Online Articles

Freethinkers in Texas

Compiled from
The Handbook of Texas Online
of the
Texas State Historical Association


Presented to the weekly meeting of
The Atheist Community of Austin
Austin History Center Austin, Texas
Don Lawrence March 2, 2003
(512) 917-7709

FREETHINKERS. Freethinkers (German: Freidenker) is a term used to describe some nineteenth-century German intellectuals. The term had special currency in the Kendall County communities of Sisterdale and Comfort, where freethinkers formed the majority. Apart from its literal meaning, which suggests an attitude of liberalism unencumbered by dogma and the status quo, the term is also understood to connote agnosticism, if not atheism. However, many of the early freethinkers in Texas were neither true agnostics nor true atheists. Better stated, they considered the notion of Deity irrelevant and opposed clerics and churches; if they acknowledged the existence of a traditional Judeo-Christian God, they did not do so with friendliness or affection but as the impatient successors of such belief systems. A Freethinkers' Society held regular meetings in Sisterdale during the 1850s. Freethinking, which had various sources, among them early nineteenth-century Romanticism and science as well as the Turner movement and early communism, lasted in Comfort until the 1970s.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Glen E. Lich and Dona B. Reeves, eds., German Culture in Texas (Boston: Twayne, 1980). Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981).

HILL COUNTRY. "Hill Country" is a vernacular term applied to a region including all or part of twenty-five counties near the geographical center of Texas. ….

Between 1840 and 1850 significant numbers of settlers, mostly southern mountaineers, had been attracted to the Hill Country, particularly to Williamson, Hays, Comal, and Gillespie counties. Settlers from the mountain states of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri composed the largest nativity groups within the rural, immigrant, Anglo-American population of these counties.

But the southern mountaineers were not solely responsible for the peopling of the Hill Country. Germans, mainly hill Hessians and Lower Saxons, introduced in the middle 1840s by the Society of Nobles (see ADELSVEREIN), occupied a corridor stretching 100 miles northwestward from New Braunfels and San Antonio through Fredericksburg as far as Mason, along the axis of an old Indian route known as the Pinta Trail,qv later called the Upper Emigrant Road. The towns of Fredericksburg, Comfort, Boerne, and Mason all bear a strong German cultural imprint, as do numerous neighboring hamlets and farms. By 1870 the population of Gillespie County was 86 percent German, Comal 79 percent, Kendall 62 percent, and Mason 56 percent.

Each river valley in the German-settled portion of the Hill Country developed its own distinctive subculture, particularly in the religious sense. The Pedernales valley in Gillespie County is a Lutheran-Catholic enclave abounding in dance halls and ethnic clubs; the Llano valley in Mason and western Llano counties is dominated by German Methodists, who avoid dancing, drinking, and card playing; and the Guadalupe valley of Kendall County is the domain of freethinkers who maintain the only rural stronghold of agnosticism in Texas.

Other European groups in the Hill Country include Silesian Poles, who settled at Bandera in the 1850s; Alsatians, who spread up from the Castroville area, following streams such as Hondo Creek; and Britishers, who came as sheepraisers to Kerr and Kendall counties. Blacks are largely absent in the Hill Country, though a few tiny freedmen colonies, such as Payton Colony in Blanco County, occur. Hispanics form a relatively small minority throughout the Hill Country.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Terry G. Jordan, "Perceptual Regions in Texas," Geographical Review 68 (July 1978). Terry G. Jordan, "The Texan Appalachia," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 60 (September 1970). -- Terry G. Jordan

KENDALL COUNTY. Kendall County (L-15) is in south central Texas, 170 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, and is bordered by Gillespie, Blanco, Comal, Bexar, Bandera, and Kerr counties. Boerne, the county seat, is on Cibolo Creek at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87 and Farm Road 475, thirty miles northwest of San Antonio.

The Central Texas region, including Kendall County, has supported human habitation for several thousand years. Archeological evidence suggests that hunting and gathering peoples established themselves in the area as early as 10,000 years ago. Lipan Apaches, Kiowas, and Comanches became the dominant tribes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and were present when Germansqv began arriving in the 1840s. The Meusebach-Comanche Treaty,qv signed in 1847, was to permit the settlers to enter Indian territory to settle and the Indians to enter the settlements. German immigrants established Sisterdale in 1847, Tusculum (Boerne) in 1849, Curry's Creek in 1850, and Comfort in 1854. Although relations between settlers and Indians were fairly sympathetic, small groups of Indians did make frequent raids on farms in the area, and in some instances killed settlers and stole children. The threat of raids continued through the mid-1870s but lessened as the frontier was pushed farther west.

Most of the Kendall County area was part of the Bexar County established by the Republic of Texasqv in 1836; it later became part of Kerr County, which was separated from Bexar in 1856. Comfort served as county seat of Kerr County for two years before Kendall County was formed. In 1859 residents of Boerne and Sisterdale petitioned the legislature for a new county; the legislature granted the petition in 1862, and the new county, carved from Kerr and Blanco counties, was named in honor of George Wilkins Kendall.qv The first Kendall County officials were elected later that year, and Boerne was chosen as the county seat.

Religious development in the county was fairly slow. Many of the early German immigrants were "freethinkers"qv and were not particularly receptive to organized religion. In the 1840s and 1850s a priest from the cathedral in San Antonio traveled to the area occasionally to provide services to those people who wanted them. A priest was assigned to Boerne in 1860, but because of local sentiment, built his church on a hill outside the town. As more people moved into the area, however, more churches were established. A Methodist congregation was organized in the mid-1870s, an Episcopal church in 1881, and a Lutheran church in 1891. In the early 1980s the county's fifteen churches had an estimated combined membership of 5,514; Catholic, Southern Baptist, and American Lutheran were the largest denominations.

The major issue at the time of the county's formation was the Civil War.qv Kerr County, which in 1861 encompassed Kendall County, passed the ordinance of secessionqv by a vote of 76 to 57; however, the majority of voters in Kerr County's Precinct 2, the area which became Kendall County, opposed secession 53 to 34. The level of Unionist sentiment in the region was due in large part to the number of German immigrants, most of whom opposed both slaveryqv and secession. A company of men from Kendall County fought for the Union at the battle of the Nueces;qv the Union soldiers who were killed at the Nueces were buried in a common grave at Comfort after the war, and a marker was placed there in their honor.

LATIN SETTLEMENTS OF TEXAS. The "Latin Settlements" were five communities in Texas where most of the settlers were highly educated immigrants from Germany. The name came about because in the German culture of the time the knowledge of Latin was considered to be both a prerequisite for higher learning and a sign of educational attainment. Established during the late 1840s, the Latin Settlements included Millheim in Austin County, Latium in Washington County, Bettina in Llano County, and Sisterdale and Tusculum in Kendall County. Many of the residents of these settlements, who were sometimes referred to as Lateiner ("Latin ones"), were political refugees who had fled Germany in the wake of the abortive 1848 revolution. A number of them later attained prominence in medicine, education, law, journalism, and politics.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Adalbert Regenbrecht, "The German Settlers of Millheim before the Civil War," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 20 (July 1916). Louis Reinhardt, "The Communistic Colony of Bettina," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 3 (July 1899). Annie Romberg, "Texas Literary Society of Pioneer Days," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (July 1948). --- Rudolph L. Biesele

RELIGIOUS AND BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION. The Religious and Benevolent Association, established by a group of Waco citizens led by James D. Shaw,qv was chartered on December 2, 1882, by the state of Texas. Its purpose was stated to be "for the worship of God, benevolent and religious works." The association first met in the district courthouse but built its own Liberal Hall in 1884. Membership was drawn from a cross-section of the population of Waco. Among those most active in the work were W. R. Wallace, a physician; Edward J. Gurley,qv a lawyer; G. B. Gerald, county judge and postmaster; and C. M. Hubby.

The association began to publish a monthly magazine called the Independent Pulpit in 1883. The publication served as a forum for many of the members' freethinking views. It was edited by Shaw and had a world-wide circulation. The introduction of such an association was bitterly opposed by churchmen across Central Texas. B. H. Carroll,qv pastor of the Baptist church in Waco, preached a sermon entitled "The Agnostic," in which no attempt was made to veil the animosity felt by many members of the community. J. B. Cranfill,qv editor of the Gatesville Advance, called the association the "Hell and Damnation Society" and told his readers that Shaw would turn them from the truth. He described the association as an "asylum for erratic thinkers on religious subjects." In spite of opposition the association continued to grow until late in 1889, when financial troubles became apparent. The attendance at the weekly lectures began to decrease, the benevolent work suffered from lack of funds, and the influx of new members declined. On October 5, 1889, Liberal Hall was destroyed by fire, and although Shaw and his followers were determined to rebuild, the association disappeared. Shaw became active in the Liberal Association of Texas and continued to publish the Independent Pulpit.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Blake W. Barrow, Freethought in Texas: J. D. Shaw and the Independent Pulpit (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1983). Dallas Morning News, January 6, 1929. Virginia Ming, "J. D. Shaw: Freethinker," Waco Heritage and History, Summer 1979. Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817-1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867-1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). --- Virginia H. Ming

BLOCK CREEK, TEXAS. Block Creek was a small community on the east bank of Block Creek and the old Comfort to Fredericksburg road, 2½ miles north of Farm Road 473 and some eight miles northeast of Comfort in western Kendall County. It was settled, in part, by Freethinkers. A post office opened at Block Creek in 1884 and closed in 1895. In 1890 the community had fifteen residents. The Block Creek school had opened by around 1900 and remained the focus of a common school district until 1949, when it became part of the Comfort Independent School District. In 1913 the Fredericksburg and Northern Railway established a flag stop in Block Creek to benefit nearby Hillingdon Ranch. Two or three houses marked the community on county highway maps in the late 1940s, but by the 1980s these were no longer shown on maps of the area.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kendall County Historical Commission, A History of Kendall County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1984). --- Melissa G. Wiedenfeld

BETTINA, TEXAS. Bettina, a short-lived commune on the north bank of the Llano River in western Llano County, was settled in 1847 by a fraternity of highly educated German communitarian freethinkers influenced by the writings of Étienne Cabetqv and Charles Fourier. Bettina was the seventh, and last, of the Adelsvereinqv colonies in Texas. It was one five settlements attempted by the Adelsverein within the Fisher-Miller Land Grantqv after John O. Meusebachqv concluded a treaty with the Comanches in the spring of 1847. It was named for Bettina Brentano von Arnim, a German liberal and writer. The first building was a thatched common house forty feet long by twenty-two feet wide. An adobeqv house, with a shingled roof and a massive fireplace, was built next. Crops were planted, and the first harvest was satisfactory. However, cooperation gradually foundered because of dissention over work details and the role of a young woman cook, a Hispanic captive presented as a gift by a Comanche chief who underwent successful eye surgery while visiting Bettina. The utopian venture lasted less than a year, but many of the members of this group went on to make major contributions to Texas life. Notable were Dr. Ferdinand von Herff,qv an eminent San Antonio physician and surgeon; Gustav Schleicher,qv an engineer who helped to expand the state's rail system and who thereafter became a member of Congress; and Jacob Kuechler,qv a vocal Unionist who became commissioner of the General Land Officeqv in Austin. Others, such as Christoph Flach and Johannes Hoerner, founded large and prominent Hill Countryqv families that for four or five generations retained vestiges of freethinking liberalism and ethics. The writings of Louis Reinhardt and Friedrich Schenck,qv two members, illustrate the everyday experiences of the group in Texas; Herff wrote a political treatise in which he touches on the colony and generalizes on the founding principles. The journalist Emma F. Murck Atgelt, the geologist Ferdinand von Roemer, the editor Ferdinand J. Lindheimer,qqv and others not directly associated with the fraternity also wrote about the settlement and its individual members. Vera Flach wrote a moving twentieth-century account of the acculturation of one of the Bettina families. The former commune is commemorated, along with the nearby Adelsverein settlements of Castell and Leiningen, by a state historical marker placed in 1964 on the north side of the Llano River across from Castell.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Vera Flach, A Yankee in German-America: Texas Hill Country (San Antonio: Naylor, 1973). Ferdinand von Herff, The Regulated Emigration of the German Proletariat with Special Reference to Texas, trans. Arthur L. Finck (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1978). H. T. Edward Hertzberg, trans., "A Letter from Friedrich Schenck in Texas to His Mother in Germany, 1847," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 92 (July 1988). Glen E. Lich and Dona B. Reeves, eds., German Culture in Texas (Boston: Twayne, 1980). Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981). Louis Reinhardt, "The Communistic Colony of Bettina," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 3 (July 1899). --- Glen E. Lich

