Charles Henry Nimitz

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Charles Henry Nimitz
Texas Legislature, District 89
In office
Personal details
Born Karl Heinrich Nimitz
(1826-11-09)November 9, 1826
Bremen, Germany
Died April 28, 1911(1911-04-28) (aged 84)
Fredericksburg, Texas, U.S.
Resting place Der Stadt Friedhof
30°16′16″N 98°51′42″W / 30.27111°N 98.86167°W / 30.27111; -98.86167Coordinates: 30°16′16″N 98°51′42″W / 30.27111°N 98.86167°W / 30.27111; -98.86167
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Sophie Dorothea Mueller
Children Twelve
(Nine reached adulthood):
Ernest Albert (1849–1928)[1]
Anna Nauwald (1850–1933)[2]
Charles Henry Jr.(1852–1928)[3]
Chester Bernard (1855–1884)[4]
Lina Meusebach (1862–1952)[5]
William (1864–1943)[6]
Meta Wahrmund (1867–1903)[7]
Two more daughters
Parents Karl Heinrich Nimitz Sr.
Dorothea Magdalena Dressel

Charles Henry Nimitz (born Karl Heinrich Nimitz; November 9, 1826 – April 28, 1911) was born in Bremen, Germany, the son of a merchant seaman. He also went to sea before the Nimitz family immigrated to South Carolina in the early 1840s, and later became part of the Adelsverein colonization experiment in the newly annexed state of Texas. He was the grandfather of, and role model for, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. In 1852, he built the Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas in the United States. The hotel he built now houses the National Museum of the Pacific War. The Nimitz Hotel was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1989, Marker number 10089.[8] Nimitz was elected to the Twenty-second Texas Legislature in 1890, representing Gillespie, Comal and Blanco counties, which constituted District 89.

Early life[edit]

Karl Heinrich Nimitz Jr. was born in Bremen in Germany on November 9, 1826, to merchant seaman Karl Heinrich Nimitz Sr. and his wife Dorothea Magdalena Dressel.

The Nimitz roots can be traced to membership in Knights of the Sword in the 13th Century. In 1644, Major Ernst von Nimitz served under Carl Gustav Wrangel of Sweden. Major Nimitz relocated in 1648 to an area near Hanover, Germany. Later generations became cloth merchants and dropped the "von" from the family name. Karl Heinrich Nimitz Sr. left the mercantile business and became a merchant seaman. Karl Jr. followed in his footsteps at age 14.[9]


The family originally emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina, beginning with the three oldest children in 1840, Karl Sr. and Dorothea in 1843, and Karl Jr. in 1844. Karl Jr. became fascinated by stories about Texas, and in 1846 joined the Adelsverein colonists who settled in Fredericksburg with John O. Meusebach. In Fredericksburg, Karl Jr. changed his name to Charles Henry Nimitz.[10] On December 15, 1847, Nimitz became one of the petitioners for creation of Gillespie County. He briefly worked as a bookkeeper for a cypress lumber company, and in 1851 joined the Texas Rangers.[11]

Nimitz Hotel[edit]

In 1852, Nimitz built what locals referred to as the Steamboat Hotel because of the ship's bow front. The adobe Nimitz Hotel had its own saloon and brewery, a ballroom that doubled as a theatre, a smokehouse, and a bath-house.[12] In its heyday, the hotel hosted such guests as Horace Greeley, Johnny Ringo,[13] President Rutherford B. Hayes, James Longstreet, Phil Sheridan, William Sydney Porter and Ulysses S. Grant. Robert E. Lee, who was stationed at nearby Fort Mason prior to the Civil War, visited so often that Nimitz gave Lee his own room[9] and exhibited it to guests when Lee was not in residence.[14][15][16] After the war, the hotel became a stage stop. Nimitz would entertain the guests with practical jokes on the customers, and humorous stories.[9] Nimitz deeded the hotel over to his son Charles H Nimitz Jr. in 1906.

Military duty[edit]

During the Civil War, Nimitz organized the Gillespie Rifles and was commissioned captain of that group by the Confederacy.[9]

State legislature[edit]

In 1890, Nimitz represented District 89, Gillespie, Comal and Blanco counties, in the Twenty-second Texas Legislature.[10]

Grandson Chester Nimitz[edit]

Anna Henke Nimitz, the wife of his son Chester Bernard Nimitz became pregnant with their only child Chester William Nimitz. The senior Chester died before his son was born on February 24, 1885. Grandfather Charles Henry Nimitz served as a father figure and role model the first five years of little Chester's life. In 1890, the widow Nimitz married her husband's brother William Nimitz and moved with him to Kerrville where he managed the St. Charles Hotel. While still a teenager, Chester was accepted for enrollment in the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated seventh out of a class of 114. Chester Nimitz rose to the rank of Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Forces in World War II.[17]

Later years[edit]

After John O. Meusebach retired to Loyal Valley, Texas, Charles Henry Nimitz made the half-day's ride to the Mason County community to spend the day with Meusebach at his residence. They reminisced about their years of friendship, and Meusebach gave Nimitz a tour of his orchards and gardens. Nimitz later gave an interview about the visit to the Fredericksburg newspaper Das Wochenblatt, detailing Meusebach's horticultural achievements.[18]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1848, Nimitz married Sophie Dorothea Mueller. The couple had twelve children, nine of whom lived to adulthood.[19]

Sophia died in 1877, and is buried at Der Stadt Friedhof in Fredericksburg.[20] Charles Henry Nimitz died on April 28, 1911, in the hotel he built. He is buried next to Sophia.[21]


  1. ^ Ernest Albert Nimitz at Find a Grave
  2. ^ Anna Nimitz Nauwald at Find a Grave
  3. ^ Charles Henry Nimitz Jr. at Find a Grave
  4. ^ Chester Bernard Nimitz at Find a Grave
  5. ^ Lina Meusebach at Find a Grave
  6. ^ William Nimitz at Find a Grave
  7. ^ Meta Wahrmund at Find a Grave
  8. ^ "Nimitz Hotel". Recorded Texas Historic Marker. William Nienke, Sam Morrow. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d Potter, Elmer Belmont (1976). Nimitz. US Naval Institute Press. pp. 22–28. ISBN 978-0-87021-492-9. 
  10. ^ a b Kohout, Martin Donell. "Nimitz, Charles Henry". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Hoyt, Edwin Palmer (2000). How They Won the War in the Pacific: Nimitz and His Admirals. Lyons Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-58574-148-9. 
  12. ^ Potter, E B (1976). Nimitz (Potter). US Naval Institute Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-87021-492-9. 
  13. ^ Johnson, David (1996). John Ringo. Barbed Wire Pr. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-935269-23-9. 
  14. ^ Jamison, Cheryl (1993). Texas Home Cooking. Harvard Common Press. p. 501. ISBN 978-1-55832-059-8. 
  15. ^ Larrabee, Eric (2004). Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War. US Naval Institute Press. p. 355. ISBN 978-1-59114-455-7. 
  16. ^ Carmack, Liz (2007). Historic Hotels of Texas: A Traveler's Guide. TAMU Press. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-58544-608-7. 
  17. ^ Weddle, Robert S. "Chester William Nimitz". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  18. ^ King (1967) p.169-170
  19. ^ Schom, Alan and Alan M (2003). The Eagle and the Rising Sun: The Japanese-American War 1941–1943: Pearl Harbor through Guadalcanal. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-393-04924-4. 
  20. ^ Sophie Dorothea Mueller Nimitz at Find a Grave
  21. ^ Charles Henry Nimitz at Find a Grave