Gillespie County, Texas
|Gillespie County, Texas|
The Gillespie County Courthouse in Fredericksburg.
Location in the state of Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
1,061 sq mi (2,748 km²)
1,061 sq mi (2,748 km²)
21/sq mi (8/km²)
Gillespie County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 24,837. It is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Gillespie is named for Robert Addison Gillespie, who came to Texas in 1837. He was a Texas Ranger, an Indian fighter, a merchant and a soldier in the Mexican-American War. The seat of the county is Fredericksburg.
While the signers were overwhelmingly German immigrants, names also on the petition were Castillo, Pena, Munos, and a handful of non-German Anglo names.
History Timeline 
- Early native Americans are Tonkawa, Comanche, Kiowa and Lipan Apache.
- 1842 Adelsverein organized in Germany to promote emigration to Texas. Fisher-Miller Land Grant sets aside three million acres (12,000 km²) to settle 600 families and single men of German, Dutch, Swiss, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian ancestry in Texas.
- 1844 Henry Francis Fisher sells interest in land grant to Adelsverein.
- 1845 Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels secures title to 1,265 acres (5.12 km2) of the Veramendi grant, including the Comal Springs and River, for the Adelsverein. Thousands of German immigrants are stranded at port of disembarkation Indianaola on Matagorda Bay. With no food or shelters, living in holes dug into the ground, an estimated 50% die from disease or starvation. The living begin to walk to their destinations hundreds of miles away. 200 German colonists who walked from Indianola found the town of New Braunfels at the crossing of the San Antonio-Nacogdches Road on the Guadalupe River. John O. Meusebach arrives in Galveston. The first wagon train of 120 settlers arrive from New Braunfels. Surveyor Hermann Wilke lays out the town. Meusebach names it Fredericksburg, in honor of Prince Frederick of Prussia.
- 1847 Meusebach-Comanche Treaty. 150 settlers petition the Texas legislature to establish a new county, suggested names being "Pierdenales" or Germania. The Vereins Kirche becomes the first public building in Fredericksburg. It serves as a non-denominational church, school, town hall and fort. Locals refer to it as “The Coffee Mill Church” for its shape. Wilhelm Victor Keidel is the county's first doctor. Mormon leader Lyman Wight founds the community of Zodiac.
- 1848 The legislature forms Gillespie County from Bexar and Travis counties. They name it after Tennessee transplant Capt. Robert Addison Gillespie, a hero of the 1846 Battle of Monterrey in the Mexican-American War. Fredericksburg becomes the county seat. Fort Martin Scott is established at Barons Creek on a Pedernales tributary.
- 1850 An angry mob of soldiers burns down the store-courthouse destroying all County records. The melee apparently starts when County Clerk John M. Hunter, who also owns the store, refuses to sell whiskey to a soldier. Words are exchanged. Hunter stabs the soldier. 50 soldiers storm and burn the store, destroying all contents. Soldiers prevent townspeople from saving the county records.
- 1851 John O. Meusebach is elected to the Texas Senate to represent Bexar, Comal, and Medina counties.
- 1854 John O. Meusebach receives an appointment as commissioner from Governor Elisha M. Pease to issue land certificates to those immigrants of 1845 and 1846 who had been promised them by the Adelsverein. The Texas State Convention of Germans meet in San Antonio and adopt a political, social and religious platform, including: 1) Equal pay for equal work; 2) Direct election of the President of the United States; 3) Abolition of capital punishment; 4) “Slavery is an evil, the abolition of which is a requirement of democratic principles..”; 5) Free schools – including universities - supported by the state, without religious influence; and 6) Total separation of church and state.
- 1852 Bremen seaman Charles Henry Nimitz, grandfather of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, builds the Nimitz Hotel in Frederickburg. In 1870, he adds a steamboat shaped façade.
- 1861 Texas secedes from the Union, and joins the Confederate States of America. Gillespie County votes 400 -17 against secession from the Union. Unionists from Kerr, Gillespie, and Kendall counties participate in the formation of the Union League, a secret organization to support President Abraham Lincoln’s policies. Surveyor Jacob Kuechler is commissioned as a Captain by Sam Houston to enroll state militia troops in Gillespie County. Kuechler signs up only German Unionists in his frontier company, and is dismissed by Governor Francis R. Lubbock.
- 1862 Fifty-four Gillespie county men join the Confederate Army. Eventually 300 would enlist with the CSA to avoid conscription. The Union League forms companies to protect the frontier against Indians and their families against local Confederate forces. Conscientious objectors to the military draft are primarily among Tejanos and Germans . Confederate authorities impose martial law on Central Texas. Nueces massacre in Kinney County. Jacob Kuechler serves as a guide for 61 conscientious objectors attempting to flee to Mexico. Scottish born Confederate irregular James Duff and his Duff’s Partisan Rangers pursue and overtake them at the Nueces River. 34 are killed, some executed after being taken prisoner. Jacob Kuechler survives the battle. The cruelty shocks the people of Gillespie County. 2,000 take to the hills to escape Duff's reign of terror. Spring Creek Cemetery near Harper in Gillespie County has a singular grave with the names Sebird Henderson, Hiram Nelson, Gus Tegener and Frank Scott. The inscription reads “Hanged and thrown in Spring Creek by Col. James Duff’s Confederate Regiment.” 
