amount of shipping is done through its wharves to New Orleans and other ports.
Indianola, from its fine and accessible position on the main land, is destined to be one of the first commercial towns in Texas.

But more than commerce was at stake. According to the 1850 census, 95 percent of Texans lived in the eastern two-fifths of the state. By 1860, the state’s population had nearly tripled, but the overwhelming majority still lived in that region. The need for a gateway to the interior of sparsely-settled western Texas was clear, and Indianola, with its increasingly vibrant economy and increasing numbers of immigrants, seemed poised to fill that need.

The story of Indianola’s contribution to Texas settlement began, of course, with the Germans: the first group of European immigrants to reach Matagorda Bay in significant numbers.  After the German brig Johann Dethardt reached Galveston on November 23, 1844, she sailed on to Pass Cavallo, the entrance to Matagorda and Lavaca Bays. Additional ships followed in her wake, arriving at Matagorda on December 8, December 14 and December 20.

Naming the settlement Carlshafen in honor of Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, General Commissioner of the Adelsverein (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas) was a reasonable first step. Unfortunately, Prince Carl was more compelling as a romantic visionary than he was effective as an administrator. 

Lands believed to have been purchased for settlement were denied. Funds promised by the Verein never arrived from Germany. Accomodations weren’t merely inadequate, they were nonexistent. The Germans’ long journey toward a new and better life began to devolve into a heart-rending journey toward disaster.

Prince Carl agreed to lead the first wagon train from Indianola into the interior of Texas, but he chose to take leave of the settlers in Victoria. Before long, he resigned his position as head of the Verein and returned to Germany, leaving his replacement, Baron Otfried von Meusebach of Potsdam, to carry on.

When Von Meusebach arrived in Texas in the summer of 1845, his first task was to locate suitable land for settlement. Having helped to establish the new town of Fredericksburg, he returned to New Braunfels, only to receive news that thousands of additional immigrants were arriving in Galveston, prepared to move on to Indianola. Dr. Ferdinand Roemer, in Texas to document its geology at the behest of the Verein, had a keen eye for more than rocks. He noted the compounding problems in his Texas: 1845-1847:  

The spring of 1846 arrived, and with it the heat of a semi-tropical climate. About three thousand of the poor immigrants lay crowded on the sandy coast, without an adequate water supply and fuel, living in sod houses or tents which afforded no protection against the rain nor against the hot rays of the sun…  Malaria, bilious fever and dysentery soon became general, and the mortality increased with  alarming rapidity.
On the Old Cart Road (click to enlarge)

Attempts to resettle the immigrants away from the coast were complicated by several factors: poor weather, lack of money, and war with Mexico, which led to the military requisitioning carts and oxen which might otherwise have been used by the Germans.

Eventually, the rigors of coastal life, frustration, and sheer desperation set them on their way. For thousands, it ended tragically. Writing in the Galveston Weekly News on November 12, 1877, a survivor of that terrible trek from Indianola to New Braunfels recounted the experience.

When Baron Meusebach returned to the coast, he found that ships carrying 6,000 immigrants had unloaded at Indianola, for whose reception and transportation not the slightest preparation had been made. With no other shelter, these unfortunate victims lived in holes they had excavated in the ground, without roofs and without any drinking water except that that fell from heaven.
Meusebach had contracted with teamsters to take the immigrants inland to New Braunfels. Instead, the teamsters ran away to earn more money working for the U. S. Army. Their principal food was fish and wild ducks because none of them had brought guns capable of killing larger game.
For weeks the rains came, and for miles the marsh prairies were covered with knee-deep water. Immigrants suffered at first from malarial fever, and later, a kind of flux or dysentery which resembled cholera [thinned] their ranks. Hundreds of corpses were buried, only to be dug up by the wolves, and their bones were left dotting the prairie.
Finally the roads became passable, and those who were able started for New Braunfels on foot, leaving behind not only their weather-beaten household goods, but also their sick relatives. The route from Indianola to New Braunfels was strewn with the bones of these immigrants.
[Of special note] was a large, loaded wagon stuck in the mud. The bones of the oxen were still under the yoke, as were those of the driver and his family, scattered about on all sides of the wagon. Of the 6,000 immigrants who reached Indianola during that period of 1845-1846, no more than 1,500 ever reached New Braunfels, and fifty percent or more of the victims had died miserable deaths from starvation and disease.

 Although figures vary among accounts, Dr. Roemer agreed with the scale of the disaster:

It is certain that in the few summer months of the year 1846, more than one thousand out of four thousand German immigrants, who had come to Texas in the fall of 1845 under the protection of the Mainzer Verein, died, and not more than one thousand two hundred actually settled upon the land secured by the Verein. German immigration has not been able to recover from this terrible blow, and the number of immigrants from Germany has since been very small.

In time, conditions improved, and immigration increased. By 1900, 157,000 Germans resided in Texas. many of whom had traveled the “Old Cart Road” between Indianola and San Antonio.

The road took its name from the ox-carts which carried freight, immigrants, and military supplies through Texas for almost two centuries. Made entirely of wood and fastened with wooden pegs, the carts were long, as much as fifteen feet in length, and their wheels stood taller than a man. In those pre-silicon days, drivers greased their carts’ wheel hubs with prickly pear pads, to quiet the deafening squeak.

Ox-carts at Kerrville, Texas

Today, the Cart Road is strewn with more than German names. Reminders of early French and Spanish territorial ambitions and settlements abound, their missions and forts evoking a rich and storied past.

Near Goliad, the mission known as Nuestra Señora del Espiritu Santo  de Zuñiga has a travel history of its own. Established on Matagorda Bay in 1722, when that body of water still was known as La Bahía del Espíritu Santo,  the Mission honored Báltasar de Zúñiga, viceroy of New Spain. Its presidio, or fort — Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía — was built on the ruins of the settlement established by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.

Mission La Bahía ~ Goliad, Texas (click to enlarge)

Mission la Bahía and Presidio la Bahía remained at their original sites near Indianola for about four years, before being relocated in 1726 to the Guadalupe River. In 1749, they were relocated again, to the banks of the San Antonio.  Even there, in the midst of hackberry, cedar and oak, the walls of the mission evoke her earliest days near the waves of Espiritu Santo Bay.