SHAW, JAMES DICKSON (1841-1926). James Dickson Shaw, freethinker and editor of The Independent Pulpit, son of Granville C. and Mary A. (Manning) Shaw, was born in Walker County, Texas, on December 27, 1841. After serving in the Confederate Army, he was admitted to the Methodist ministry in 1870. During the next few years he taught at Marvin College in Waxahachie and served on the editorial staff of The Christian Advocate. His early pastorates included the church at Mexia and Lancaster Bell, Texas. In 1878 he assumed the pastorate of the Fifth Street Methodist Church in Waco. In 1880 in a public meeting in Waco, Shaw was described as being an agnostic by a visiting phrenologist, Dr. O. S. Fowler. A short time later questions were raised concerning his orthodoxy. At the annual session of the Northwest Methodist Conference meeting in Cleburne, Texas, 1882, a motion was made to bring charges of heresy before a committee for examination. When Shaw appeared before the committee to defend his beliefs, he spoke concerning the inspiration of the scriptures, the divinity of Christ, the vicarious atonement, and the punishment of the wicked. At the conclusion of his address, he was asked to surrender his credentials because his views were "detrimental to religion and injurious to the church." Returning to Waco, Shaw gathered together some of the prominent men of the city and established the Religious and Benevolent Associationqv on December 2, 1882. The association established a monthly magazine in 1883 called the Independent Pulpit to serve as a forum for the most liberal and independent thinkers on the moral, social, and intellectual questions of the day. Shaw served as editor of the publication. Subscribers to the twenty-four page monthly publication were not limited to Texas, but were found in states throughout the United States and other countries. Through the pages of this magazine Shaw led a reform movement propounding the virtues of free thought. He drew much correspondence for the pages of the Independent Pulpit from across the state. In 1890 he was instrumental in the organization of the Liberal Society of Texas. Shaw was well known as a public speaker and was active in civic and political affairs for many years. He held the rank of captain in the Pat Cleburne Camp of Confederate Veterans, was a member of the board of aldermen for the City of Waco, and served as a member of the executive committee to formulate the commission form of city governmentqv for the city. He helped organize the Humane Society of Waco. Shaw married twice. His first wife, Lucy Frances, died in 1881, two weeks after the birth of their sixth child, leaving Shaw with a family of young children. Several months later the baby also died. In 1884 he married Rachella Dodson. She died on March 29, 1902. In 1910 Shaw moved to Glendale, California, with his daughter. He died there on December 3, 1926. Later his remains were returned to Waco for burial in Oakwood Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Blake W. Barrow, Freethought in Texas: J. D. Shaw and the Independent Pulpit (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1983). Dallas Morning News, January 6, 1929. Virginia Ming, "J. D. Shaw: Freethinker," Waco Heritage and History, Summer 1979. Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817-1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867-1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). --- Virginia H. Ming

RUSSELL, LEVI JAMES (1831-1908). Levi James Russell, doctor and botanist, son of James and Elizabeth Russell, was born on February 17, 1831, in Hall County, Georgia. From 1850 to 1853 he mined gold in California and in 1854 went to Pennsylvania College, where he graduated from medical school in March 1856. ….. he returned to Georgia and in 1868 moved to Harrisville, Texas, where he bought a farm and practiced medicine. He married Mary Roe; they had nine children. Russell was for several years the chairman of the committee on medical botany of the Texas State Medical Association (now the Texas Medical Associationqv), which published his report in the Transactions for 1886. He was an incorporator of the Little River Academy, devoted to the study of science; in 1875 he became a charter member and president of the Association of Freethinkers of Bell County. Because of his radical views he was expelled from the Masons and Knights of Pythias. On the night of October 6, 1877, Russell was severely whipped for being an infidel. He continued his medical practice and his natural-science collection in Bell County until his death on March 23, 1908, at Temple.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984). Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Texas Collection, April 1945. --- Clinton P. Hartmann

SISTERDALE, TEXAS. Sisterdale, on Farm roads 1376 and 473, thirteen miles north of Boerne in north central Kendall County, was founded in 1847 by Nicolaus Zink,qv a German freethinkerqv who surveyed New Braunfels for Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels.qv This community in the idyllic valley of Sister Creek became one of the famous "Latin Settlements"qv as Zink was joined over the next two years by Forty-Eightersqv fleeing after the aborted 1848 revolution in Europe. The leader of these farmers was Ernst Kapp,qv and the circle included Ottomar von Behr, C. D. Adolph Douai, August Siemering,qv Julius Dresel, Dr. Julius Froebel, Gustav Theissen, and the Baron von Westphal (a brother-in-law of Karl Marx). John R. Bartlett, Frederick Law Olmsted,qv and Duke Paul of Württemberg visited Sisterdale and recorded their observations. Sisterdale opened a post office in 1851. The community was one of the centers of German abolitionism and Unionism before and during the Civil War.qv After the conflict it became a quiet Hill Countryqv hamlet of farmers, with a population estimated at 150 in 1884. At that time the town had a shingle mill, a cotton gin, and a grocery store. …. In the mid-1980s local sources estimated the population at just under 100. In 1990 it was reported as sixty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Glen E. Lich and Dona B. Reeves, eds., German Culture in Texas (Boston: Twayne, 1980). --- Glen E. Lich

ALTGELT, ERNST HERMANN (1832-1878). Hermann Altgelt was born on July 17, 1832, at Düsseldorf on the Rhine, the son of a privy counselor of that city. Upon completing military service, he immigrated at age twenty to New Orleans and worked briefly for the cotton firm of John Vles. In 1854 he led a surveying party into the Hill Countryqv of Texas and laid out the town of Comfort on property owned by Vles. Soon, German freethinkers from New Braunfels began to settle in the area and to develop the communal life that they wanted. The Comfort area, in spite of floods and drought, offered lands for both farming and ranching, as well as an abundance of timber and water. Altgelt began lumber and grist mills, but neither was successful. He married another immigrant from the Rhineland, Emma Murck (see ALTGELT, EMMA MURCK), in July 1855 and thereafter took up the practice of law. Though he was never a fire-eating supporter of secession,qv during the Civil Warqv Altgelt aligned himself with the Southern cause. He traveled to Germany, allegedly as a result of strained relations with his fellow countrymen. After this trip he joined the Confederate Army in time to participate in the battle of Palmito Ranchqv after Lee's surrender.

He moved to San Antonio in 1866, continued his practice of law, and increased his real estate investments. According to some sources, he built the first house on King William Street (see KING WILLIAM DISTRICT, SAN ANTONIO) in 1867 and was thus accorded the privilege of naming the street, allegedly after Wilhelm I of Prussia. His neighborhood rapidly attracted successful families of German and other nationalities. Altgelt built a more elaborate second home in 1877-78 at 226 King William Street. He died on March 28, 1878, at the family ranch, Wassenberg, twenty-five miles from San Antonio. Altgelt had nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Henry B. Dielmann, trans., "Emma Altgelt's Sketches of Life in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, January 1960. Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981). San Antonio Daily Herald, March 29, 30, 1878. --- Donald E. Everett

COMFORT, TEXAS. Comfort, the second largest town in Kendall County, is located at the junction of State Highway 27, U.S. Highway 87, and Interstate Highway 10, sixteen miles northwest of Boerne on the county's western edge. The town was laid out near the site of an Indian village in 1854 by Ernst Hermann Altgelt,qv though its history goes back to a group of Germans from New Braunfels that settled in 1852 along the banks of the Cypress Creek above its confluence with the Guadalupe River. Freemasons, freethinkers, and political activists, middle-class German families, and liberals from Bettina and Sisterdale settled the area. Townsmen organized the community along cooperative lines and steadfastly opposed formal local government. Comfort opened a school shortly after its founding, but not until 1892 was a church built. The town was a center of Union sentiment during the Civil Warqv and lost many young men at the battle of the Nuecesqv in 1862. A monument on a hillside across from the high school campus honors these dead. From 1856 until Kendall County was organized in 1862, Comfort competed with Kerrville to become the county seat of Kerr County; Kerrville won.

Much of the original townsite is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Significant architectural sites include Bolshevik Hall, Turner Hall, a theater, and numerous half-timber and Victorian structures that survived a disastrous flood in 1978. A tradition of secular funerals was still widely observed in the twentieth century, and German turner (see TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT) activities and modern Volksmarsch celebrations continued. A local museum, volunteer and mutual aid organizations, and service and literary clubs provided informal governance. The population of the unincorporated town was over 1,400 in 1980, when the post office, established in 1856, still existed. In 1990 the population was 1,477.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Guido E. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rev. ed. 1974). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. ---Glen E. Lich

NUECES, BATTLE OF THE. The Civil Warqv skirmish known as the battle of the Nueces took place on the morning of August 10, 1862, when a cadre force of Hill Countryqv Unionists, encamped en route to Mexico on the west bank of the Nueces River about twenty miles from Fort Clark in Kinney County, were attacked by mounted Confederate soldiers. The Unionists, mostly German intellectuals led by Maj. Fritz Tegener, had camped without choosing a defensive position or posting a strong guard. The ninety-four Confederates, led by Lt. C. D. McRae, came upon the camp on the afternoon of August 9. Firing began an hour before sunlight the next morning; nineteen of the sixty-one to sixty-eight Unionists were killed, and nine were wounded. The nine wounded were executed a few hours after the battle. Two Confederates were killed and eighteen wounded, including McRae. Of the Unionists who escaped from the battle, eight were killed by Confederates on October 18, 1862, while trying to cross into Mexico, eleven reached home, and most of the others escaped temporarily to Mexico or to California. Some of the survivors, who included John W. Sansomqv and German members of the Union Leagueqv from the area around Comfort, a militia organized to protect parts of Kendall, Gillespie, and Kerr counties from Indian raids and Confederate actions, eventually joined Unionist forces headquartered in New Orleans. Among the conflicting contemporary and eye-witness accounts, the version published in 1905 by the military professional Sansom appears to be the most reliable and complete. Other accounts vary as to the number of men involved in the fighting and the number of casualties. After the war the remains of the Unionists killed at the battle site were gathered and interred at Comfort, where a monument commemorates the Germans and one Hispanic killed in the battle and subsequent actions. The dedication of this monument on August 10, 1866, was covered in Harper's Weekly in January 1867.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Robert Pattison Felgar, Texas in the War for Southern Independence, 1861-1865 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1935). Guido E. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rev. ed. 1974).