- 1864 Kiowa raiders massacre residents of the McDonald farm in the Harper vicinity.
- 1865 Gillespie county suffers a war-time crime wave, as 17 individuals are convicted of murder.
- 1866 Treue der Union Monument ("Loyalty to the Union") in Comfort is dedicated to the Texans slain at the Nueces massacre. It is the only monument to the Union outside of the National Cemeteries on Confederate territory. It is one of only six such sites allowed to fly the United States flag at half-mast in perpetuity.
- 1870 Herman Lehmann and brother Willie are captured by Apaches, but Willie escapes within days.
- 1874-75 Andreas Lindig builds the county’s first lime kiln.
- 1878, May 12 - Herman Lehmann, escorted by soldiers, finally returns to his family.
- 1881 Gillespie County becomes the first county in Texas to hold a fair.
- 1882 Original Gillespie County Courthouse constructed. Later to become Pioneer Memorial Library.
- 1885 Chester W. Nimitz, future Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, is born in Fredericksburg. His father Chester B. Nimitz dies before his birth, leaving his seaman grandfather as role model.
- 1897, May 27 - John O. Meusebach dies at his farm at Loyal Valley in Mason County, is buried in the Marschall Meusebach Cemetery at Cherry Spring.
- 1908 Future President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson is born in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River.
- 1934 Gillespie County Historical Society is formed.
- 1938 Pedernales Electric Cooperative is formed to provide rural electrification 
- 1948 County begins annual Easter Fire event to commemorate the Meusebach treaty signing.
- 1960’s Lyndon Johnson becomes Vice President of the United States and subsequently President of the United States. His ranch at Stonewall becomes known as the Texas Whitehouse. Tourism becomes an important industry.
- 1966, February 20 - Chester Nimitz dies in California and is laid to rest at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
- 1967, February 24 - Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Memorial Naval Museum opens in the old Nimitz Hotel on Main Street in Fredericksburg.
- 1973, January 22 – Lyndon Johnson dies at his Stonewall ranch. He, and later Lady Bird Johnson, are laid to rest at the family cemetery on the ranch.
- 1976, May 8 - The Japanese Garden of Peace, a gift from the people of Japan, is dedicated on the 130th anniversary of the founding of Fredericksburg at the Nimitz Museum.
- 1981, September 1 - The state legislature places the Nimitz Museum under Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as The National Museum of the Pacific War.
- 1984 The State of Texas opens Enchanted Rock State Natural Area after adding facilities. That same year it is also added to the National Register of Historic Places,
- 2008, August 27 - The Texas White House officially opens to the public.
- 2009 The George H. W. Bush Gallery opens at the Nimitz museum.
Notable residents 
- President Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in Stonewall, in the eastern part of the county. The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, which includes much of the former president's LBJ Ranch, is located just outside of Stonewall.
- Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was born in a house that still stands on Main Street in Fredericksburg. Nimitz, who grew up in Fredericksburg and in nearby Kerrville, graduated from the United States Naval Academy, rose to the rank of Fleet Admiral and commanded the Pacific War during World War II.
- Betty Holekamp, German colonist and pioneer, lived on a 320-acre (1.3 km2) parcel near Fredericksburg.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,061 square miles (2,748.0 km2), virtually all of which is land.
Adjacent counties 
- Mason County - northwest
- Llano County - northeast
- Blanco County - east
- Kendall County - south
- Kerr County - southwest
- Kimble County - west
Major highways 
National protected area 
Texas Almanac: 1850-2010
As of the census of 2000, there are 20,814 people in the county, organized into 8,521 households, and 6,083 families. The population density is 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There are 9,902 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county is 92.82% White, 0.33% Native American, 0.21% Black or African American, 0.18% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 5.27% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. 15.90% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. In 1990 there were approximately 3,000 speakers of Texas German in Gillespie and Kendall counties, but this is believed to have declined in the last two decades.
There are 8,521 households out of which 25.90% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.10% are married couples living together, 7.00% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% are non-families. 25.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.38 and the average family size is 2.84.
