Sisterdale, Texas

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Sisterdale, Texas
Sisterdale2.JPG
Sisterdale, Texas is located in Texas
Sisterdale, Texas
Sisterdale, Texas
Location within the state of Texas
Coordinates: 29°58′23″N 98°43′15″W / 29.97306°N 98.72083°W / 29.97306; -98.72083Coordinates: 29°58′23″N 98°43′15″W / 29.97306°N 98.72083°W / 29.97306; -98.72083
Country United States
State Texas
County Kendall
Elevation 1,280 ft (390 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 25
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 830
FIPS code 48-68060[1]
GNIS feature ID 1347179[2]

Sisterdale, Texas, is an unincorporated farming and ranching community, established in 1847 and located 13 miles (21 km) north of Boerne in Kendall County, in the U.S. state of Texas. The community is located in the valley of Sister Creek.[3] The current 2010 population is 25. Elevation 1,280 feet [4]

Community[edit]

Sisterdale[5] was settled in 1847 by German surveyor and free thinker Nicolaus Zink.[6] Originally part of Comal, Sisterdale became part of Kendall County when the latter was formed in 1862.

Among the settlers were German pioneers Fritz and Betty Holekamp,[7] geographer Ernst Kapp;[8] Anhalt Premier progeny[9] Baron Ottmar von Behr;[10] journalist Dr. Carl Adolph Douai;[11] August Siemering[12] who later founded the San Antonio Express News; author, journalist and diplomat Dr. Julius Fröbel; future Wall Street financial wiz Gustav Theissen;[9] and Edgar von Westphalen,[13][14][15] brother to Jenny von Westphalen who was married to Karl Marx.[16]

The first child born in Sisterdale (and in Kendall County) was Julius Holekamp on June 10, 1849 to Fritz and Betty Holekamp.[17]

One notable early colonist was Edward Degener, future Republican U.S. Representative from Texas during Reconstruction. Degener's sons Hugo and Hilmar died during the Nueces massacre. To honor their memory, Degener along with Eduard Steves and William Heuermann, purchased land for the establishment of the German-language Treue der Union Monument, which became part of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Texas November 29, 1978.[18]

Also among the settlers was a member of the German Chambers of Deputies Julius Dresel (or Dressel),[9][19] who was the first to plant a Sisterdale vineyard. His brother Emil Dresel and partner Jacob Gundlach later established the Rhein Farm Vineyard in Sonoma, California. Julius later moved to San Antonio. Upon the death of brother Emil, who bequeathed Julius his share of the Sonoma vineyard, Julius moved his family to California.

The community received a post office in 1851, and Ottmar W. Behr was the first postmaster.[20]

Sisterdale eventually had a school house, a gas station-garage, a general store, a cotton gin, and a factory for making cypress shingles. The old 1885 cotton gin in Sisterdale has been restored and is today home to the Sister Creek Vineyards.[21]

Free thinkers[edit]

Sisterdale was one of the Latin Settlements, resulting from the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. Those who came were Forty-Eighters, intellectual liberal abolitionists who enjoyed conversing in Latin and believed in utopian ideals that guaranteed basic human rights to all.[9] They reveled in passionate conversations about literature, music and philosophy.[22]

The free thinkers petitioned the Texas Congress in 1853 for a charter to operate a German-English college to be built at Sisterdale, but the petition did not come to fruition.[23]

Irene Marschall King, granddaughter of John O. Meusebach remembered how her grandfather enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of visits to Sisterdale[22] where a man of his aristocratic background could relate to such cultured free thought discourse, and where the air filled with concert music, singing, dancing and an ambiance of general Gemutlichkeit.

In 1853, August Siemering was elected Secretary, and Ernst Kapp the President, of the freethinker abolitionist organization Die Freie Verein[24] (The Free Society),[25] which called for a meeting of abolitionist German Texans [26] in conjunction with the May 14, 1854, Staats-Saengerfest (State Singing Festival) in San Antonio. Wilhelm Victor Keidel was elected Vice President of the convention, which adopted a political, social and religious platform,[27] 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.

One of the most tragic episodes in the history of Kendall County happened in 1862 after Texas joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy considered the free thinkers of Sisterdale and like communities to be a threat.[26] A number of Kendall County Germans became conscientious objectors to the military draft. Confederate authorities reacted by imposing martial law on Central Texas. Sixty-one conscientious objectors attempted to flee to Mexico. Confederate irregular James Duff [28] and his Duff’s Partisan Rangers pursued them. At the Nueces River, thirty-four were killed, and some executed after being taken prisoner. In 1866, Kendall County erected the Treue der Union Monument ("Loyalty to the Union") monument[29][30] dedicated to the German Texans slain at the Nueces massacre.