SANSOM, JOHN WILLIAM (1834-1920). John W. Sansom, frontier militia officer and Unionist leader, was born in Dallas County, Alabama, on February 5, 1834, one of eleven children of William Greenbury Sansom and Mary ("Polly") Short. After his parents moved to the Republic of Texasqv in the winter of 1838-39, John Sansom lived, in succession, in Washington, Lavaca, Comal (later Kendall), Uvalde, and Bexar counties until his death in 1920. The Sansom family moved to Curry Creek in 1850, and John Sansom grew to manhood at Curry's Creek Settlement, in the area of present Kendall County, where his family engaged in farming and ranching. In 1855 he became a private in the local company of Texas Rangers,qv thus beginning nearly thirty years of public service. That year he took part in the Callahan expedition.qv By 1856 he was a captain. During the Civil Warqv Sansom, from a staunch Unionist family, was invited to accept a position of leadership in the Union Loyal League, a militia organized to protect parts of Kendall, Gillespie, and Kerr counties from Indian raids and Confederate actions. After the battle of Nueces on August 10, 1862, of which Sansom wrote the authoritative account, Battle of Nueces River in Kinney County, Tex., Aug. 10, 1862 (published in 1905), the league was forced underground, and Sansom, along with many other Texas Unionists like Andrew J. Hamilton and Edmund J. Davis,qv went to New Orleans after that city was taken by Union forces. …. In 1883 he retired to ranch holdings he had acquired earlier in Uvalde County, Texas. In 1904 he and his family retired completely from public and business life moved to a home at 1102 North Flores Street in San Antonio. Sansom married Helen Victoria Patton in Blanco County in 1860. They had one child, a daughter named Elizabeth. Preceded in death by his wife, Sansom died on June 19, 1920, in San Antonio and was buried in the Mission Burial Park, near San Jose Mission, in San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bob Bennett, Kerr County, Texas, 1856-1956 (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956; bicentennial ed., rev. by Clara Watkins: Kerr County, Texas, 1856-1976, Kerrville, Texas: Hill Country Preservation Society, 1975). Guido E. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rev. ed. 1974). A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. --- Glen E. Lich

ROSENBERG, AMANDA FALLIER VON (1806-1864). Amanda Fallier von Rosenberg, whose letters picture immigration to and life on the Texas frontier, was born at the Carolinienhof estate, East Prussia, on September 6, 1806. She was a well-educated woman who grew up in a cultured and refined household. Her family is believed to have been descended from the ancient family Fallieri, of Venice and later of France. At the age of twenty-four Amanda married Peter Carl Johann von Rosenberg,qv a lieutenant who served in the Uhlan lance cavalry under Gen. Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher at Waterloo, and moved to his estate, Eckitten, in East Prussia, where she reared his three children by his first wife. Amanda and Peter Carl themselves had five children and later adopted the niece of his first wife. The Rosenbergs, aristocratic by heritage and democratic in their political philosophy, professed the sentiments of the freethinkers.qv Eventually, they found life in Prussia increasingly oppressive. When their grown sons, Wilhelm, an architect, and Johannes, an engineer, were forced to resign from their posts in the Prussian government, the family decided to leave Germany. They sailed from Bremen on October 1, 1849, on the Franziska and after an ocean voyage of eight weeks landed in Galveston, Texas, on December 9, 1849. They purchased 800 acres and the house of Nassau Farmqv in Fayette County, where they lived, with their married children settled nearby, until 1861. Then they moved into Round Top, where Amanda died in April 1864. She was buried in Soergel Hill Cemetery, now known as Richters Cemetery, near Round Top. Her prolific, diary-like letters give a fascinating first-person account of the Rosenbergs' trip to Texas and their early life there. Most of the letters were written to her sister-in-law, Johanna "Hännchen" Fallier at Carolinienhof, and to her dear friend Reverend Theil in Memel. Her descriptions of Texas frontier life included information on foods, farming methods, architectural styles, rural economy, and the social customs of the Germansqv who settled in Texas during the 1840s.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Crystal Sasse Ragsdale, ed., The Golden Free Land: The Reminiscences and Letters of Women on an American Frontier (Austin: Landmark, 1976). Alma J. von Rosenberg Tomlinson, comp., The von Rosenberg Family of Texas (Boerne, Texas: Toepperwein, 1949). Charles Wilburn von Rosenberg, ed., The von Rosenberg Family Record, Book II (Waco: Texian Press, 1974). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936). --- Rebeca Anne Todd Koenig

KAPP, ERNST (1808-1896). Ernst Kapp, early Texas geographer, was born on October 15, 1808, in Ludwigstadt, Bavarian Oberfranken. He became a follower of the great German geographer Carl Ritter, who, with Alexander von Humboldt, helped found the modern academic discipline of geography. Linked to the political dissent of the late 1840s in Germany, Kapp sought refuge in America; he arrived with his family at Galveston in 1849. He, his wife, Ida Kapell, and five children settled at Sisterdale in Kendall County, one of the so-called "Latin" communities, where educated, intellectual Germans (Lateiner) had taken up residence. There the scholarly and intellectual Kapp became, in his middle age, a farmer, carpenter, and stock raiser. On the basis of this experience he later wrote a book, Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik ("Fundamentals of a Philosophy of Technical Science," 1877), in which he addressed societal problems associated with the rise of machines. The relevance of Kapp's geographical philosophy to the modern age is suggested by the availability of this book and his Vergleichende allgemeine Erdkunde ("General Comparative Geography," 1869) in modern editions in Germany. His political activities did not cease with his move to Texas. In 1853 he was elected president of the Freier Verein (Free Society), a group of German intellectuals and freethinkers. The society convened in San Antonio in May 1854 and produced a platform containing a number of provisions for political, social, and religious change, many of which might still be considered liberal today. The greatest public reaction to the group's proposals came in response to their call for the abolition of slavery,qv a position that created an uproar throughout the state. At Sisterdale, Kapp also operated a spa called Badenthal, offering "Dr. Ernest Kapp's Water-Cure." Treatment included not only hydropathy, but also gymnastic exercises. The Kapp log home and the adjacent patient quarters survive, and Badenthal has been restored by the Woolvin family.

In 1865 Kapp returned for a visit to Germany and, due to illness, remained there permanently. His later German years witnessed the publication of the two previously mentioned books. He died on January 30, 1896, in Düsseldorf on the Rhine, and was subsequently honored by inclusion in the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, the German equivalent of the Dictionary of American Biography.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. W. Geiser, "Dr. Ernst Kapp, Early Geographer in Texas," Field and Laboratory 14 (January 1946). Dr. and Mrs. Ernst Kapp, "Briefe aus der Comalstadt, 1850," Jahrbuch der Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung für 1936 (1936). Hans-Martin Sass, "Man and His Environment: Ernst Kapp's Pioneering Experience and His Philosophy of Technology and Environment," in German Culture in Texas, ed. Glen E. Lich and Dona B. Reeves (Boston: Twayne, 1980). --- Terry G. Jordan

CYPRESS CREEK, TEXAS. The Cypress Creek community, also known as Cypressville, is ten miles southeast of Kerrville in eastern Kerr County. It was named after a tributary of the Guadalupe River and comprises some fifty farms and ranches along about thirty miles of secondary and tertiary roads between Comfort and Kerrville. One of the first settlements in what is today Kerr County, the picturesque, originally German-speaking community has been the subject of numerous paintings and many historical, literary, and linguistic studies, as well as an archeological study that suggests that the well-watered valley has been inhabited for nearly 10,000 years. The first two German families, Wiedenfeld and Schladoer, arrived in 1852. …. the population grew to over 150 within thirty years. Many came from New Braunfels, Sisterdale, Bettina, and Kerrville, but some came directly from Europe. There were also English, Anglo-American, and Hispanic settlers. Plans to organize a township never materialized; however, a cemetery, shooting club, militia, and school-but no churches-were established early in the history of this liberal, freethinking community. A sawmill-gristmill named Perseverence Mill, constructed by Ernst Altgeltqv in 1855, served both the Cypress Creek community and the adjacent town of Comfort. A women's literary club maintained an active membership for over a hundred years.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Francis Edward Abernethy, Built in Texas, Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 42 (Waco: E-Heart Press, 1979). Francis Edward Abernethy, ed., T for Texas: A State Full of Folklore, Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 44 (Dallas: E-Heart, 1982). Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981). Guido E. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rev. ed. 1974). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. --- Glen E. Lich

HARTNETT, JEFFREY ALOYSIUS (1859-1899). Jeffrey Hartnett, first priest ordained in and for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas,qv son of Daniel T. and Honora Hartnett, was born in Ireland on April 20, 1859. …. In early 1899 a smallpox epidemic broke out in Dallas, and Hartnett took upon himself the duty of attending to the spiritual needs of the disease victims at the pesthouse six miles away. On the night of February 11-12, 1899, an unprecedented blizzard hit Dallas. … Hartnett walked to the pesthouse at the peak of the blizzard to administer last rites to a dying woman. He contracted smallpox, and on March 7, 1899, he died. His death deeply affected many people in the Dallas area. Expressions of regret were sent to the newspapers by a wide variety of organizations, from the Dallas City Council to the Ancient Order of Hibernians to the Dallas Freethinkers Association. The Dallas Morning Newsqv remarked: "No death which has occurred in Dallas for many years, has occasioned more general regret than that of Rev. Father Hartnett." A true Christian folk hero, Hartnett soon became known as a "martyr to duty" and was the inspiration of poems, stories, and popular devotion.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin. Dallas Morning News, February 12-14, 28, March 8-10, 1899. Southern Messenger, February 16, March 9, 16, 1899. Texas Catholic, July 11, 1891.

Aníbal A. González

FORTY. The Forty, or the Fortiers, a fraternity of German students with chapters at the universities of Giessen and Heidelberg and at the industrial academy of Darmstadt, was patterned in part on Étienne Cabet'sqv Icarian dream of a communistic utopia and Charles Fourier's idea of social inventiveness. Most members were born to families in government, business, and the sciences in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt. Named Die Vierziger, either for the size of their membership or the 1840s, the group was recruited in early 1847 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels,qv former commissioner-general of the Adelsvereinqv in Texas, to encourage the young professionals (among others, two musicians, an engineer, a theologian, an agriculturalist, two architects, seven lawyers, four foresters, and a lieutenant of artillery) to find new markets for their talents and also to boost the emigration society's sagging reputation and to focus German emigration on Texas. Count Carl of Castell-Castell,qv another officer of the society, wrote that the Forty "have the trust of their German countrymen, and if their settlement succeeds, there can be no doubt that the stream of emigration will be directed toward Texas." After crossing the Atlantic and reaching Texas, the Forty succeeded in establishing a short-lived settlement, named Bettina, in the Fisher-Miller Land Grantqv in the summer of 1847. Although this utopian venture organized around the principles of "friendship, freedom, and equality" lasted less than a year and two later attempts to establish the communes of Darmstädler Farm and Tusculum near New Braunfels and Sisterdale, respectively, were equally short-lived, many individuals in the fraternity became highly successful, notably San Antonio physician Ferdinand Ludwig Herff;qv Gustav Schleicher,qv engineer and legislator; and Jacob Kuechler,qv a local Unionist who became commissioner of the General Land Office in Austin. Others, like Christoph Flach and Johannes Hoerner, founded large and prominent Hill Country families which for four or five generations maintained freethinking practices, like secular funerals. The writings of members Louis Reinhardt and Phillip Friedrich Schenckqv illustrate the everyday experiences of the group in Texas; Herff wrote a political treatise in which he touches on the colony and generalizes on the founding principles; journalist Emma Murck Altgelt, geologist Ferdinand von Roemer, editor Ferdinand J. Lindheimerqqv and others not directly associated with the fraternity also commented on the group as a whole and on individual members. Vera Flach wrote a moving twentieth-century account of the acculturation of one of the Forty families.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Vera Flach, A Yankee in German-America: Texas Hill Country (San Antonio: Naylor, 1973). Ferdinand von Herff, The Regulated Emigration of the German Proletariat with Special Reference to Texas, trans. Arthur L. Finck (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1978). H. T. Edward Hertzberg, trans., "A Letter from Friedrich Schenck in Texas to His Mother in Germany, 1847," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 92 (July 1988). Glen E. Lich and Dona B. Reeves, eds., German Culture in Texas (Boston: Twayne, 1980). Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981). Louis Reinhardt, "The Communistic Colony of Bettina," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 3 (July 1899). --- Glen E. Lich

CZECHS. Czechs are a Slavic people from Bohemia, Moravia, and parts of Silesia. Among the first Czechs to arrive in Texas were the writer Carl Postlqv (Charles Sealsfield), who may have visited the Texas-Louisiana borderland as early as 1823; Frederick Lemský,qv who arrived in 1836 and played the fife in the Texas band at the battle of San Jacinto; Bohumir Menzl, a Catholic priest who moved to New Braunfels in 1840; and Anthony M. Dignowity.qv ….

