German culture area
German immigration to Texas began in 1831 when Friedrich Ernst from Oldenburg settled in present Austin County. His town, Industry, became the first of a number of German hamlets founded in the 1830’s and 1840’s east of the Colorado River in Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Washington, and nearby counties. There several hundred Germans, singly or in small family groups, settled after landing at Galveston and Houston.
The second and larger German migration to Texas focused on west-central Texas’ Hill Country during the 1840’s and 1850’s. More than 7,000 colonists of the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, or Adelsverein, landed at Galveston or Indianola and followed the Guadalupe River inland to Bexar, Comal, DeWitt, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Kendall, and Victoria counties.
Adelsverein directors, Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels and his successor, Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach (John O. Meusebach), established Indianola (1844), New Braunfels (1845), and Fredericksburg (1846). Meusebach made peace with the Southern Comanches (1847) to open the Adelsverein’s Fisher-Miller land grant to German colonization.
Germans continued to immigrate to these and surrounding areas, as well as to North Texas and the Panhandle, throughout the 19th century. Urban German colonies flourished in Galveston, Houston, Victoria, Indianola, San Antonio, Austin, and other towns. Today German Texans form the fourth-largest ethnic group in the state.