The waves of La Bahía ~ Goliad, Texas (click to enlarge)

Not everyone traveling the Cart Road was a German immigrant, of course.

Angelina Bell Peyton and her husband Jonathan, Tennessee natives, arrived on the shores of Matagorda Bay in 1822, long before the days of Indianola’s founding. Traveling from New Orleans aboard the aptly-named Good Intent, they moved inland to San Felipe, unofficial capital of Stephen F. Austin’s colony, where they operated an inn and tavern.

After Jonathan’s death in 1834, Angelina found herself in Columbia, where she married a widower named Jabob Eberly. After their move to Austin, Angelina established another boarding house. One of her guests at Eberly House was Sam Houston, who refused to move into his official residence after being elected  to a second term as president of the Republic of Texas.

Houston was no fan of Austin, which he described as “the most unfortunate site on earth for a seat of government.” During his first term as president, he blocked plans to establish the capital there, but after Mirabeau B. Lamar replaced Houston as president in 1839, the central Texas plan was approved. Forty wagons carried government archives from Houston to Austin, setting the stage for Angelina Eberly’s role in the so-called Archives War.

Angelina Eberly, helping to preserve Texas archives (click to enlarge)

After re-election, Houston found his opportunity to move the capital back to the coast. According to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:

The Mexican army invaded Texas and took control of San Antonio, Goliad, and Victoria. The president called a special session of Congress to meet in Houston, arguing that Austin was defenseless against Mexican attack. He also ordered the secretary of state to remove the archives back to Houston.
The citizens of Austin were determined to prevent the move. They formed a vigilante “Committee of Safety” and warned the heads of government in Austin that any attempts to move the official papers would be met with armed resistance.

In December 1842, Houston decreed Austin no longer would serve as capital, and ordered Colonel Thomas I. Smith and Captain Eli Chandler to remove the archives from the town. When the rangers appeared with twenty men to do Houston’s bidding, the Austin vigilantes were unprepared. The archives were loaded into wagons and driven away, but not before Mrs. Eberly saw what was happening and fired a cannon, alerting her fellow citizens to the theft. 

Smith and Chandler fled, but on January 1, 1843, Captain Mark B. Lewis overtook the wagons at Brushy Creek, north of Austin. Chandler and Smith surrendered at gunpoint. The archives were returned to Austin, where they remained. Once the smoke had cleared, Austinites celebrated in true Austin style: with a New Year’s party. And today, Angelina Eberly’s statue stands on an Austin street as a reminder of one of the quirkier episodes in Texas history.

Angelina Eberly, innkeeper and heroine of the 1842 Texas Archive War. The statue, by Pat Oliphant, is located on Congress Avenue near 6th Street in downtown Austin. Photo by Carlos Lowry.

By 1846, Jacob Eberly had died, and Angelina once again was on the move. Traveling first to Port Lavaca, she leased Edward Clegg’s Tavern House, trading her cannon for the quieter joys of innkeeping. By 1851, she had retraced her steps to Matagorda Bay, where she kept a hotel at Indianola until her death on August 15, 1860.

Today, her marker stands at the edge of the tiny fishing community Indianola has become.

While the phrase “archives war” might pique a reader’s interest, the note that “her burial place and marker were destroyed in a flood in 1875” made me laugh. Though true enough, it’s also one of the more significant understatements in the history of historical markers. Given events of 1875, you might as well say, “As goes Angelina Eberly, so goes Indianola.”

But that’s another chapter, for another time.

(to be continued…)

For Part I, “Winds of Change: That Prescient Wave,” click here.  Comments are welcome, always.

88 thoughts on “Winds of Change, Part II -The Travelers

  1. Ok.. that opening image reflects dedication to one’s art and the art of recording for mankind the events of the day. I don’t think I’d climb up high and cling for life while sketching, but who knows!

    You also get high marks for bringing those moments back into the present. Am heading to lunch but have decided to stay in town one more day to ‘catch up’ before going home.

    more later!

    1. Well, Z ~ the “high point” of my sailing career was a trip into the rigging of the tall ship Elissa, and believe me, it was enough to snap some photos from up there. I can’t imagine sitting and sketching in the rigging, no matter the view. On the other hand, there were those crow’s nests. Maybe he was tucked in more comfortably than we imagine.

      In the process of writing this, I did find something I thought you’d find interesting: an article about the replenishment of Indianola beach. It’s not especially technical, but it has some good information about what worked and what didn’t. And, it has photos. While your beach front is different in some significant ways, it still might be useful.

  2. Georgia O’Keeffe climbed under her car to avoid some of the heat, so why not climb the rigging? (grin) The painting is amazing too when you think people got such a different view of the land. Most were never out on the water I suppose.

    So interesting to learn there was such a German immigration. I had not realized that.

    1. Kayti, Holtz sent his sketch to a lithography studio in Hamburg, Germany, to have it tinted. The additional information I found was, “Hamburg: Ed. Lang’s Lithographical Establishment.” Holtz apparently did only two American views: this one, and a view of Matagorda.

      If I understand the information in this page correctly, there are only four known copies of the Indianola view. One was sold in Austin in 2006 at a charity auction for the Texas State Historical Association, and brought in a very nice $30K.

      Not only were there Germans, the first Polish colony in the United States is in Texas. Italians helped build the railways, the Mexican vaqueros helped build the ranching business, and every sort of “character” showed up to help out. There’s a woman sculptor waiting in the wings I think you’ll like. She was going to make an appearance here, but I decided she really deserves her own post.

      1. You have a knack to titillate! I can hardly wait. I didn’t know about all the other migrations either. I do know that the largest colony of Poles now is in Chicago, which also houses a great variety of nationalities. It is also where the Polish Embassy is located.

  3. Oh what a read this is. Prickly pear pads used “to quiet the deafening squeak,” the waves of La Bahía delightfully captured in the structure of the fort and the character of Angelina Bell Peyton Eberly. I imagine the name Bell is her middle name and no relation to the Bells from TX. When Rick and I return to San Felipe de Austin I do want to look her up in the exhibits just as much as I do want to find that statue on Congress near 6th. Thank you for such a delightful and informative post. I loved it.