In the county, the population is spread out with 21.60% under the age of 18, 5.50% from 18 to 24, 21.20% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 25.50% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 46 years. For every 100 females there are 89.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $38,109, and the median income for a family is $45,315. Males have a median income of $26,675 versus $20,918 for females. The per capita income for the county is $20,423. 10.20% of the population and 7.10% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.40% of those under the age of 18 and 9.90% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
|2004||George W. Bush|
|2000||George W. Bush|
|1948||Thomas E. Dewey|
|1944||Thomas E. Dewey|
|1932||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
Gillespie County is somewhat of an aberration in that it is a historically Republican county in a state that was overwhelmingly Democratic up until recent decades. This is largely due to the heavily German American heritage of the county (German Americans tended to be historically Republican-leaning). Gillespie County has been won by Republicans in every election since 1896 with only a handful of exceptions. Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party won the county in 1912 (but carried no other counties in the state). In 1924, it was one of only two Texas counties won by Progressive candidate Robert M. LaFollette. Gillespie County only backed the Democratic nominee in 1932 and 1964, both of which were landslide victories for the party, and has yet to do so again. In the last five Presidential elections no Democratic candidate has received more than 21% of the county's vote.
As part of Texas's 11th congressional district it is currently represented by Republican Mike Conaway. In the 26 years prior to this the 11th district had been represented by Democrats Marvin Leath and Chet Edwards. On a local level it is part of Texas Senate, District 24 and is represented by Republican Troy Fraser. It is also part of the 73rd district of the Texas House of Representatives and is represented by Republican Doug Miller who received the Taxpayer Advocate Award by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and the Champion for Free Enterprise Award from the Texas Association of Business.
Unincorporated places 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Gillespie County, Texas|
See also 
- German Texan
- Der Stadt Friedhof
- Fredericksburg Memorial Library
- History of Fredericksburg, Texas
- Gillespie County Historical Society
- List of museums in Central Texas
- Lower South Grape Creek School
- National Register of Historic Places Listings in Gillespie County, Texas
- Zion Lutheran Church
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- Kohout, Martin Donnell. "Gillespie County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Brister, Louis E. "Adelsverein". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Ramos, Mary G. "The German Settlements in Central Texas". Texas Almanac. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Indianola, Texas". Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Block, W T. "The Story of our Texas' German Pilgrims". Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Near River Crossing Used by New Braunfels' First Settlers - New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas". William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Smith, Cornelia Marshall; Tetzlaff, Otto W. "Meusebach, John O". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Kohout, Martin Donnell. "Fredericksburg, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Comanche Indian Treaty". William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Signers of Petition to Create Gillespie County December 15, 1847". Texas Gen Web. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Kohout, Martin Donnell. "Vereins-Kirche". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Spurlin, Charles D. "Gillespie, Robert Addison". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Brooks Jr, Paul R M. "Fort Martin Scott". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Angry soldiers burn Fredericksburg store, destroying early Gillespie County records". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Beverly, Travis Wooster. "Gillespie County Records Destroyed". Texas Gen Web. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Pease, Elisha Marshall at Find a Grave
- Biesele, R L; The Texas State Convention of Germans in 1854 (April 1930). The Southwestern Historical Quarterly. XXXIII (24).
- "Nimitz, Charles and Sophia". Der Stadt Friedhof. Gillespie County Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Kohout, Martin Donnell. "Nimitz, Charles Henry". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Nimitz Hotel". William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Moneyhon, Charles H. "The Union League". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- McGuire, James Patrick. "Kkuechler, Jacob". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Shook, Robert W. "Duff, James". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Spring Creek Cemetery". Texas Gen Web. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Tegener, Gus at Find a Grave
- "Site of the McDonald Massacre". William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Fugutives from Justice". Texas Gen Web. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Treue der Union Monument". Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "List of Dead-Treue Der Union Monument". Texas Gen Web. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Lehmann, Herman; Hunter, J Marvin; Giese, Dale F (1993). Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879: The Story of the Captivity and Life of a Texan Among the Indians. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-1417-8.
- Hudspeth, Brewster. "The Savage Life Of Herman Lehmann". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
- "Site of The Andreas Lindig Lime Kiln". William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Gillespie County Fair". Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Gillespie County Courthouse". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
- Potter, Elmer Belmont (2008). Nimitz. Naval Institute Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-59114-580-6.
- John O Meusebach at Find a Grave
- LBJ at Find a Grave
- "Gillespie County Historical Society". Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Wentsch, George. "Pedernales Electric Cooperative". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "History of the Easter Fires". Texas Less Traveled. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "President Lyndon B. Johnson's Biography". LBJ Library. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Nimitz at Find a Grave
- "Pacific War Museum". Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Kohout, Martin Donell. "Nimitz Museum". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- Kohout, Martin Donell. "Enchanted Rock State Natural Area". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Fisher Miller Colony Transfers". Texas General Land Office. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- U.S. Decennial Census
- Texas Almanac: County Population History 1850-2010
- The Death of Texas German in Gillespie County
- The New York Times electoral map (Zoom in on Texas)
||Mason County||Llano County|
|Kimble County||Blanco County|
|Kerr County||Kendall County|