Perhaps as many as 90 percent of the Czech immigrants were Catholics in their homeland, and the majority of these maintained an allegiance to the Catholic Churchqv in Texas. Their first church, a small log structure, was built at Ross Prairie in 1859. The most important pioneer Czech priest in Texas was Rev. Josef Chromcík, who arrived in Fayetteville in 1872. A significant minority of the immigrants were Protestants, however. Several independent congregations (the first had been established at Wesley in 1864) were organized into the denomination known as the Unity of the Brethren in 1903, chiefly through the efforts of Rev. Adolf Chlumský. Members of this group considered it to be a continuation of the traditional Czech religious movement of the same name, which had been suppressed by the Austrians in the seventeenth century. The Czechs in Texas also included freethinkers, who openly challenged all religious authority, but in general the freethinking movement among the Czechs was much less significant in Texas than it was in other parts of the United States, especially in the Midwest, where it often dominated Czech-American culture.

Friction between Czechs and Anglo-Americans was most pronounced during the Civil War. Many recent immigrants did not fully understand the conflict between North and South, and at the same time they were suspect as foreigners. Most significantly, virtually none of them had any allegiance to the institution of slavery,qv not only for moral reasons, but also because the concept of slavery was alien to their system of intensive family farming.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Christian Sisters Union Study Committee, Unity of the Brethren in Texas, 1855-1966 (Taylor, Texas: Unity of the Brethren, 1970). William Philip Hewitt, The Czechs in Texas: A Study of the Immigration and Development of Czech Ethnicity, 1850-1920 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1978). Estelle Hudson and Henry R. Maresh, Czech Pioneers of the Southwest (Dallas: South-West, 1934). Clinton Machann, ed., The Czechs in Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Department of English, 1979). Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl, Krásná Amerika: A Study of the Texas Czechs, 1851-1939 (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983).

BRANN, WILLIAM COWPER (1855-1898). William Cowper Brann, journalist, was born on January 4, 1855, in Coles County, Illinois, the son of Noble J. Brann, a Presbyterian minister. After his mother's death in 1857, he was placed in the care of a neighboring farm couple, William and Mary Hawkins. In 1868, when he was thirteen and in the third grade at school, he slipped away one night, with his few belongings in a small carton he could carry. He never returned, nor did he receive any further formal schooling. He worked as a hotel bellboy, then as a house painter's helper, and finally as a printer's devil and cub reporter. On March 3, 1877, he married Carrie Belle Martin at Rochelle, Illinois. They had two daughters and a son. In Houston in 1890 his daughter Inez took her own life, an event for which Brann blamed himself.

He moved from St. Louis to Galveston to Houston and then to San Antonio and gained a reputation as a brilliant though vitriolic editorialist. He worked for the St. Louis Globe Democrat from 1883 to 1886, then for the Galveston Evening Tribune and the Galveston News.qv He moved to Austin in 1891, worked briefly for the Austin Statesman (see austin american-statesman), and, staking all of his limited savings, launched the first issue of his "journal of personal protest," the Iconoclast.qv It failed. Brann disposed of his Austin press to writer William Sydney Porter,qv later famous as O. Henry, and left Texas. He returned in October 1892 as editor of the San Antonio Express (see san antonio express-news). Later in the year he moved to Houston as chief editorial writer for the Houston Post,qv and in 1894 he moved to Waco as chief editorialist for the Waco Daily News. In February 1895 he revived publication of the Iconoclast. This time it was successful and eventually attained a circulation of 100,000.

Brann took obvious relish in directing his stinging attacks upon institutions and persons he considered to be hypocritical or overly sanctimonious. He by no means confined his distaste to Baptists, but directed it generously to Episcopalians, anything British, women, and, perhaps with the greatest harshness, blacks. [Note: He was an unapologetic and virulent racist.—DFL] Among his targets was Baylor University, a Baptist institution that he scourged as "that great storm-center of misinformation." On October 2, 1897, Brann was kidnapped by student-society members and taken to the Baylor campus, where he was asked to retract his statements about the university. On October 6, having failed to leave town, he was beaten by a Baptist judge and two other men.

In November 1897 occurred a street gunfight between one of Brann's supporters, McLennan county judge G. B. Gerald, and the pro-Baylor editor of the Waco Times-Herald (see waco tribune-herald), J. W. Harris, and his brother W. A. Harris. Both Harrises died, and the judge lost an arm. On April 1, 1898, on one of Waco's main streets, Brann was shot in the back by a brooding supporter of Baylor University named Tom E. Davis. Before the editor died he was able to draw his own pistol and kill his assailant. Brann was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco.

Before his death he had gained popularity as a lecturer and tried his hand as a playwright. In 1889 he registered three plays at the Library of Congress: Cleon, That American Woman, and Retribution, the last of which was staged in 1893 in San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: William C. Brann, Complete Works of Bran, the Iconoclast (New York: Brann, 1919). Charles Carver, Brann the Iconoclast (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1957). Edward G. Fletcher and Jack L. Hart, Brann the Playwright (University of Texas Publication 4121, Austin, 1941). Susan Nelle Gregg, Waco's Apostle (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1986). Cathy Howard, "Brann's Iconoclast and the Fight Against Baylor University," Texas Historian, September 1980. Andy Kopplin, "W. C. Brann, a Texas Iconoclast," Texas Historian, May 1981. Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Gary Cleve Wilson, "Bane of the Baptists," Texas Monthly, January 1896.

William Brann, publisher of Iconoclast, is killed in Waco

On this day in 1898 (April 1st), controversial journalist William Cowper Brann was fatally shot in the back by Tom E. Davis on a Waco street. Brann managed to pull his own gun and kill Davis. Earlier in the decade Brann's newspaper, the Iconoclast, had launched a series of vitriolic attacks, especially on Baptists, Episcopalians, blacks, women, and anything British. [Note: He was an unapologetic and virulent racist.—DFL] He also went after nearby Baylor University, which he called "that great storm-center of misinformation." Brann was subsequently kidnapped on one occasion and beaten on another, and his supporters had a deadly gunfight with Baylor partisans. Davis, who killed Brann, was an irate supporter of Baylor. ---Roger N. Conger

ICONOCLAST. The Iconoclast, a widely read Texas magazine during the late 1890s, was first published in Austin in 1891 by William Cowper Brann.qv The first issue of the monthly appeared about August 1 and was funded in part by Texas newspaperman Charles A. Edwards. Because the paper was intended for national circulation, early press runs of each issue numbered 20,000, but the Austin venture failed in December when Edwards withdrew. The first issue of the quarterly Texas Iconoclast appeared in March 1892, and Brann turned the management of the publication over to Thomas M. Bowers, who directed the publication until its demise in 1894, when the name and the equipment of the publication reverted back to Brann. Brann sold the Iconoclast to William Sydney Porterqv (O. Henry) of Austin in March 1894. Porter reportedly published two numbers of the Iconoclast, although no copy of either issue is known to exist. Brann subsequently regained rights to the publication and reintroduced it in Waco in February 1895 as a monthly, Brann's Iconoclast. This latest venture was the most successful presentation of Brann's views on social, economic, political, and religious issues.

By 1897 national and foreign circulation had climbed to 98,000 copies. The Iconoclast was the only magazine of its type published west of the Mississippi River. It was the earliest and most successful of the small periodicals containing highly personalized opinion. Much of the popularity of the revised Iconoclast appeared to be directly attributable to the pugnacity of Brann, who received national publicity as a victim of physical attacks in October and November 1897, brought on by his outspoken commentary. Brann was fatally shot in April 1898, and editorial supervision of the May issue was assumed by W. H. Ward, Brann's business manager. He was succeeded as editor by G. B. Gerald. The publication was sold in July 1898 by Brann's widow, Carrie (Martin), to F. M. Marple and moved to Chicago in September 1898.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John R. Whitaker, W. C. Brann (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). --- W. W. Bennett

Rolling Stone rolls no more

On this day in 1895 [April 27th], the final issue of the weekly newspaper Rolling Stone was published in Austin. The Rolling Stone was the first publication of William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, who purchased the press of William Cowper Brann's Iconoclast. The first issue of the Rolling Stone appeared on April 28, 1894. In the paper, Porter lampooned local politicians, social customs, business practices, the performing arts, and other local and state targets. Some of his own short stories were first published in the Rolling Stone. He may have kept the paper alive with money embezzled from the First National Bank, where he worked as a teller. After being accused of the crime, he resigned and, without an income, was unable to continue publishing.

GERMAN FREE SCHOOL ASSOCIATION OF AUSTIN. The German Free School Association of Austin was chartered by the Texas legislatureqv on January 19, 1858, as the first chartered school in Austin, for the "education of the youth, the promotion of useful knowledge, and the advancement of the sciences." The school was to be "accessible to all alike without regard to religious opinions." The charter named Carl Wilhelm (William) von Rosenberg, Karl Wilhelm Pressler,qqv Joseph Martin, H. Steussy, Dr. J. A. Brown, William Sattler, and Christian Wilhelm as trustees. The two-story school building, at what is now identified as 507 East 10th Street, was constructed in 1857 with volunteer labor on land overlooking Waller Creek, donated by the von Rosenberg family. Two-story living quarters were added in 1872 for the schoolmaster, Julius Schuetze.qv Classes were taught in English with German probably as a second language. State funds for teachers were distributed by the Travis County Commissioners Court in 1858 at the rate of 10 cents per day per student for students not paying tuition, and at 1½ cents per day per student for students who were paying tuition. A larger number of nonpaying students attended the German Free School than any other school in Austin. The school became public when the city schools opened in 1871, but the transition was not smooth.

The German Free School Association's original charter expired at the end of its twenty-year term in 1879. A recharter of the Association was filed with the Department of State in 1884 by trustees Julius Schuetze, G. P. Assmann, R. Haschke, Ed Wolf, Ed Steiner, Max Haas, and Henry Vogel. The school closed soon thereafter, and the building was used by the Germania Verein. Schuetze and his family continued to stay in the family quarters and eventually purchased the rest of the building. Ownership of the former school building changed hands several times after Schuetze's death in 1904. Austin artist Dr. Kelly H. Stevens bought the structure in 1948 and painstakingly restored it for his home, using numerous architectural pieces salvaged from other Austin landmarks; he also established a lovely terraced garden. In August 1991 Stevens deeded the German Free School property to the German-Texan Heritage Society (founded in 1978), with the understanding that it would be preserved for future generations. The building is now the headquarters of the German-Texan Heritage Society and the German Free School Guild. The guild was established in 1993 as a volunteer service arm of the society to support the facility as a historic cultural center with a library, tours, beginning-German classes, and other regularly scheduled programs. The building carries an Austin landmark seal and a historical medallion from the Texas State Historical Survey Committee (now the Texas Historical Commissionqv).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin History Center Files. Willie Madora Long, Education in Austin Before the Public Schools (M.Ed. thesis, University of Texas, 1952). Helga von Schweinitz, "The German Free School in Austin, Texas," Journal of the German-Texan Heritage Society 16 (Fall 1994). --- Charles F. Kalteyer