    You really bring the area and the time to life not only delightfully but soberly and seriously, too. The trail between Indianola and New Braunfels reads like the tragedy of the Oregon Trail with illness, death, and hardships due to the lack of accommodations as you point out and I bet a certain amount of corruption as well.

    btw Mark May 3 this spring on your calendar as many Texas Historical Commission sites will host a free of charge day that Sunday. I believe a new museum site is slated to open this June at San Felipe de Austin, at least that’s what I understood when Rick and I visited early this fall, but I see no mention of it on their website. I think it will take a visit to check out updated info.

    1. Georgette, it seems that Bell was her maiden name. I found this article in a 1933 volume of “The Southwestern Historical Quarterly” available from JSTOR. There’s free access to articles there now, but I think all you’d need is on the first page.

      I thought about Bell’s Landing, myself. The possibility of a connection is tantalizing. Angelina was from Tennessee. Josiah Hughes Bell, founder of East and West Columbia, Texas and one of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred, was born in Chester District, South Carolina, the son of John and Elizabeth Bell. His father died when he was five, and at age eleven he was apprenticed to two uncles in the hat business in Tennessee.

      And of course, there were Thomas and James Bell who immigrated from Florida, joined Austin’s colony and gave Bellville its name.

      I’m worn out with genealogy just now, but I can’t help wondering, especially since so many Bells were members of Austin’s Colony. The fact that Angelina and her husband ended up at San Felipe, and met Stephen F. Austin there, may not have been coincidence.

      May 3rd’s on the calendar. There are so many wonderful places to see — and we don’t even have to go by ox-cart!

    1. Well, Terry, you know how it is once you start down a path. You keep wondering what’s around that next bend in the road, and one thing leads to another.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it. It was wonderful fun to research and write, but there was some effort involved. Perhaps the hardest part was absorbing all the information, then trying to find a way to turn facts into a story. I remember being presented with history as a list of dates and places to be memorized. I don’t ever want to do that!

  4. Linda,
    What an amazing history you’ve given us. I cannot believe the research you’ve done on this. Can you believe how bone-grinding hard the life of a pioneer was? I think I’m too soft. Nothing would ever get settled or tamed or civilized if it depended on me. Send for me when the house has been raised and the curtains are adorning the windows. Who am I kidding? They probably didn’t have glass for the windows.

    Immigrants in Virginia before 1640 were from the marshes of southern and eastern England. They brought malaria with them. It was not an easy life. The remains of a young girl were excavated a couple of years ago at Jamestown. It appears that they partook in cannibalism. Hardy folks.

    1. I don’t think you’re nearly as soft as you imagine, Bella. In fact, I know you’re not. The challenges may be different, but we do what we have to do.

      I’ll admit to being happy I don’t have to make that Indianola-New Braunfels slog. On the other hand, many of those people were getting away from situations that seemed worse — at least they thought so when they left the Old Country. Who knows that they thought once they were camped out on the beach, fighting off gallinippers?

      I do think there were glass windows, at least in the towns. In Nebraska, where the soddy was all the rage, they’d sometimes use oiled paper. I wonder what they oiled it with? Lamp oil, maybe.

      Somehow I missed the young girl and the cannibalism at Jamestown. It was easy to find a clutch of articles, that’s for sure. The images of her are lovely. I bookmarked a couple of pieces to go back and read. One mentioned another woman, named Temperance Flowerdew. I hope she was tougher than her name.

  5. You know, I’m familiar with some of these names, but I had no knowledge of all these fantastic details. Linda, you’ve put researchers to shame by compiling this in such an interesting, concise manner!

    When I hear the stories of how many hardships our forebears endured, I can’t help but wonder how many of us today would go through what they did. We’ve become rather wimpy, don’t you think?!

    I’d never heard of those ox-carts, nor the prickly pear pads. How resourceful they were!

    Thanks so much for adding to my knowledge today.

    1. Debbie, I do think there are people in the world who would whine themselves to death if they suddenly were inconvenienced by — well, by anything. And there are far too many people who truly don’t know how to “do things”. Simple things, like rewiring a lamp, or changing a tire. Cooking from scratch. Writing a proper thank-you note. Setting a bone. Reading a map. Reading the skies. Knowing which is north, and which is south. Life skills, I think they used to be called. Any culture that sells frozen peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches at the grocery is on the way down.

      One of the things I’m learning is an old lesson I’d nearly forgotten since the internet rolled into town: primary sources rock. Many of the books I used for this piece are sitting on my desk, and many of the internet resources I found are scans of old documents or journal articles. I find I’m using Wikipedia less, and JSTOR more. It’s bringing back the pleasure of research.

      It tickles me so much that you described this as both interesting and concise. And I love that you discovered things you didn’t know about, like the carts and the prickly pear “grease.” Here’s to real creativity and innovation!

  6. So much history, You did a whole lot of research to write all of this. It is better than any history book. I see that some commenters were not aware of how many Germans came to Texas., My mother and her dad and siblings came in 1908. My mother was 12 years old and then she and the family returned to Germany when she was 16 yrs old. The siblings returned to Riesel area after WWI ended. There are many German towns in south and central Texas. I don’t see how any of those early settlers lived. The conditions were harsh beyond belief.

    This is history writing at its best.

    1. Oh, I don’t know, Yronne. There are some history books that are pretty compelling. History textbooks? Maybe not so much, especially these days. I just found out last night that some kids don’t even get history books in school any more. Everything is on the internet, and they all use their computers. I don’t approve of that, but I’m quite aware that no one cares a whit what I think.

      I didn’t know much about Germans in Texas until I started attending Lutheran churches. St. Paul’s in Giddings still has German language services, as far as I know, and there are churches in Houston which do as well. Say bi-lingual around here, and most people think of Spanish and English, but it’s not necessarily so.

      I recently learned that, when the Silesians who ended up in Panna Maria opened their school, they insisted that the teachers speak both Polish and English. If a potential teacher spoke only English, she had to learn Polish. (I say “she” because most of their teachers were Roman Catholic sisters.)

      Your mention of your family returning to Germany reminds me of something that keeps surprising me: how much traveling was going on. Angelina Eberly went back to Tennessee to visit multiple times. Some people moved between ports so often they might as well have been commuting. We talk about how hard it must have been, but the other side of it is that the introduction of the steamship, and the coming of the railroads, must have been their equivalent to our bullet trains and Southwest Airlines.

      I thought about you when I was writing this, since you’ve mentioned your German heritage. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      1. Linda, thanks so much for the added information. I always learn something new from your blog. And it is quite useful too.