Darmstadt Society of Forty[edit]

Some of the early settlers in Sisterdale migrated from the collapsed Fisher-Miller Land Grant experimental colonies of the Darmstadt Society of Forty.

For more details on this topic, see List of Darmstadt Society of Forty.

Sisterdale Valley District[edit]

Sisterdale Valley District
Sisterdale12.JPG
Location SR 1376, Sisterdale, Texas
Area 2,893 acres (1,171 ha)
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 75001996[31]
Added to NRHP January 8, 1975

The Sisterdale Valley District is a 2,893-acre (1,171 ha) historic district in Sisterdale, Texas that was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It included 15 contributing buildings and six other contributing structures.[31] The historic buildings include an 1890s dance hall.[32]

Various sources discuss Sisterdale.[33][34][35][36][37]

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Additional reading[edit]

  • Haarman, Viola; Conzen, Michael P (2000). "The Clash of Utopias: Sisterdale and the Six-Sided Struggle for the Texas Hill Country". Cultural Encounters with the Environment. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 39–58. ISBN 978-0-7425-0105-8. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Sister Creek from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  4. ^ "Geographical Names Information System, Sisterdale". U.S. Dept of the Interior. Retrieved 30 April 2010.  U.S. Dept of the Interior
  5. ^ Syers, Ed (18 October 1964). "Sisterdale Just Spread Out". The Victoria Advocate. 
  6. ^ Ragsdale, Crystal Sessie: Zinc, Nicolaus from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  7. ^ Morgenthaler, Jefferson; The German Settlement of the Texas Hill Country; 2011
  8. ^ Jordan, Terry G.: Kapp, Ernst from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  9. ^ a b c d Scharf, Edwin E. "Freethinkers of the Early Texas Hill Country". Freethinkers Association of Central Texas. Retrieved 9 May 2010.  Freethinkers Association of Central Texas
  10. ^ Ragsdale, Paul C.: Von Behr, Ottmar from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  11. ^ Sibley, Marilyn M.: Douai, Carl Daniel Adolph from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  12. ^ Gold, Ella: Siemering, August from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  13. ^ Haarman, Viola; Conzen, Michael P (2000). Cultural Encounters with the Environment. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 39, 45, 56. ISBN 978-0-7425-0105-8. 
  14. ^ "Edgar von Westphalen". Marxists.org. Retrieved 30 May 2010.  Roe Hampton University-London
  15. ^ "Jenny von Westphalen". Marxists.org. Retrieved 30 May 2010.  Roe Hampton University-London
  16. ^ Simon, B. "Marx, Karl-Julius Fröbel, Julius". Roe Hampton University-London. Retrieved 30 April 2010.  Roe Hampton University-London
  17. ^ Ransleben, Guido E.; A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas; 1954
  18. ^ "National Register of Historic Places-Kendall Co, Tx". U.S. Dept. of Interior, the National Park Service. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Wine Industry Pioneers". The Wine Institute. Retrieved 30 May 2010.  The Wine Institute
  20. ^ "Sisterdale Postmasters". Jim Wheat. Retrieved 29 April 2010. Jim Wheat
  21. ^ "Sisterdale Creek Vineyards". Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Kennedy, Ira. "German Intellectuals on the Texas Frontier". TexFiles. Retrieved 30 April 2010.  TexFiles
  23. ^ Scharf, Edwin E. "Freethinkers of the Early Texas Hill Country". Free Thinkers Association of Texas. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  24. ^ Goyne, Minetta Algelt (1982). Lone Star and Double Eagle: Civil War Letters of a German-Texas Family. Texas Christian Univ Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-912646-68-8. 
  25. ^ Puglisi Jr., Richard L. "Bexar County Chief Justice August Siemering, 1830–1883". University of the Incarnate Word. Retrieved 9 May 2010.  University of the Incarnate Word
  26. ^ a b Biesele, Rudolph L: German Attitude Toward the Civil War from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 09 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  27. ^ Biesele, R L. "The Texas State Convention of Germans in 1854". The Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 22 November 2010.  The Texas State Historical Association
  28. ^ Shook, Robert W.: Duff, James from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 30 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  29. ^ "Treue der Union Monument". Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2010.  Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  30. ^ "Treue der Union Monument". TexGenWeb, Kendall Co. Retrieved 30 April 2010.  TexGenWeb, Kendall Co
  31. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  32. ^ "Sisterdale Valley District". 
  33. ^ Joe Cooper (2009). "Sisterdale". 
  34. ^ "Sisterdale". RootsWeb.com. 
  35. ^ Glen E. Lich. "Handbook of Texas Online: Sisterdale, TX". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Sisterdale". 
  37. ^ "Sisterdale Cemetery". 

External links[edit]