ADELSVEREIN. The Adelsverein, also known as the Mainzer Verein, the Texas-Verein, and the German Emigration Company, was officially named the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas). Provisionally organized on April 20, 1842, by twenty-one German noblemen at Biebrich on the Rhine, near Mainz, the society represents a significant effort to establish a new Germany on Texas soil by means of an organized mass emigration. Such German publications as Charles Sealsfield's Das Kajütenbuch, oder Schilderungen aus dem Leben in Texas (1841), Detlef Dunt's Reise nach Texas nebst Nachrichten von diesem Lande (1834), and G. A. Scherpf's Entstehungsgeschichte und gegenwärtiger Zustand des neuen, unabhängigen Staates Texas (1841), which depicted in glowing terms the great personal liberty and the plentiful and productive land to be found in Texas, had served to direct the nobles' attention to the Republic of Texas as the best destination for an increasing German emigration. Accordingly, in May 1842 the association sent two of its members, counts Joseph of Boos-Waldeck and Victor August of Leiningen-Westerburg-Alt-Leiningenqqv to Texas to investigate the country firsthand and purchase a tract of land for the settlement of immigrants. Once in Texas, the two agents discussed colonizing a land grant with President Sam Houston,qv who, under the provisions of a law passed on February 5, 1842, was authorized to grant entire tracts of land to contractors who would colonize them. Boos-Waldeck and Alt-Leiningen declined Houston's offer of a grant, however, when they learned that it would be in frontier territory west of Austin and still inhabited by hostile Indians. In January 1843 Boos-Waldeck purchased a league of land (4,428 acres) in what is now Fayette County, near Industry, as the base for future colonization, and named it Nassau Farm,qv in honor of Duke Adolf of Nassau, the patron of the society. Boos-Waldeck remained in Texas a year developing the farm, and in May 1843 Alt-Leiningen returned to Mainz. Though Boos-Waldeck recommended against an immediate large-scale colonization effort, Alt-Leiningen supported such a venture. Accordingly, on June 18, 1843, the association was reorganized as a joint-stock company with a capital stock of 200,000 gulden ($80,000) for the acquisition of more land in Texas. In September the association was approached by Alexander Bourgeois d'Orvanne,qv a speculator, who with Armand Ducosqv held a colonization contract for a tract of land west of San Antonio. On March 25, 1844, the association was formally constituted as the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas with Prince Carl Emich III of Leiningenqv as president and Count Carl of Castell-Castellqv as business manager.

The society's goals were both philanthropic and commercial. They included the economic relief of the German proletariat by the direction of emigration to Texas and the establishment of German settlements in Texas, which would supply markets abroad for German industry and promote the development of German maritime commerce. In April 1844, when the society purchased from Bourgeois the colonization rights to his grant, the contract had already expired. Nevertheless, later that month the society dispatched Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfelsqv as general commissioner and Bourgeois as colonial director to Texas to seek renewal of the grant and to prepare for the arrival of colonists. Upon his arrival in Texas in July, Solms learned that Bourgeois could not renew his contract and that the society had acquired from him neither land nor colonization rights in Texas. In the meantime the society had already severed its ties with Bourgeois and, on June 26, 1844, had purchased colonization rights from another speculator, Henry Francis Fisher,qv who with Burchard Millerqv held a colonization contract for a tract of land between the Llano and Colorado rivers. The first immigrants disembarked in Texas in December 1844, near Carlshafen (later Indianola), the society's port of entry established by Prince Solms. Since no preparations had been made for settlement on the Fisher-Miller land grant,qv the immigrants were settled on two leagues of land at Comal Springs that Solms purchased on March 15, 1845, and named New Braunfels after his estate in Germany. On May 8, 1845, John O. Meusebach,qv Solms's successor as general commissioner in Texas, arrived at Carlshafen; in November he began making preparations for the arrival of 4,000 new immigrants. Fredericksburg, the society's second colony, was established by Meusebach in 1846 near the Pedernales River, where the year before he had bought over 11,000 acres of headright land.

Under Meusebach's administration, from May 1845 to July 20, 1847, when he resigned as general commissioner, the major part of the society's work in Texas was accomplished. Between October 1845 and April 1846 a total of 5,257 German emigrants were brought to Texas. In 1847 five settlements-Bettina, Castell, Leiningen, Meerholz, and Schoenburg-were established in the Fisher-Miller grant on the banks of the Llano River. Under Meusebach's successor, Hermann Spiess,qv no new settlements were founded.

By the end of 1847 the society was facing bankruptcy. Neither the appointment of Gustav Dreselqv as special business agent nor the attempt in 1848 to sell the society's holdings to another company was able to save the Adelsverein. Fisher attempted to revive the society under a new name, German Emigration Company. Spiess and Louis Bene, who succeeded Spiess in 1852 as general commissioner, carried on the society's business in Texas under that name until September 1853, when the company assigned all its properties and colonization rights to its creditors. Besides bringing over 7,000 German emigrants to Texas, the chief contribution of the society was to establish Texas as a major goal of subsequent emigration from Germany.

During its brief existence and long after its demise, the Adelsverein was beset by controversy. Though most of its critics acknowledged the philanthropic motives of the society's aristocratic founders-the desire to ease economic pressures on the German proletariat by providing in Texas a refuge for surplus German labor-they were also aware of the society's commercial objectives-assured markets for German industry, a reliable source of raw materials for her factories, and dividends and profits for the society's shareholders. Contemporary criticism of the society came chiefly from two sources: victims of the society's inept planning and mismanagement, who published in Germany letters to friends and book-length exposés of the hardships that they suffered in Texas; and German travelers to Texas who had visited the society's settlements there. The reports of the latter group, which included such writers as Viktor Bracht, Friedrich Kapp, and Ferdinand Roemer,qqv were generally much more balanced than the former in their view of the society's motives and its achievements. Some later accounts, written often by journalists, emphasized the more sensational and anecdotal features of the society's history. Chief among the popular chroniclers was August Siemering,qv a journalist and Forty-eighter, who even alleged that the Adelsverein had been founded at the instigation of Great Britain as a measure to halt the spread of slaveryqv in Texas and to prevent the annexationqv of Texas by the United States. Recent historical research supports, however, a mixed view of the society's motives and achievements. As an effort to establish a new Germany in Texas, the venture was a fiasco. The chief causes of its failure were not greed or the mean-spirited parsimony of its members, however, but their lack of business sense, the intrigues of land speculators and some members of the society, the naïveté of the nobles involved, and a lack of trust even in their own officers in Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Adelsverein Archives, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Don Hampton Biggers, German Pioneers in Texas (Fredericksburg, Texas: Fredericksburg Publishing, 1925). Chester William and Ethel Hander Geue, eds., A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844-1847 (Waco: Texian Press, 1966; enlarged ed. 1972). Irene M. King, John O. Meusebach, German Colonizer in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Ferdinand Roemer, Texas (Bonn: Marcus, 1849; trans., San Antonio: Standard, 1935; rpt., Waco: Texian Press, 1976). William von Rosenberg, "Kritik: A History of the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants to Texas," trans. Louis E. Brister, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 85 (October 1981, January, April 1982). Solms-Braunfels Archives (transcripts, Sophienburg Museum, New Braunfels, Texas; Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin). Moritz Tiling, History of the German Element in Texas (Houston: Rein and Sons, 1913). --- Louis E. Brister

LATIUM, TEXAS. Latium (pronounced "Latcham"), on Farm Road 389 near Pond Creek, is twelve miles from Brenham in the southwest corner of Washington County. It was one of five Latin colonies founded by German political refugees in Texas after 1848. Early German settlers included artist Rudolph Melchior, who decorated the Winedale Inn, and civil engineer Hermann R. von Bieberstein, later a prominent Texas surveyor. Czechs arrived at Latium in 1868. Reverend Josef Chromcik,qv the first missionary to Texas Catholic Czech immigrants, began a mission there in 1873. A post office was established in 1884 and discontinued in 1907. Latium's population was fifty in 1892. A school operated at the community from 1885 to 1948. Czechs, who eventually came to predominate in the community, built Sacred Heart Catholic Church in 1918; services were still held there in the late 1980s. Latium has served as a supply point for the surrounding agricultural area for most of the twentieth century. The estimated population, predominantly Czech with a German minority, was thirty in 1988. At that time Latium had a Catholic church, a Czech Catholic cemetery, a service station, a volunteer fire department, and a general store, which also served as a community center.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Estelle Hudson and Henry R. Maresh, Czech Pioneers of the Southwest (Dallas: South-West, 1934). --- Carole E. Christian

LINCECUM, GIDEON (1793-1874). Gideon Lincecum, physician, philosopher, and naturalist, son of Hezekiah and Sally (Hickman) Lincecum, was born in Warren County, Georgia, on April 22, 1793. After successive moves he and his wife, the former Sarah Bryan, moved in 1818 with his parents and siblings to the Tombigbee River above the site of present Columbus, Mississippi. From there in January 1835 Lincecum joined an exploring expedition to Texas. In 1848, after years of practicing medicine with herbal remedies learned from Indians and trading with the Indians on the Tombigbee, he moved to Texas. He purchased 1,828 acres of the fertile prairie land he had seen on his Texas visit thirteen years before. Lincecum, Sarah, and their surviving ten children, a number of grandchildren, and ten slaves arrived in Long Point on his fifty-fifth birthday.

In Texas Lincecum continued to practice medicine, made geological explorations, assembled a plant collection including 500 species with medicinal properties, kept a meteorological journal that charted drought cycles, and observed and recorded the daily activities of insect life. He became recognized as an astute naturalist, corresponded with internationally known scientists, and contributed valuable collections to the Philadelphia Academy of Science and the Smithsonian Institution. He was elected a corresponding member of the Philadelphia Academy, a rare honor for an amateur. His writings appeared in such national publications as the American Naturalist, the American Sportsman, and the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, and his views on a variety of subjects, including politics, appeared in the Texas Almanacqv and in newspapers. Charles Darwin sponsored the publication of Lincecum's controversial paper on the agricultural ant in the Journal of the Linnaean Society of London in 1862.

Lincecum was self-educated and spent his boyhood principally in the company of Muskogees. While living among the Choctaws in Mississippi he recorded their legends and traditions in Choctaw and after moving to Texas translated it as the "Chahta Tradition." Some of these were published by the Mississippi Historical Society in 1904. His manuscripts, particularly those of his Choctaw notes and his study of agricultural ants, and his plant collection have been examined and used by a number of later scholars. Lincecum was opposed to organized religion and considered himself an atheist and free-thinker. He was an ardent advocate of castration for criminals and mental misfits and led a vigorous campaign to legalize castration as the only method of improving the human race.

He sought a new frontier in 1868 and, at the age of seventy-six, with a widowed daughter and her seven children, joined a Confederate colony in Tuxpan, Vera Cruz, Mexico. He spent five years there working his banana plantation, exploring Indian ruins, and continuing his natural history collection and correspondence. He returned to Texas in 1873 and devoted his remaining years to writing his autobiography in a series of letters printed in the American Sportsman. After a long illness he died on November 28, 1874, at his Long Point home. He was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, between Burton and Long Point, and his remains were moved to the State Cemeteryqv in Austin in 1936.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lois Wood Burkhalter, Gideon Lincecum, 1793-1874: A Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965). Jerry Bryan Lincecum and Edward Hake Phillips, eds. Adventures of a Frontier Naturalist: The Life and Times of Dr. Gideon Lincecum (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1994). --- Lois Wood Burkhalter

EASTER FIRES. On the Saturday evening preceding Easter, bonfires are lit atop as many as twenty-two specified hills flanking the Texas German town of Fredericksburg. At the appointed hour the church bells of the town toll, lights are extinguished, and the hilltops burst into flame. Elsewhere in the Hill Country,qv Easter Fires were reputedly once lit on heights such as the one at Kreutzberg, eight miles east of Boerne in Kendall County, but the Fredericksburg celebration is the only surviving one. In recent times the Easter Fires have become a tourist attraction, complete with a pageant at the fairgrounds, but the custom originally was part of the local German folk tradition. The fires, dating from the first Easter celebration in 1847, are almost as old as the town itself. According to local tradition, the custom originated when Comanche Indian scouts lit signal fires in the night to communicate with their chiefs, who were negotiating a treaty with German leader John O. Meusebachqv many miles to the north, beyond the Llano River. The scouts presumably were informing their chiefs concerning the movements of the town's inhabitants. According to this tradition, the signal fires terrified some German children in Fredericksburg, prompting one imaginative mother to tell her children that the Easter Rabbit and his helpers had lit the fires to cook eggs before decorating and distributing them among the children on Easter morning. Many Fredericksburgers, therefore, believe the Easter Fires are an indigenous custom linked to the founding of their town. In reality, the Easter Fires have a much more ancient history. The people of northwestern Germany, especially in the provinces of Westphalia and Lower Saxony, practice an identical custom of lighting Easter-eve fires on specified hills. The practice originated in preChristian times as part of a spring festival and, along with the rabbit and egg, represents pagan customs that passed intact into Teutonic Christianity. The German provinces where Easter Fires occur contributed almost half of the settlers who came to the Texas Hill Country. The most likely agents of diffusion were Hanoverians, one of the two largest groups in early Fredericksburg. A second point, equally damaging to the signal-fire story, is that the Meusebach-Comanche negotiations (see MEUSEBACH-COMANCHE TREATY) occurred on March 1 and 2, 1847, while Easter eve in that year fell on April 3. Perhaps these two major events in Fredericksburg's first spring later merged in the popular mind, or possibly the initial Easter Fires frightened German children from Hesse or some other southern province where the custom was unknown. In any case, the Old World origin of the fires is incontestable.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Francis Edward Abernethy and Dan Beaty, eds., The Folklore of Texan Cultures (Austin: Encino, 1974). Irene M. King, John O. Meusebach, German Colonizer in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). --- Terry G. Jordan

DUFLOT, JOSEPH LEO (1881-1957). Joseph Leo Duflot, sociology professor, was born on May 4, 1881, in Kentucky. He received a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University and a B.A. degree from Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green, where he met Elizabeth Meloo, a fellow student, whom he married in 1908. That year Duflot began his teaching career, and in 1915 he became principal of Amarillo High School. He held that position until the fall of 1918, when he joined the faculty at West Texas State Teachers' College (now West Texas A&M University) in Canyon after doing graduate work at the University of Chicago. Duflot organized the college's sociology department and became its chairman. In 1929 he obtained his master's degree in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he worked as a Laura Spellman Rockefeller research assistant and completed residence requirements for the doctoral degree.

Duflot's philosophy, which he sought to pass on to his students, contrasted sharply with the conservative religious atmosphere prevalent in West Texas during the early decades of the twentieth century. Although he had joined the First Presbyterian Church in Canyon and begun teaching Sunday school shortly after his arrival in 1918, Duflot was dismissed by the church in July 1921 for allegedly mixing evolution with the Genesis account of creation and questioning the veracity of certain passages in the Bible. Wishing to maintain friendly relations with the denomination, he subsequently united with the Presbyterian congregation in Amarillo. From there Duflot's teachings eventually reached the ears of Jack L. Neville, a fundamentalist preacher whose show was known locally as the "Flying Parson of the Panhandle Church of the Air." When the Baptist State Convention met at Amarillo in November 1930, J. Franklyn Norris,qv Baptist pastor and editor of The Fundamentalist, arrived from Fort Worth to conduct a series of revivals, many of which were broadcast on Neville's radio program from Station KGRS.

Beginning the second week in December 1930, Norris instigated a series of personal attacks against Duflot and his "modernist" philosophy. Basically, the controversy involved two issues. For one thing, Norris had told a story he had heard from W. B. Riley, pastor of the Fundamentalist Baptist Church at Minneapolis, Minnesota, concerning a group of professors who had been tricked into believing that an abnormally large human tooth, recently extracted, was that of a prehistoric animal extinct for some six million years. Upon hearing that story, Duflot had asked his students to apply the principles of critical thinking he had taught them to the incident; the students concluded that the episode probably never happened. Norris considered that conclusion to be an attack against his honesty. Secondly, Duflot had circulated a questionnaire among his students on behalf of two seniors who were researching the behavior and characteristics of an only child. The professor had assured them that their responses were to be strictly voluntary, anonymous, and in private. Norris, who had somehow obtained a copy of the questionnaire, accused Duflot of trying to wrest lewd and improper information from his charges. The climax of the controversy occurred on December 12, when Norris staged a rally at the courthouse square in Canyon. Earlier, Norris had invited Duflot to meet him on that date in a debating session, which the professor had politely declined, preferring instead to play golf that day. At the rally Norris reiterated what he had broadcast over the airwaves, condemning Duflot as "an orangutang, God-denying, Bible-destroying, evolutionist professor" with atheistic tendencies and urging that he be dismissed from the West Texas State faculty. Although Duflot was called in for a hearing by the college's board of regents, he ably exonerated himself. Afterward, in reaction to Norris's printed speech in the December 19 issue of The Fundamentalist, Duflot wrote a forty-page manuscript in which he sought to clarify the issues involved and defend his belief in academic freedom.

Although his conflict with the fundamentalists was never entirely resolved, Duflot continued in his departmental chair at West Texas State. His students affectionately nicknamed him "Jumping Joe" because of his flashing eyes and expressive gestures that he used to get his points across. Duflot was a lifelong member of the Texas State Teachers' Associationqv and served as president of the Canyon organization of University of Chicago alumni from 1936 to 1940. He also was president of the Southwest Sociological Society in 1946-47 and was a member of the American Sociological Society. In 1951, after thirty-three years as department head, he retired from teaching.

Duflot was the father of three children by his first marriage. After his first wife's death he married Agnes Warriner, a former West Texas State student, in 1956. They moved to Houston, where Duflot died on February 21, 1957. He was buried in the Memory Gardens Cemetery at Canyon. His papers are in the Research Center of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.qv

BIBLIOGRAPHY: James T. Hickman, "The Preacher and the Professor," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 59 (1986). Ruth Lowes and W. Mitchell Jones, We'll Remember Thee: An Informal History of West Texas State University (Canyon: WTSU Alumni Association, 1984). --- H. Allen Anderson

PARSONS, LUCY ELDINE (1853?-1942). Lucy E. Parsons, radical activist and prominent figure in the 1886 Chicago Haymarket riot, was born in Texas, probably in March 1853. Contemporary newspapers consistently identified her as a Negro; she claimed that her dark skin came from Mexican and Indian ancestors. She furnished a variety of Anglo and Spanish maiden names on different legal documents, but her true parentage is unknown, and she may have been born a slave. The circumstances of her early relationship with Albert R. Parsonsqv are also speculative. Despite Albert's claim that he first encountered Lucy on her uncle's ranch in Johnson County, they probably met during Reconstructionqv in Waco, where Lucy was apparently well known and Albert worked for black suffrage and for a time edited a Radical Republican newspaper. Although no marriage record has ever been found, Albert and Lucy claimed to have been married in Austin in 1871, and they moved to Chicago together in 1873. After Albert was blacklisted as a printer for his role in the 1877 railroad strikes, the couple operated a dressmaking business at home. They had two children. Lucy and Albert Parsons became disillusioned with electoral politics and by 1883 began to call themselves anarchists. Both were outspoken atheists. They joined the International Working People's Association, which advocated the forcible overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a society based on the exchange of goods among autonomous communes and trade unions. The IWPA advocated racial and sexual equality and secular education for both sexes, positions Lucy Parsons supported all her life. In October 1884 the IWPA began to publish the Alarm, edited by Albert Parsons. To this newspaper his wife contributed articles on child labor and lynchings of blacks. Her article "To Tramps, the Unemployed, Disinherited, and Miserable," in which she advised the poor to learn how to use explosives as weapons against the rich, was widely distributed as a flyer. By 1885 Lucy was a well-known radical speaker, and on April 28, 1885, she led a protest march on the newly opened Chicago Board of Trade.

On May 1, 1886, both Parsonses led 80,000 people up Michigan Avenue in Chicago, inaugurating a general strike for the eight-hour day. Three days later seven policemen and several citizens were fatally wounded during a confrontation in Haymarket Square. Eight anarchists, among them Albert Parsons, were tried and convicted of conspiracy to murder, though the prosecution openly acknowledged that none of the defendants had thrown the bomb that had caused police to fire on the crowd. Lucy Parsons's "To Tramps" was submitted as evidence to demonstrate the alleged conspiracy. Seven of the eight were condemned to death. After the verdict, Lucy undertook an extensive speaking tour to arouse public opinion about the Chicago trial and to raise money for an appeal. She was closely watched by police and arrested and jailed in Columbus, Ohio. Despite her efforts and those of many well-known individuals, both in the United States and in Europe, Parsons and three of his companions were executed on November 11, 1887. Lucy Parsons believed that working class revolution would eliminate not only poverty but racial and sexual discrimination as well, and she devoted the remainder of her long life to the cause of revolutionary socialism. The Chicago police considered her "more dangerous than a thousand rioters" and broke up her meetings for thirty years after the Haymarket trial. She published books and pamphlets, traveled and lectured extensively, contributed to publications for social change, and published the newspapers Freedom (1892) and The Liberator (1905-06). She was a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World and later was associated with the Communist Party, U.S.A. Lucy Parsons died in a fire in her home in Chicago on March 7, 1942. She was buried next to the Haymarket monument in Waldheim Cemetery outside Chicago.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Carolyn Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, American Revolutionary (Chicago: Illinois Labor History Society, 1976). Paul Avrich, The Haymarket Tragedy (Princeton University Press, 1984). Henry David, The History of the Haymarket Affair (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1936; 3d ed., New York: Collier, 1963). --- Carolyn Ashbaugh

FUNDAMENTALISM. Fundamentalism is usually characterized by scholars as a religious response to modernism, especially the theory of evolution as an explanation of human origins and the idea that solutions to problems can be found without regard to traditional religious values. Protestant Christian fundamentalists hold that the Bible is the final authority on matters of all sorts, that it is infallible in every way, including details of its stories which appear to be in conflict with modern scientific teaching, and that the "fundamental" tenets of the faith are nonnegotiable and exempt from the varieties of interpretation that members of less authoritarian religious bodies might place on such teachings. Fundamentalists constitute one part of the larger group of Protestants called evangelicals, who believe that they are bound by God to win converts to their faith, usually both from the ranks of nonbelievers and from those of adherents to other forms of religious belief, including other branches of Christianity. Protestant fundamentalists sometimes embrace a view of the end of human history called premillenialism, the expectation that Jesus Christ will return to earth, having triumphed over the forces of evil and degradation, then usher in and preside over a period of 1,000 years of heavenly peace on earth. Though there have been large numbers of biblical literalists among African-American Christians, militant fundamentalism in Texas most often has been an outgrowth of white evangelicalism.

Texas fundamentalists' activities unfolded within three general time periods in the twentieth century. Dismissed by many observers as backward-looking, anti-intellectual, and dangerous, for approximately the first thirty years of the twentieth century fundamentalists in Texas waged a form of religious warfare against the cultural and educational changes associated with modernism. Their tendency was to do intellectual, political, and legal battle with their modernist opponents, especially with the goal of winning control of religious institutions and using the apparatus of secular governments to attempt to stamp out instances of modernist influence. During the first period Texas gave the nation one of its most remarkable fundamentalist leaders, Baptist pastor J. Frank Norrisqv of Fort Worth. Throughout the century it provided homes for some of the best-known fundamentalist institutions and movements. But during the middle years of the century fundamentalists in general attracted and sought less public attention. Unable to win control of mainstream religious organizations or achieve their most fervently longed-for changes in society through legal means, they followed for the middle third of the century a strategy of separating themselves from people who disagreed with them on the fundamentals of the faith. Texas fundamentalists participated enthusiastically and publicly in anticommunist activity in the 1950s and 1960s. But most of their efforts in the middle period went toward the establishment of their own schools, publishing concerns, and broadcast-media facilities. They also helped build an evangelical subculture during those years that surfaced later to take on highly visible roles in national debates over public policy and personal morality, thus making the state a focal point in the last third of the century for the merger of conservative politics and traditionalist religion. In the latter decades of the twentieth century, fundamentalists in Texas returned to many of the methods they had employed in their public and institutional battles in the first part of the century. This last period also saw the embrace of modern methods of persuasion and marketing by fundamentalists determined to restore old values to prominence in the United States. Their reemergence in the major denominations from which fundamentalists had separated in earlier years reflected in the last third of the century a national trend back to the kinds of intrachurch conflict aimed at ridding denominations of suspected liberal influence that had characterized fundamentalism in its beginnings.

Fundamentalism in Texas had its roots in intrachurch controversies of the nineteenth century that originated in other parts of the South. The "restorationist" movement embodied within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Church of Christ,qqv the attempt to recreate church life on the presumed New Testament model, attracted many separatist Baptists and Presbyterians. In Texas much of the restorationist impulse within the Disciples of Christ issued from a dispute between their publishing houses. Firm Foundation in Austin argued an exclusivist position, based greatly on the growing insistence over forbidding the use of musical instruments in worship services; this prohibition characterized Church of Christ practice and pointed many Disciples in the direction of the Churches of Christ. Opposing this position was the Christian Courierqv publishing concern in Dallas. Members of the Church of Christ and many people within Southern Baptist congregations held the exclusivist view that theirs was the only legitimate church; among Baptists this view was called Landmarkism (see LANDMARK MOVEMENT). Their disapproval of the beliefs of those who disagreed with them, including the majority of Texas Baptists, set the stage for some of the bitter intradenominational struggles in the twentieth century and helped initiate a tradition of Baptist separatism.

Fundamentalists in Texas wasted little time in trying to use the power of the state to prevent the spread of modernist teaching. In 1923, state representatives S. J. Howeth of Johnson County and J. T. Stroder of Navarro County, a Baptist minister and Baptist layman, respectively, introduced the legislature's first antievolution bill. If it had passed, it would have predated by almost two years the Tennessee act prohibiting the teaching of the theory of evolution in state-funded schools that led to the famous trial of John Thomas Scopes in Dayton, Tennessee (1925). The measure failed, though the House passed a resolution condemning the theory of evolution during one of the year's special sessions. During House debates, Stroder claimed to have received the support of William Jennings Bryan, who went on to help prosecute the Scopes case in Tennessee. Other efforts were made over the years to pass legislation in Texas limiting modernist teaching or encouraging Christian perspectives in public education. Church groups advocated legislation authorizing the inclusion of Bible courses in public school curricula and brought pressure on the legislature to make it illegal for public schools to employ agnostics or atheists. Such pressure affected the filling of the presidency of the University of Texas in 1924 and prompted a move the next year to prohibit the university's employment of anyone who was an "infidel, atheist, or agnostic." Texas reaction to the Scopes trial included resolutions by church groups and editorials favoring the prosecution of Scopes in fundamentalist newspapers, especially the Searchlight, J. Frank Norris's paper published in Fort Worth, leading secular newspapers of the state, and papers in small towns in heavily Protestant East and Central Texas, where fundamentalist support was strongest in the 1920s. Supportive statements came from various elected officials all over Texas. Nationally, however, the Scopes trial generated much ridicule for fundamentalists, who were lampooned in many publications. This ridicule helped account for the comparative movement of fundamentalism in Texas out of the public eye between the 1930s and the 1960s. The fundamentalists had succeeded, however, in reducing instruction in evolution in the schools for several decades. In the late 1950s, an unexpected source of renewed emphasis on teaching evolution arose: the accelerated national program of science instruction prompted by fears of falling behind the Soviet Union in military research and technology. Though fundamentalists had no shortage of anticommunist fervor, they opposed the teaching of evolution in post-Sputnik science curricula intended to help American students compete with their Soviet counterparts. Fundamentalist-sponsored antievolution rallies were held in Texas throughout much of the 1960s, including a large ecumenical conference devoted to that purpose in Houston in 1968.

Though the state legislature never passed an antievolution bill, fundamentalists managed to force the removal of discussions of evolution from state-adopted textbooks in 1925. Mel and Norma Gabler of Longview became nationally known in the 1970s and 1980s for their ability to win changes in or outright rejection of proposed Texas public schoolbooks they and others found offensive. But fundamentalist forebears pioneered their tactics in the 1920s. Despite the failure of antimodernist legislation in the state, Governor Miriam A. Fergusonqv and the state's textbook commission and board of education ensured that no biology texts would be adopted for Texas schools which mentioned evolution; they threatened teachers with dismissal from their jobs if they were discovered using textbooks that did so. Ma Ferguson's immediate predecessor as governor, the future president of Baylor University, Pat M. Neff,qv had made public assurances that the state would adopt no textbook that conflicted with biblical teaching. Sixty years later, the issue was still alive. The state Republican party called in 1988 for teaching of the origins of life in the schools to be "balanced" between creationist views and evolutionary ones. It seemed that the power of the Gablers and their allies might have diminished when the state's board of education approved guidelines in 1988 to provide for discussion of evolution in high school geology texts and in 1989 for inclusion in high school biology texts of "scientific evidence of evolution and reliable scientific theories, if any." But some interpreted such decisions as victories for antimodernist viewpoints because of precedents they set for control of evolutionary teaching.

Much of the fundamentalist energy directed toward politics, especially the crusade against communism and other threats to fundamentalist Christian views of society, transformed many apparently secular issues into religious ones. Communism came to be seen not just as a political and economic alternative to the capitalist democracy of the United States, but as a promoter of modernism and anti-Christian sentiments as well. Texas fundamentalists drew inspiration from the fact that one of the principal heroes of anticommunism, John Birch, had been a student for a time before World War IIqv in the Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute, later renamed Bible Baptist Seminary, in Arlington. J. Frank Norris, one of the chief patrons of the fundamentalist seminary, helped solidify the ties between anticommunism and fundamentalism when he addressed the state legislature in 1949, calling for an end to tax-derived support for colleges and universities that had allowed their faculties to be infiltrated by communists. Prominent fundamentalists blamed communism for such progressive initiatives as desegregation and the civil-rights movement.qv Through much of the 1950s, many Texas fundamentalists supported efforts to resist racial integration and attacked such prointegration figures as Thomas B. Maston,qv a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Fundamentalists also provided much of the most loyal support of Martin Diesqv of Texas, the prominent chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In 1960 the national Christian Anti-Communist Crusade established one of its four regional offices in Houston. Similar organizations appeared in Dallas in the early 1960s.

Several denominational purges were attempted by fundamentalists during the 1920s. The Methodist Churchqv lost members and congregations over the premillenialist doctrine, especially as it was questioned by professors at Methodist-sponsored institutions who had embraced the new methods of "higher criticism" in biblical scholarship. The church was attacked by militant Methodist evangelist William E. Hawkins in 1922 in connection with the teaching of evolution in Methodist schools. Southern Methodist University professor Mims Workman was dismissed from the school's faculty in 1925 because of his supposedly heterodox views. Moderate Methodists won a victory, however, in 1927, when William Hawkins's governing conference withdrew his ministerial credentials. Hawkins set up headquarters at the new fundamentalist seminary in Dallas, which came to be called Dallas Theological Seminary, and inaugurated a radio program. Texas Disciples of Christ made their own investigation of possible heterodoxy in their schools. Presbyterians' debates over biblical inerrancy heated up when controversial pastor William Caldwell moved from Baltimore to Fort Worth. Texas Episcopalians witnessed a controversy that broke out in 1923 over the modernist views of Fort Worth priest Lee W. Heaton, who was never tried for heresy but who was publicly rebuked by Bishop Co-adjutor Harry T. Moore of Dallas. Dallas Theological Seminary was symptomatic of a new strategy fundamentalists increasingly followed, both as groups and as individuals, of separation from the main bodies of churches they considered to have become irretrievably worldly. Much of the growth of such separatist groups as the Pentecostal churches and the Church of the Nazareneqv dates from this period. The new seminary in Dallas resulted in part from a split among Presbyterians in the 1920s over fundamentalist views and became a national center for dispensationalism, the belief that human history is divided into ages, or dispensations, and that the present one will be the last. It was also in part an outgrowth of the vision of Cyrus I. Scofield,qv an influential Congregationalist pastor in Dallas and editor of the renowned Scofield Reference Bible. Dallas Theological Seminary became widely noted through another reference Bible edited by one of its faculty members and oriented toward dispensational premillenialism, the Ryrie Study Bible.

From the 1930s until the 1970s, most mainstream denominational groups experienced relatively peaceful times, principally because of the departure from their ranks of unhappy militants. Many fundamentalist dissidents, including J. Frank Norris, left mainstream churches to join or form their own purist denominations, the principal exception being a sizable contingent within the Texas convention of Southern Baptists, who kept alive a tradition of fundamentalist dissent beginning in the teens. Militant fundamentalist Texas Baptists were led in large part after the 1950s by W. A. Criswell, longtime pastor of the gigantic First Baptist Church of Dallas,qv who burst onto the national scene as a result of highly publicized remarks critical of racial desegregation. Unlike Norris, Criswell never removed himself or his church from Southern Baptist affiliation, but his biblical literalism made him and his church the focal points around which emerged a growing movement that challenged the entire structure of Southern Baptist work in the 1970s. First Baptist Church, Dallas, furthermore, sponsored a separatist system of private schools, fostered a close relationship with Dallas Baptist University, and in 1971 started a seminary, the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies. In these schools, the children of church members and likeminded people could move from kindergarten through graduate study in school environments that they considered theologically safe, unlike those found in the public schools and universities and in denominationally affiliated schools they considered wayward, such as Southern Methodist University and Baylor University. Criswell's allies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including James Robison and Jimmy Draper, helped promote an atmosphere of discontent with the moral drift they saw in modern society and put pressure on churches of various denominations to take stands on such issues as the changing roles of women, mandated prayers in public schools, and, with increasing importance, abortion. Robison's television ministry generated considerable controversy in the 1970s and 1980s because of his blistering attacks on nontraditional modes of life, especially homosexuality.

Much of the focus of Baptist disagreement in Texas has had to do with Baylor University. Promodernist views and opposition to American participation in World War Iqv cost Baylor professor J. L. Kessler his job. Norris's tireless assaults caused the departure of Grove S. Dow from the faculty in 1923 because of his authorship of a book describing the social and biological aspects of human development. Criticisms of Baylor came not just from Norris. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary contributed somewhat to the fundamentalist critique of modernist scholarship at Baylor and elsewhere. Seminary faculty members J. J. Reeve and Charles B. Williams contributed articles to The Fundamentals, the national series of pamphlets that promoted adherence to the basic catalog of fundamentalist teachings. Though the seminary received a great deal of attention from Norris as well, several of its faculty members and President Lee R. Scarborough joined in occasional criticisms of Baylor faculty members suspected of unorthodox beliefs. Periodic attacks on Baylor faculty by conservative Baptists continued, and intensified during the 1970s and 1980s as the resurgent fundamentalist movement began to gain power in Southern Baptist life. The new attacks focused especially on Baylor's religion department and to a slightly lesser degree on the general direction of the university. In a dramatic surprise move to cut off the possibility of a fundamentalist takeover, a majority of Baylor trustees in 1991 voted to invoke charter privileges dating back to the nineteenth century and sever legal ties with the Texas Baptist Convention. For more than 100 years, the convention had exercised power to appoint the school's trustees, a growing minority of whom were in the fundamentalist camp by the time of the charter change.