        I had no idea that some churches were still having services in German. I’m going to do a post (if and when I get well) of the churches in my area that are of German, Czech and Spanish origins.

        I’m glad that those folks are keeping their heritage alive. But no history books. That is the absolute pits.


        1. I just did a quick skim and found several churches here in Houston that offer German services, too — at least at Christmas and Easter, if not on a regular basis. There are German educational programs here, too: language classes, particularly. It is great to see people maintaining their heritage with pride.

          I’d love to read more of your area one of these days. Even the simplest details about people’s life in the past are so interesting.

    1. Myra, I’m delighted you found your way here. I discovered and bookmarked your blog while I was doing research for this post, and very much enjoyed the pieces that I skimmed. I’ll be back.

      For years, I sailed into Port O’Connor, anchored at the Army Hole, and so on. Then, I discovered that my great-great-grandfather, who was with the 34th Iowa, served his Civil War time primarily in Texas and Louisiana. He got to Brazos Santiago, Pass Cavallo, and the Matagorda lighthouse long before I did.

      When I found out he’d been at Fort Esperanza, I thought, “What? What Fort Esperanza? Where’s that?” And they rest, as they say, is history. I’m looking forward to reading your explorations of it.


    1. Thank you, nia. Just as you record your days with your camera, many people recorded their days in journals and sketch books. It’s fun to explore the record they left us: their “word-pictures” of their time. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Those pioneers were a stoic bunch. The German settlers are of particular interest to me as all of my ancestors on my mother’s side were German. My grandmother Hart (Schafer) was first-generation American.

    The naming of “Old Cart Road” is interesting. The county in southern Ohio, where David and I grew up and also lived when our kids were young, has a road that was called Ox Road for the same reason. It’s known by another name now, and I can’t recall it, because everyone still uses the old name.

    Can’t wait to read the next installment!

    1. It’s funny how the mind works, Susan. You mentioned your grandmother, and when my eye fell on “Hart (Schafer)” I thought immediately of Hart Schaffner Marx. That has to come from the days when my dad still was alive, since my need for tailored menswear is minimal.

      It’s fun, too, to trace the various streams of immigrants through the naming of towns, or even through the churches. For German Lutherans and Scandinavian Lutherans, culture and ethnicity were as important as theology. I once knew a perfectly lovely German lady who would politely decline Swedish cookies and breads at the annual Christmas tree party. They just didn’t say “Christmas” to her.

      The cart-road between Indianola and San Antonio was a section of the famous Chihuahau Road, which wound farther west through Del Rio and Alpine before crossing the Rio Grande and heading to Chihuahua. There was a significant trade in silver from the mines there that also helped to establish Indianola as a port.

      Don’t you just know that stagecoaches must have seemed like the best thing ever to those people who traveled by ox-cart?

  8. I’d heard of the Archives War but didn’t know where the Austin party caught up with archive-laden wagons. Your mention of Brushy Creek sent me searching and I found this:

    In that part of what’s now Round Rock there’s a Kenney Fort Blvd., which crosses Brushy Creek:,+Round+Rock,+TX+78665/@30.5149964,-97.6296214,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x8644d05bb7019abd:0xa8bc358b6a1b1e66?hl=en

    1. Both the marker and the map are wonderful additions. Forty wagons filled with paper aren’t going to outrun (what I assume were) men on horseback.

      You’ve reminded me of a book a friend recommended to me, and which I promptly forgot about: “Why Stop? A Guide to Texas Historical Roadside Markers.” It’s wonderful fun discovering the markers as I travel, but sometimes they’re on the “wrong” side of the road, or the traffic’s bad, or I just miss them. It would be good to be able to see what I missed.

      I did see something at Indianola that answered a question I’d never thought of: how do you edit a roadside marker that contains inaccurate information? Here’s the answer.

      1. It’s good to hear that the Texas Historical Commission has a procedure for correcting mistakes in its markers. I don’t think I’ve ever run across one of those additions.

        I was aware of Why Stop?, and I can imagine a smartphone app that would provide the same (or much more) information based on the GPS coordinates reported by the phone.

        1. True enough, re: the app. But you can’t sit at home on a cold winter’s night, browsing the markers in a given area as you plan your next jaunt..

          It seems to me one of the greatest values of the book would be providing information on what’s of interest in an area that I don’t already know about. It’s a version of the search engine problem. We search for information about something we already know or are interested in. The search can be as narrow as the scientific name of an insect, or as broad as Illinois history. But we can’t search for something unknown: hence the value of the markers.

          I’ll know soon enough, since Amazon’s promised to deliver the book tomorrow.

          1. Ah, but a good programmer could design the app in such a way that you could sit at home on a cold night and still search for all the markers within a given distance of a certain location, or along a specified highway, or in a chosen county or region. As you launched a search you wouldn’t need to have any idea of the subjects on the markers, and much of the contents in the hits might well be new to you.

            At the same time, I’ll always retain my fondness for browsing the shelves in a good library and finding books about new aspects of familiar things, or even things I never knew existed at all.

  9. As others have commented, this is a wonderfully written and researched post, Linda. It breaks my heart though to hear of the dreadful suffering of some of the early would-be settlers. It also breaks my heart that we still don’t seem to know how to cope with the thousands who want to be immigrants, and the thousands, the world over, who make dangerous journeys in the hope of settling in lands that may, or may not, offer them a better future.

    1. I used to listen to the stories of a Texas woman whose grandparents came from Germany to Indianola. They walked across the prairie behind an ox-cart, to a place very near to Victoria.

      She spoke of the hardships they faced, but she always called them “difficulties.” And the point she liked to make was that, after all, they chose to board the ship and come here, knowing there were no guarantees. She was born in 1893, and even in her day, it was a pioneering life, with few guarantees.

      Like you, I’m touched by what people went through then, and what many go through now. But there are differences between refugees and immigrants, and one of the differences is choice. Granted, Germany was eager to reduce their population at the time of the Adelsverein, and Texas was eager for settlement. Nevertheless, the decision to go belonged to the ones who left, and I suspect their willingness to make that decision and strike out was very much a part of what we like to call “the pioneer spirit.” They knew they would be the ones responsible for making a better life in a new land, and they accepted that.

