Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels
|Born||27 July 1812|
Neustrelitz, Confederation of the Rhine
|Died||13 November 1875 (aged 63)|
Rheingrafenstein, German Empire
Luise Auguste Stephanie Beyrich
(m. 1834; div. 1841)
Princess Sophie of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
(m. 1845; died 1875)
|Father||Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels|
|Mother||Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
Prince Carl (Karl) of Solms-Braunfels (27 July 1812 – 13 November 1875), was a German prince and military officer in both the Austrian army and in the cavalry of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. As Commissioner General of the Adelsverein, he spearheaded the establishment of colonies of German immigrants in Texas. Prince Solms named New Braunfels, Texas in honor of his homeland.
Early years and family life
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Ludwig Georg Alfred Alexander of Solms-Braunfels was born in Neustrelitz. His father was Prince Friedrick Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels, second husband of Princess Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who bore thirteen children during the course of her three marriages.
Although he was the landless, younger son of a younger son of a minor German prince whose realm had been mediatized in 1806, Friedrich's 1834 marriage to Luise Auguste Stephanie Beyrich was considered below his princely station and had to be conducted morganatically. They had three children:
- Marie (born 1835, married Wilhelm Bähr)
- Karl Louis (1837-1918, married Wilhelmine Gantenhammer)
- Melanie (born 1840, married Karl Heil)
In 1837 his mother became queen consort of Hanover. Shortly before her death in 1841 his step-father, King Ernest Augustus, a member of the British royal family, succeeded in pressuring Friedrich to make a monetary arrangement with his wife and three children for a de facto royal annulment. Luise and her children were ennobled in the Grand Duchy of Hesse under the name von Schönau on 25 March 1841. The family was further ennobled in 1912 with the surname von Schönau de Solms.
- Prince Ludwig (1847–1900)
- Princess Eulalia (1851–1922), married Edouard, son of Eugène, 8th Prince of Ligne
- Princess Marie (1852–1882)
- Princess Sophie (1853–1869)
- Prince Alexander (1855–1926).
It was during his service with the cavalry that Carl read books about Texas and became interested in joining the Adelsverein. Appointed its Commissioner General in 1844, he was the motivating force for the first colony of German emigrants to Texas. He arrived on Texas soil in July 1844, making an exploratory tour as advisor to the Adelsverein, which owned the rights to the Fisher–Miller Land Grant. Subsequently Carl purchased an additional 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) on the Guadalupe River on behalf of the Adelsverein, where he established the colony of New Braunfels, Texas. His vision cleared the path for John O. Meusebach to follow in 1845 as the organizer, negotiator and political force needed for community-building structure in the "New Germany".
In anticipation of his marriage to Maria Josephine Sophie, Prince Solms formed plans to build "Sophie's Castle", laying the cornerstone in New Braunfels in 1845. Sophie refused to leave Germany, and Carl never returned to Texas after his 3 December 1845 marriage to her.
Return to Germany and later years
After returning to Germany, he left the Austrian army and became a colonel in the cavalry of the Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1846. He was able to rejoin the Austrian army in 1850, becoming a brigadier in 1859 with command of dragoons on Lake Constance. He took part in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. He retired as a Feldmarschallleutnant (Lieutenant General) in 1868 to his residence at the estate of Rheingrafenstein near Kreuznach on the Nahe River. Prince Solms died on 13 November 1875 and is interred in the city cemetery of Bad Kreuznach.
|Timeline of the Life of Prince Carl (Karl) of Solms-Braunfels|
|Ancestors of Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels|
- "Solms-Braunfels Royalty 1800–1940". RoyaltyGuide=Netherlands. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- From the maternal side Carl was however of the highest nobility. In 1834, his mother was the Duchess of Cumberland and future Queen of Hanover, her brother George was the ruling Grand Duke of the sovereign state of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and the incumbent Empress Consort of Russia (Alexandra Feodorovna), a future King of Prussia (Frederick William IV), and a future German Emperor (William I) were Carl's first cousins.
- Genealogisches Handbuch des in Bayern immatrikulierten Adels p. 743 Band XXII, Verlag Degener & Co, Neustadt an der Aisch 1998
- "Solms-Braunfels Princes 1800–1940". RoyaltyGuide=Netherlands. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "Imperial Army of Austria". International Napoleonic Wargaming Club. Retrieved 8 May 2010. International Napoleonic Wargaming Club
- "A Guide to the Solms-Braunfels Archives, 1842–1957". Texas Archival Research Online. Retrieved 8 May 2010. Briscoe Center, UT Austin
- Biesele, Rudolph L: Fisher-Miller Land Grant from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 08 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
- Carl of Solms, Prince (2000). Voyage to North America, 1844–45: Prince Carl of Solms' Texas Diary of People, Places, and Events. University of North Texas Press. ISBN 978-1-57441-124-9.
- Brister, Louis E.: Adelsverein from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 08 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
- "Sophienburg, New Braunfels, Texas". Sophienburg Museum & Archives. Retrieved 14 May 2011. Sophienburg Museum & Archives
- Lich, Glen E and Moltmann, Gunter: Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 08 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
- The Grand Duke Louis II happened to be Carl's second cousin once removed, since Carl's grandmother Friederike Caroline Luise had been a Hessian princess.
- "Austro-Prussian War". Wars of the World. Retrieved 8 May 2010. OnWar.com
- Geue, Ethel H (2009). New Homes in a New Land German Immigration to Texas, 1847–1861. Clearfield. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-8063-0980-4.
- Block, W T. "The Story of Our Texas German Pilgrims". Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 8 May 2010. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC.