Home

About Us

Contact Us

What Else?

Regions

Quick Links

Comments, questions or concerns?

*

*

 

Texas Wends

The opportunities offered in Texas were enticing to many in Europe as seen in handbooks for emigrants circulating thanks to the Texas government who was hoping to settle the thinly populated areas of the new state.

The Wends of 1848-1850

Records indicate the first Wends to Texas arrived between 1848-1850 typically part of larger German groups, these Wends would be absorbed quickly into the larger German speaking communities as there were too few to sustain their culture.

The Wends of 1853

1853 saw a group of roughly 35 Wends sailing from Bremen to Texas, assumedly thanks to the earlier Wends and Germans that sent letters back home. During those days, letters from new lands were published in the newspapers of the day. Depending on the personal views of the editors, readers would have seen either shining examples of why to go to these new places or the opposite, why they should stay home and continue their lives undisturbed. The 1853 group detoured for a stay in Cuba for a time after their ship wreck forced them ashore. It would be the help of a society of Germans in New Orleans that would finance the journey from Cuba to Galveston.

The Wends of 1854

As unrest continued at home in the Lusatia region of Germany, a separatist group of woshippers formed a congregation in 1843 served by Pastor Gessner. 1844 would see Pastor Johann Killian installed as deputy pastor there. From this group that eventually swelled to over 1200 members would be a layman that filed a charter on March 25th 1854 per government regulations in order to form an association to eventually emigrate.

The results were outstanding. As nearly 600 individuals made preparations to migrate by selling possesions including home and land, the government became involved by sending agents to sit in the associations meetings, newspapers rallied by warning them of the dangers of death while traveling. The entire area was interested and the media of the day reported as the majority of the group left the train station at Bautzen on September 4th 1854 for a journey that would take them over the then-modern land-travel to transfer to sea-travel and set off on September 20th 1854 for Texas.

Disease hit the group before ever they left land, contracting cholera in England some would never leave Europe alive, still others would be claimed at sea and by the end of their exodus a total of seventy-four of their number would not be with them.

After landing in Texas at Galveston on December 16th 1854 they made their way initially to Houston. It is important to know the group was made up of all walks of life and many were unable to afford the cost of traveling with the group to the end destination until later.

Once land was procured the group traveled to form life in their new community which would initially be known as the Low Pin-Oak Settlement later it would be known in its present day name as Serbin.

Today, the Wends of Texas are known most for the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and Museum in Serbin Texas. Please visit their website in the Quick Links page as well as a page specifically for them on this website:

The Texas Wendish Heritage Society

References

Recommended reading on the Wends of 1854 (and from which this writer has gained much more information than is posted above):

Johann Kilian, Pastor: A Wendish Lutheran in Germany and Texas by George Nielsen 2003

The Wendish Texans by Sylvia Ann Grider 1982

The Wends of Texas by Anne Blasig 1954

Texas Wends: Their First Half-Century by Lillie Moerbe Caldwell 1961

The above are available for purchase at the Texas Wendish Heritage Society (and at better prices than you will generally find online)