      I suspect that’s part of the reason I find their stories so compelling. My grandparents were immigrants, all of them, and they raised their children (and grandchildren!) to value freedom, hard work, risk-taking, and mutual support. All of them stand as reminders that the same values can lead to a better future today.

  10. Hi Linda, your commenter Bella expressed my sentiments for me – “…Can you believe how bone-grinding hard the life of a pioneer was? I think I’m too soft…” We have become so decadent. It is just incredible what hardships folk were prepared to endure for the promise of a new life, my Hebridean ancestors amongst them, whose progeny are scattered across the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.

    Thank you for all the work that’s gone into this exceptionally vivid and at times heartrending post. Carry on like this, and you will soon find your blog being referenced in PhD history theses…!

    1. Anne, I can’t imagine any PhD candidate referencing my blog. Not only that, if it happened, I might be more worried than pleased: academia being what it seems to be these days.

      Those wind-swept moors of your part of the world seem romantic to us, but I suspect a good bit of life there wasn’t romantic at all. Beyond the difficulties of daily life, though, I imagine your ancestors as being somewhat free-spirited, up for a little travel and willing to set sail just to see what was over the horizon. As Tolkien put it so nicely:

      “All that is gold does not glitter,
      Not all those who wander are lost,
      The old that is strong does not wither,
      Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

  11. Stories are history from primary sources – it’s such a shame kids don’t get to sit and listen to the stories. They’d remember and identify more with history if they did. Teachers like that are rare – and if the parents are too busy, they don’t travel much, or they are from somewhere else, history’s whispers are missed, and so much misunderstood.

    You did an excellent job revealing to many that German language and culture was/is very prominent in TX. What a tough bunch mentally and physically settled this area…probably one reason Texans typically are the mavericks in the herd.
    There were so many strong independent resourceful women here all the way back. A bit disturbing few are recognized nationally – by women’s groups and such….but it is fashionable to dismiss this state.

    Who were the Bells and what puzzle pieces are they? (Some in the family.) And since childhood I’ve wondered: what did they oil the window paper with? Butter? animal fat? cooking grease? Wouldn’t that just draw miserable flies and bugs?
    (Teachers were unmarried women – once married, it was thought they wouldn’t have time except for their own kids and families to do a good job of teaching….too distracted to do well once married.)

    Unlike you, I’m all for ditching the history textbooks – many of which are very poorly/boringly written with always changing focuses. Facts are facts and readily available. Primary sources preferred, but a chance to teach where to find solid info and how to sift through the flaky info…of course that all rests on the abilities/interest of the classroom teacher. Is JSTOR free these days? It used to cost.

    Great post – can’t wait to read more!

    1. Phil, it looks to me like there was a great influx of Bells during the time of Austin’s colony and just after, and even the ones I mentioned who came from Florida (Bellville) have Tennessee connections. My hypothesis is that Angelina Bell and her husband went to San Felipe because they had family already there. Proving or disproving that is another matter, of course, but there it is, on my to-do list.

      Before I forget, yes: JSTOR is free now. There are certain limitations — as I recall, you can keep up to three articles on your shelf for up to a month — but once you’re done with an article and have removed it, you can add another. They also have a twitter account and biweekly email you can subscribe to.

      My comment about the textbooks was related more to the move to all-online sourcing. I’d be thrilled to see more original sources used, too. I bought Roemer’s “Texas” initially because of his observations about the flora and fauna here, but once I read it, I realized that the history he recorded is equally compelling. There are so many good resources, especially those held in various libraries and institutions. Yes, it takes some effort to access them, but there they are, just waiting.

      I have bumped up against a few schoolmasters as well as schoolmarms (there’s an oldie but goodie term!), but I think you’re right that women predominated. One of my great-aunts taught in a one room school. I finally tracked it down, and have a photo of it. Those schools were small, but often quite effective.

      1. Have you read J. Frank Dobie’s books? He taught at UT when my mom was there. Have a few autographed copies. Great stories – but may not be read as much any more.

        My dad went to a one room school house. Considering all his siblings went on to college and higher degrees, it was an effective classroom…they did lots of Shakespeare. There are still a few of those one room school houses around – Wyoming, I think has a few – CBS Sunday morning show did a segment on them fairly recently,

        When JSTOR started they were haunting all the research depts trying to get their published articles and charging. Glad it’s opened up – will explore! Thanks

        1. Dobie’s on the shelf. His mother carried the same name as one of my grandmothers – Ella. The only other Ella I’ve met in real life was Ella Real Fisher, wife of Felix Fisher — of the Fisher-Miller land grant.

          Have you been to the schoolhouse museum here in League City? It’s very nice. I’m glad the saved the school in Kemah after Ike, but it’s more of a community center than a true link to past schooling.

          I understand paywalls, but as more and more newspapers, journals and magazines slip behind them, it’s a bit of a problem in terms of cost. Better to go read the NYT and such at the library. After all, they have wonderful, comfy chairs.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, snowbird. I had to laugh at your name. This is the time of year when the Texas highways fill with travelers from the cold states farther north. We call them snowbirds, too — they migrate down after the holidays, and don’t go back until the drifts are gone.

      Thanks so much for visiting, and for commenting. You’re always welcome.


      1. Goodness me….that has me smiling! That’s the fascinating thing about blogging, you get to discover the most unusual things! I shall most certainly be back!xxx

  12. One thing you don’t think about is the difference in climate between where the German settlers came from and where they ended up in Texas. Prussia (Northern Germany) is up on the Baltic Sea, at about the same latitude as Newfoundland, Canada. Bavaria (in southern Germany) is at the same latitude as Nova Scotia, Canada. The Gulf Coast of Texas is at the same latitude as Algeria. The land is low-lying, swampy in many cases, and the climate is hot, rainy, humid and subtropical. Houston, Texas’ average high temperature in winter is 62F. Munich’s (Bavaria) average high temperature in summer is 64 F. Houston averages 99.6 days with high temperatures of 90°F or more. Add in an average of 49.7 inches of rain a year and in summer it’s like living in a steam bath.

    While the German settlers were no strangers to cholera, diphtheria, measles, and typhoid (and probably brought these diseases with them), they had not previously been exposed to malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever.

    The hot, humid climate of the Gulf Coast is debilitating to healthy people who are not used to it, and especially debilitating to those weakened by insufficient access to a supply of potable water and wholesome food, and lack of shelter from the elements. It’s a wonder more of them didn’t die than did. One of the smartest moves the German settlers made was to move inland, away from the swampy mosquito-riddled coast.

    Oh, and something else those early German settlers in Texas were not used to: Hurricanes.

    1. You’re so right about the differing climates, WOL. Even for someone just coming from Iowa, Houston was remarkably different. Why Sam Houston thought keeping the capital down on the bayou was such a good idea, I’ll never know. There’s a reason people here go to Colorado in August.

      As a matter of fact, some of the sources I found mentioned that even the steamship companies reduced their sailings to Indianola and Corpus in the summer, and commerce slowed considerably. It wasn’t any more pleasant then than it is now.

      And yes, ma’am — the climate can be debilitating to even the healthiest people. I think it was summer before last that even the youngest and healthiest in my world began to droop. Between about two and six in the afternoons, you’d rarely see anyone on the docks. It just was too hot and humid. And sailling in August? Spare me. No one wants to be out on glassy water with no wind.

      As for that other weather phenomenon: yes. Yes, indeed. But they learned, didn’t they?

  13. Shades of Matilda Newport with the cannon, Linda. Thanks for this bit of history. I never knew that Germans were early colonists in Texas, or the disaster they faced. Who gets the capital was a battle fought in a number of states. As for what the early colonists needed— liquor and lumber, that seems to sum it up. :) –Curt

    1. If you hadn’t stopped by, Curt, I was going to have to go beat the bushes to find you. I suspect you’ll get more than a few chuckles out of this, which seems to be real. Well, as far as the IPO is concerned, anyway.

      The best part of the Matilda Newport story is that she supposedly lit the cannon with the pipe she was smoking. It’s too bad they took her day away from her after a century or more. I wonder if she has it back, now? For that matter, I wonder if the cannon’s still up on Ducor Hill, or if it disappeared during the chaos.

      I spent some time reading through ships’ manifests, newspaper ads, and such, and really was surprised by the kinds of merchandise that was being shipped around. But lumber and liquor: no question. Too bad they didn’t have some mosquito repellant, too!

      1. Amazing how deep I had to dig to find your blog, Linda. :) It doesn’t pay to get a few days behind, does it.

        I have an excuse, however, I was attending a Big Foot Lecture. For true, as they would have said in Liberia. It was sponsored by the local genealogical society… go figure on that one. Anyway, Doug Devine runs a surveying company that gets into some really strange stuff, like analyzing Big Foot videos to determine their legitimacy. He started by saying he began as an absolute doubter. Not so much anymore. (grin)

        I think I wouldn’t invest in the IPO however.

        As for Matilda, I understood why the ALs appreciated her. But I was empathetic with my students. Never did see the cannon. Now that would have made an interesting blog.

        I always appreciate your in depth research on the pieces you write. There is always something new to learn. —Curt

        1. Oh, I was just making reference to wanting to get that link to you ASAP. I knew you’d be interested, being the connoisseur of the quirky and weird that you are. By the time I got done reading — and laughing — I knew you had to see it, whether through a comment section or an email.

          I hope beyond hope we’ll get a story about that Big Foot lecture. I don’t have a clue what, if anything, is roaming around out there, but the people who believe there’s “something” are as interesting as Big Foot himself.

          I suppose we shouldn’t leave Molly Pitcher out of the list of ladies-who-shoot-cannons. I’d nearly forgotten her, the Battle of Monmouth, and all that. The comment attributed to her, after a cannon or musket ball tore off the bottom of her skirt, is priceless: “Well, that could have been worse.”

          1. Not sure I have enough to turn the Big Foot lecture into a blog… Maybe if I could get some of the video footage used. Big foot running through the woods is always fun. :)

            Molly Pitcher definitely. And having had ancestors cut in half during the Revolutionary war by cannon balls, it certainly could have been worse. I need to run that blog again one of theses days.


  14. Interesting stuff. Angelina and Jonathan Peyton were first cousins (her maiden name was Peyton) and were likely both cousins of mine, although I don’t see any resemblance.

    I don’t know if it’s true, but I recall reading (or hearing) that when the Republic of Texas was choosing an official language, German (not Spanish) was the runner-up to English. I once had excellent barbecue at Kruez Market in Lockhart and I recall learning some of the Texas German heritage on that visit. Fascinating stuff. Culture is like an ever-changing stew it seems.

    1. That is interesting, Bill. None of the sources I found, including this one, suggested the first-cousin relationship, or that her maiden name was Peyton. Is there somewhere I can find that information?

      I’ve never heard that about German being the runner-up to English. Of course, to this day, Texas doesn’t have an “official language,” so there’s that. But I do remember hearing stories about German-as-official-language, and it might have been about the nation rather than Texas. I found this:

      “There is a popular legend that German almost became the official language of the United States. This notion has been popularized by German authors of travel literature since the 1840s. According to the so-called “Muhlenberg legend,” a vote was taken in the Pennsylvania state parliament sometime in the 1790s on whether German should be the official language. Apparently the Speaker of the House, a German-American by the name of Frederick A. Muhlenberg, cast the decisive vote for English and against German. In reality, this presumed proposition was never brought to the floor and a vote was never taken.

      “The historical origin of this legend might have been a failed attempt in Congress in 1794, based on a petition of German residents of Augusta Co., Virginia, to have “a certain proportion” of the laws of the United States printed in German as well as English. A year later, the petition was denied by Congress by a vote of 42 to 41″

      So maybe it’s your state that was the source of the legend!

      As for Lockhart and Kreuz, you got some of the best. More than a few times I’ve left I-10 and bypassed Luling to go on up to Lockhart. There’s never a bad time for barbeque.

        1. Well, look at that. That Payton-Peyton joining no doubt is the reason for a good bit of confusion in many sources. Who was the “Bell” who was listed there? The person who officiated? But were they cousins? The names are spelled differently. Is that another error? Or were the Paytons and Peytons related?

          No wonder my friends who get involved in genealogy disappear for months at a time.

          1. That was common of spellings in those days. Peyton is often rendered Payton. Jonathan’s father (Ephraim Peyton) and Angelina’s father (John Peyton) were brothers. Google “Peyton’s Tavern” and you’ll find more. You can probably also turn up family lore about why the Peytons left Tennessee. Who knows how much of it is true.

    2. I just found information about Angelina being a cousin to her husband in the Handbook of Texas Online.

      And, I found how I missed that article in the beginning. The spelling of her name is “Bell” on the historical marker, and that’s what I used to search. But, in the TSHA article, it’s spelled “Belle,” which suggests it’s a middle name. It’s interesting that there’s a discrepancy between two “official” sources. But I still haven’t found anything suggesting her maiden name was Peyton. Now I’m even more interested. Any information you have would be welcomed.

  15. I really enjoy drawings (etchings, paintings etc) or photographs that show the view of an area before development. When one compares how things have changed over the years it really is remarkable. Mr. Holtz has done us a great service, at risk of life and limb, to render this view for posterity.

    1. Steve, you might like to see the Library of Congress holdings of Holtz’s print. There are two colored versions, and one black and white. It’s interesting to compare them.

      I’d say you put your own life and limb at risk from time to time, while you’re prowling around all that ice and water. Still, it’s often worth seeking a different point of view, just for the sake of the new details it reveals. One thing’s for sure — Holtz’s drawings are nearly as good as a photograph for understanding what things were like at the time.

      There is one detail in his sketch that deserves its own post. See if you can find it in the lower right quadrant of the enlarged version — near the steamboat.

      1. I am not sure which detail you are speaking of. But I see a floating log, some water fowl, a sailboat with two different colored flags and a bad reflection of the thin pier…did I hit it on one of those? I also noticed that all three copies have the same hair (?) or some other defect along the right edge along with other lines so that would testify to the condition of the original.

        Since I tend to revisit a lot of my favorite locations, finding different viewpoints is essential. Sometimes it requires some walking around and often that is coupled with improved composing abilities.

        1. You spotted “it”, but “it” isn’t waterfowl. It’s something else, that will have its own post down the road.

          We’ve got sunshine here for the first time in days and days. It’s varnishing time again!

          1. I actually downloaded the tiff and when I blow it up, that sure does look like a goose or swan…unless you mean the floating snag? Anyway, I will just look forward to you third installment.

            No sun here, but falling snow. This will be our first real snowfall of the season. I am considering a ride to look for a landscape with snow flakes, but I am no longer keen on driving in the snow so may wait and hope for some remaining in the trees tomorrow. I don’t always risk life and limb. :-)

  16. Well, as always, boatloads of history so well told and cited (no pun intended!). And I love your illustrations — they’re really beautiful.

    But what I loved most about this post is the story of Angelina. What a remarkable woman — she’s the stuff of which mini-series are made, for her story is far to complex for just a movie! And reading the comments about her are also very interesting. Linda, if you’re looking for a book to write, you may have found it!

    1. The first thing I have to do, Jeanie, is sort out the details about Angelina to my satisfaction. The contradictions I’ve found in the information about her aren’t hugely significant, but still… I’d like to have things straightened out, in my own mind if nothing else.

      I don’t think Texas has more strong women than any other part of the country, but we have our share. Do you remember the CBS miniseries back in the 90s, called “True Women”? A friend gave me a book this week that she says tells the stories of the “true women” the novel, and then the series, was based upon. I’m anxious to look at it and see who they were.

      The good news with this series of posts (one yet to come) is that the weather’s been terrible, so I’ve had plenty of time to research. The more I got into this, the more in awe I became of people who produce real books. On the other hand, I remember the days when I thought a thousand words was almost unattainable. These days, I can’t seem to shut up. :-)

    1. I love the thought of people caring enough about their heritage to defend its records. As for that statue — I’d say the sculptor captured Angelina’s strength perfectly. The name “Angelina” easily could evoke a delicate Southern belle, but given what we know of her life, I’d suspect those forearms fit the bill.

      1. Had to go back now and look at those forearms. Yes, indeed. I love the way the statue captures action and determination, not generically, but with particularity. There’s a truly individual personality captured here, and yes, she sure wasn’t a delicate Southern belle! There are very few statues that capture even an aspect of someone well. One that comes to mind is this one of Eleanor Roosevelt, capturing her thoughtful, contemplative side, yet, when I look at it, I also sense an outward-looking contemplation, rather than inward, as in “what makes sense to do next?” Another statue I love is this one of Gertrude Stein, which, serendipitously, came up in my search as part of a post about statues of women in NYC:!

        1. Both of those are wonderful. I especially like Eleanor Roosevelt. I thought it was such an interesting point, that most of the female statues in New York are fictional characters. Nothing wrong with that, but it is good to see some really fine public art emerging.

          Interestingly, I have a Texas woman waiting in the wings who was, herself, a sculptor. She wasn’t the best, but she was prolific, and a writer as well. Even better, on any 1-10 quirkiness scale, she tops out at about a 12. You’ll like her as much as I do.

  17. Interesting to hear this bit about Austin, which I hope to visit one day. I hear it is an amazing city. i have a colleague, whose daughter just began a job there with Lutheran Social Services (I may not have gotten that quite right). Looking forward to part three… Allen

    1. If you ever visit Austin, we’ll have to have a cup of coffee. I used to spend quite a lot of time there when it was the home of the Texas-Louisiana Synod, and always enjoyed it.

      Lutheran Social Services is a fine agency, and it’s a good place to land. I suspect your colleague’s daughter will find the work gratifying. She’ll probably have some stories to tell, too.

      Even WordPress goes to Austin — they were there at the South by Southwest event last year, and maybe before. No SXSW for me, but there’s plenty more to see and do. Right now, there’s a Part III to finish!

  18. I’ve been doing a leisurely stroll through your archive and have now brought myself up to date.

    One thing I can say for sure: it’s no surprise you are enamored of your adopted state. Texas history is so quirky and colorful, with a cast of characters that would be hard to beat.

    1. You’re right about the quirky characters, Gué. And we’re pretty equal opportunity about them, too: male, female, black, white, Latino — whatever. Not only that, the state is filled with story-tellers: the old-fashioned sort, who can spin a yarn without depending on shock value or deplorable language to keep your attention.

      One of the biggest decisions I have to make is whether to send myself back up to Iowa to be buried in the family plot, or go away and have my ashes interred in my Texas plot. Shoot, that thing isn’t far at all from the old cart-road. And it’s got an oak tree. What’s not to like?

  19. Did not realize the number of German’s that settled (and or died) in those early days. I have German Immigrant roots as well on my dad’s side. Can’t imagine the incompetence and angst that awaited those poor people that, after several weeks @ sea in a sailing ship. just wow.

    Those 2 wheel carts caught my eye. There was a similiar type of cart used by some Scottish settlers in our area that traveled 1000 miles from Red River area of Canada along the the Mississippi back in 1838. As a local history lover, I enjoyed this snapshot of life back in the day…as my grandpa used to say, “Ha…the good old days…you can have them.” DM

    1. Many people are surprised by the German heritage in Texas, DM, just as they’re surprised at the mix of nationalities represented here. I was surprised when I learned recently about an area of the state that clings to its Swedish heritage. I didn’t have a clue.

      I did a double-take when I read “Red River.” I always think of the river that divides Oklahoma and Texas, even though I well remember the flooding on that northern Red River a few years ago. I was surprised by your mention of Scottish settlers, too. But, look! There’s a central Iowa chapter of the Scottish Heritage Society in Des Moines.

      Generally, I’m with your grandpa. The so-called good old days had some real issues from time to time. On the other hand, even though I’m as fond of electricity, automobiles, the internet, and modern medicine as the next person, there was a lot that was good about those earlier times. It’s certainly amazing to ponder the fact that all these events took place only a century-and-a-half ago, roughly speaking. That I should have talked with people whose parents and grandparents arrived and/or lived in Indianola just amazes me.

  20. Thank you for penning this interesting photo essay detailing the stories of the suffering of the early German settlers. They literally scratched an existence from those barren lands that have morphed today into prosperous cities. Its important to revisit the stories of our early colonial past – and to tell the tales of the settlers whose lives somehow articulate them. Hats off to all of them. Brave folks they were!

    1. One of the questions I occasionally ponder is how the values and personal qualities that allowed so many immigrants to establish themselves in a new, difficult land, seem to have eroded across our society as a whole. Of course there are individuals, and even communities, where the values of self-reliance, hard work, support for those in need, and risk-taking still are in evidence. But there are fewer all the time.

      The dangers may change, but the world’s a dangerous place in every era. Acknowledging that, and then choosing to deal with it, is a brave thing to do. It is good that we have these guides from the past.

  21. What amazing history! Wouldn’t you love to have stayed at Angelina’s inn and listened to her recount of the “archive wars”? Yeah, me too! I almost didn’t make it past the first image. What a magnificent rendering of what he could see from his perch. I love everything about that drawing, boats, bayous, lake, and those docks/piers!!!! Wonderful stuff, Linda!

    1. Thanks, BW. I have a feeling one reason Angelina stayed an innkeeper is that she enjoyed her guests as much as we enjoy hearing the stories about her. Clearly, she was well-connected, and there’s no telling which figures of Texas history stayed with her. Sam Houston did, so there were others.

      I wonder if any guest registers or other records from those inns still are around. I haven’t turned up any, but they’d make wonderful reading. I have found one for the Colorado House, which was across the bay at Matagorda. It’s such fun to read down the list and find names like “Capt. Fish, Schooner Mystic, New York.”

      Looking at Matagorda today, it’s hard to imagine great balls being given at the Colorado House. Holtz did a drawing of Matagorda once he returned to Germany. I think I’ll try to tuck the Colorado House into the next post.

      Happy sunshine and warm!

  22. I enjoyed reading this history. I especially enjoyed reading about Angelina and the Archive Wars. Somehow I never expected to see the words “Archive” (which somehow seems like such a sedate, dusty term) combined with the word “War”.

    1. That was my reaction exactly, Sheryl. The phrase brought to mind spit-ball wars amidst the filing cabinets. (In this grand new cyber-world, I wonder if school kids even shoot spit-balls any more? Do they ever use paper? Surely they do.)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. Clearly, we’re both learning a little about how to dig around in the past.

    1. Thank you, Otto. There are wonderful histories wherever there are people, as you well know. There are sad, dramatic, and otherwise remarkable histories, too, as there was for poor Indianola. That will come in part three, in which the town is swept from the map!

  23. Dear, tiny-waisted Angelina – hair coming loose, firing up that cannon! How the Knickerbockers on the East coast would be horrified!

    I believe she would have made the perfect innkeeper – not just the innkeeper’s wife, making sure the tankards were clean, peeking from behind the husband’s shadow – but a real Innkeeper. I can see her, sleeves rolled up, elbows on the counter, sharing drinks with the clientele, giving as good as she got. Boisterous, laughing, full of stories and audacity: her inn must have been the talk of the town!

    And even when running a hotel, she would have run it with a fist of iron, gruff but friendly with guests and help alike. (perhaps she would have invited the servants helping dish dinner to pull up a chair for some stories and after-meal liquor?)

    1. Aubrey, you see Angelina much as I do. More than once, the word “Chaucerian” has come to mind when thinking about her.

      Clearly, she was well-connected. But those connections weren’t the reason she succeeded, any more than they were her support when the time came to move on and begin anew. I was fascinated by the fact that she ended up at Indianola after her time in Austin, consorting with the powerful. She didn’t go back to Tennessee, she returned to the Texas coast, where her Texas adventures began.

      I understand that, too. I can see a version of our kitschy modern placard hanging behind her bar, saying,”I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could.”

  24. I’m always thinking, “When I have more than a few scrappy moments to savor Linda’s post, I’ll sit down and read them and comment.” I think I’ve been thinking that for weeks now!

    So interesting the histories of early settlers. I had no idea about the thousands upon thousands who came to Galveston and Indianola and their sufferings.

    (And let me answer your question about the lemons — I just grow the standard Eureka since my aunt who’s six miles away has the Meyers covered. They’re a bit too sweet for general culinary uses and I didn’t have room for both.)

    1. Nikkipolani, when I was writing this post I found myself wondering if your German students knew anything of this history. Along with the thousands of people who came seeking to establish themselves in a new country, there were German scientists, artists, and curiosity seekers who came, recorded, and then returned to Germany to report their findings. It still surprises me how much coming and going there was when travel by ship, ox-cart, buggy and horseback were the only options.

      I’m glad you have both of the lemons available. I like the Meyer for lemonade and desserts, but I agree that, for other dishes, a tarter lemon is better.

      Happy weekend!

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