During the last quarter of the twentieth century Texas Baptists showed in other ways as well how fundamentalist controversies had moved back where they began, within denominations rather than between them. The Southern Baptist Convention became a key arena in which Texas fundamentalist Baptists perfected a new strategy for altering church bodies they considered wayward, one of conquest from within. Two Texans, President Paige Patterson of the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies and Judge Paul Pressler of Houston, orchestrated a long-range takeover attempt built around winning the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention, an office with the enormous power of appointing trustees of national Southern Baptist agencies and seminaries. On the strength of their superb organizational abilities and their claim to speak for the majority of Southern Baptists, the Pressler-Patterson faction won the first of a remarkable string of victories at the 1979 convention meeting in Houston and appeared to have assured control of the denomination by the 1985 meeting in Dallas. During the mid-1990s, the militant fundamentalist wing of Southern Baptists controlled virtually every aspect of national Southern Baptist life and vied with moderate forces for supremacy within the state conventions. In 1994 fundamentalist trustees of Southwestern Seminary consummated their takeover of the Fort Worth school when they fired moderate President Russell Dilday. Their action prompted an outcry from many Texas Baptists and increased interest in the moderate seminary Baylor was making moves to form.

Militant Texas fundamentalists offered key participation in the rise of the new "Religious Right," especially during the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Houston preacher Bob Thieme, whom a historian called "a bombastic, superpatriotic colonel...preaching an astoundingly militaristic gospel," gained attention as a friend and spiritual mentor of the families of Marilyn Tucker Quayle and Dan Quayle, George Bush's vice president. As part of a religious coalition that would have seemed impossible in earlier days, many Texas Baptist fundamentalists and other conservatives within mainstream Protestant and fundamentalist denominations worked to deliver evangelical votes to conservative candidates, especially those who, alongside Catholics, opposed abortion. Politically if not in religious doctrine, the antiabortion cause and attempts to change government policies toward church schools united fundamentalist Protestants, whose ancestors had nourished deep hostility toward Catholicism, with Catholics. Seeking to shed the "backwoods" image of fundamentalism, which had always been exaggerated, and to distance themselves from Pentecostals and Charismatics, Texas fundamentalists took pride in the educational attainments and modern tactics of their leadership and sought out kindred spirits in other parts of the religious landscape. As the twentieth century drew toward its close, they continued to help set much of the national agenda of the political crusade to reverse social and cultural changes that they did not want.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972). Randall Balmer, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). "Fundamentalism," "Modernism and Religion," "Politics and Religion," "Restorationist Christianity," in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989). Norman F. Furniss, The Fundamentalist Controversy, 1918-1931 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954). Ray Ginger, Six Days or Forever?: Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes (London: Oxford University Press, 1974). Robert T. Handy, A Christian America: Protestant Hopes and Historical Realities (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971). Patsy Spencer Ledbetter, Crusade for the Faith: The Protestant Fundamentalist Movement in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, North Texas State University, 1975). Patsy Spencer Ledbetter, "Texas Fundamentalism: Secular Phases of a Religious Conflict, 1920-1929," Red River Valley Historical Review 6 (Fall 1981). George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980). Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Fundamentalisms Observed (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Fundamentalisms and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Fundamentalisms and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). Howard Miller, "Texas," in Religion in the Southern States, ed. Samuel S. Hill (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1983). Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr., Religious Fundamentalism and American Education (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990). C. Allyn Russell, Voices of American Fundamentalism (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976). Clyde Wilcox, God's Warriors: The Christian Right in Twentieth-Century America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). Garry Wills, Under God: Religion and American Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990). --- David Stricklin

SMITH, WILFORD BASCOM (1884-1939). Wilford Bascom (Pitchfork) Smith, magazine editor and orator, son of Morgan Allen and Sarah (Martin) Smith, was born near Thackerville, Oklahoma, on March 17, 1884. His father, an itinerant Methodist minister, was a socialist who wrote columns for the Hallettsville Rebel and for The Pitchfork. Smith grew up in Garland and other North Texas towns where his father ministered. He graduated from East Texas Normal College (now East Texas State University) at Commerce in 1902 and taught public school for three terms. Smith started a weekly newspaper, the Enloe Ensign, but it quickly failed. After traveling as a book salesman he worked for a law firm in Kansas City, Missouri. He was admitted to the Missouri bar in 1905, the year he married Blanche Le Seur, a widow with a daughter. In January 1907 Smith published the first issue of Plain Talk, a muckraking monthly modeled on the Iconoclastqv of William Cowper Brann.qv By July, Smith's criticism of local issues caused Kansas City officials to suppress Plain Talk. He changed the name of his magazine to The Pitchfork, but his incendiary rhetoric and radical views on such issues as race relations provoked further suppression and public burnings of his magazine. Smith moved to Dallas and continued to publish The Pitchfork there, starting in October 1908 and continuing until his death in 1939. In 1910 he became an ardent socialist, but by 1914 he had renounced socialism in favor of the single-tax theories of Henry George, convinced that private ownership of large tracts of land contributed to poverty. He was a lifelong champion of social justice and spoke up for the rights of working people against the alleged tyranny of government or the wealthy few. Smith supported prison reform and opposed prohibition.qv

As an editor and a popular public speaker, Pitchfork Smith led many reform campaigns against those he considered medical, commercial, or religious frauds and hypocrites. he spoke on various public occasions, often for the Fraternal Order of Elks, of which he was an enthusiastic member. In 1918 he sued the Dallas Morning Newsqv for two cents for suppression of news. In 1928 Smith was arrested for disturbance of public worship when he broke up a rally led by the controversial Fort Worth preacher J. Frank Norris.qv In his own courtroom defense Smith did not deny his action but declared himself innocent because the Norris meeting was not religious and went against constitutional values. The jury acquitted him in three minutes. Smith died on July 10, 1939, in Dallas and was buried at Grove Hill Cemetery. At his funeral, a friend delivered an address Smith had previously given on the immortality of the soul. Someone else read the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. The headline on his Dallas Morning News obituary read: "Death Wins Argument With Pitchfork Smith."

BIBLIOGRAPHY: William W. Baxley, Pitchfork Smith: Texas Liberal (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1944). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. --- James McEnteer

GIBSON, JEWEL HENSON (1904-1989). Jewel Henson Gibson, author, was born in the East Texas town of Bald Prairie on July 1, 1904, the oldest of six daughters of Jasper N. and Mary Davis Henson. She grew up in a rural area, where her father farmed and her mother wrote an unpublished novel and several plays. In 1922, at age seventeen, she married Felix Adair Gibson, an oil driller. In 1924, after her marriage and the birth of her first son, she graduated from Calvert High School; that year also the Gibsons' second son was born.

In 1926 Mrs. Gibson earned an associate's degree from Westminster College in Tehuacana, Texas. She then began teaching high school English and speech, a career she continued for many years in small oil towns in central and southeastern Texas. She continued her education at Sam Houston State Teachers College (later Sam Houston State University) in Huntsville, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1932 and a master's in 1950.

Jewel Gibson began writing her first novel in 1930 and completed it fifteen years later. The book, published by Random House in 1946 as Joshua Beene and God, provided a humorous, satirical account of a fictitious Church of Christ prophet in a small Texas town. Paul Crume of the Dallas Morning Newsqv lauded the book for its exploration of the "humor of social criticism," but others did not share his opinion. A ministerial alliance in Conroe condemned Joshua Beene, and other Texans were offended at its fictional setting's resemblance to Gibson's hometown, Bald Prairie. Readers in later years, however, found the book visionary in its satire of religion. In 1950 Random House published Gibson's second novel, Black Gold. In this work the author drew on her knowledge of oilfield drilling to construct a story set in the early twentieth century in an East Texas boomtown. Gibson also wrote several plays, including Brann and the Iconoclast, Miss Ney, and Creep Past the Mountain Lion. The last work, which dealt with racial issues in East Texas, was presented at the Dallas Theater Center in 1966. Joshua Beene was also dramatized and staged at the Dallas Theater Center and at the Alley Theatreqv in Houston. Gibson also wrote pieces for the Houston Chronicle.qv

She taught at the University of Houston in 1950-51 and at Sam Houston State University from 1960 to 1970. She was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, the Texas State Teachers Association, and the American Association of University Women.qqv In the early 1970s she and her husband retired to Corsicana, where she worked as a feature writer for the Corsicana Daily Sun. Mrs. Gibson died in Corsicana on February 7, 1989, and was buried there in Oakwood Cemetery. She was preceded in death by her husband and survived by her two sons, one sister, and several grandchildren. In the 1980s, the Texas Humanities Resource Center (see TEXAS COMMITTEE FOR THE HUMANITIES) included Jewel Gibson in Literary East Texas, a photographic exhibit that traveled the state. In 1989 Corsicana held a Jewel Gibson Literary Festival in her memory.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Corsicana Daily Sun, February 8, 1989. Foremost Women in Communications (New York: Foremost Americans Publishing Corp., 1970). Wyvonne Putman, comp., Navarro County History (5 vols., Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975-84). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. --- Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

All material is taken from and can be found by searching these websites of the Texas State Historical Association:



Threatening clouds and rain greeted over 38 stalwart freethinkers, atheists and humanists who braved flash-flood warnings to gather in Comfort Texas Saturday, October 21st [2000]. They gathered for the fourth time to honor the German Freidenkers (freethinkers) who settled in the hill country in the 1840s and 1850s. The Freidenkers were mostly refugees from the failed 1848 European revolts with over 30,000 of them eventually settling in Texas.

Early arrivals at Comfort included some ACA members, including Don Rhoades and his daughter, Elze Surgailyte, Ron Gurr, Vic Farrow, Laura Sargent, Rick Williamson and his friend. We began at the Treue der Union (True to the Union) monument, under which are the remains of 36 German members of the Union Loyale League. The Union Loyale League was formed July 4, 1862 by hundreds of hill country Germans who were loyal to the Union and opposed slavery. Key leaders of the Union Loyale League were Freidenkers from Comfort, nearby Sisterdale and other hill country counties. The 36 were killed at the Nueces river August 10, 1862 by a force of Confederate Rangers who were pursuing about 65 Germans who were trying to get into Mexico. Nine of the dead were executed after capture by the Confederates. In keeping with Freidenker culture, the monument displays no religious words or signs, and there is no record that prayers or other religious observances at the monument's 1866 dedication.

We then gathered under a sporadic drizzle at the Freethinker Cenotaph rock in the Comfort town park. Freethinker's Association of Central Texas (FACT) President Don Lawrence was master of ceremonies.

FACT member Harvey Kendall spoke on Freidenker history. Harvey described the Battle of the Nueces and the Treue der Union monument's status as the only Union monument in the South, and only one of six national monuments authorized to fly their flag at half mast all the time. Harvey ended with, "It is our duty to resist unreasonableness, superstition, and attacks on progress in knowledge. There is power in truth and eventually truth will overcome the oppressions of political, social and economic tyranny."

Other activities included a reading of the politically liberal Freidenker resolutions passed at the 1854 Sangerfest in San Antonio, a reading of the October Freethought Month proclamation approved by the San Antonio City Council, and the singing of Die Gedanken Sind Frei (Our Thoughts Are Free) - a 1500s German peasant song. About half way through the activities we had to adjourn to the nearby BBQ place for an excellent lunch, after which we finished our presentations.

Comfort, the cradle of Texas freethought, is about 50 miles northwest of San Antonio just off of Interstate Highway 10. The park with Freethinker Rock is on state hwy 27 along a short commercial stretch. The pinkish rock stands about 12 feet tall right near the highway and still has no plaque. The Treue der Union Monument is about one and a half blocks off of Hwy 27 not far from the city park with the Freethinker Rock. We have heritage in Texas that you can see with a short day trip, aside from the old German school in Austin that banned religious education.

THE ATHEIST November 19, 2000 CE Volume 4 #11

Published by the Atheist Community of Austin -- a Non-prophet Organization

P.O. Box 3798, Austin, TX 78764 512-371-2911

Member of the Atheist Alliance, a democratic confederation of non-theistic groups

Atheist Community of Austin

The Atheist Community of Austin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting positive atheism and the separation of church and state. The ACA serves the local Austin community through outreach programs, providing informational resources and various volunteer activities. In addition, the ACA serves the community-at-large through free online portals including informational wikis, regular audio/video podcasts and interactive blogs.

We define atheism as the lack of belief in gods. This definition also encompasses what most people call agnosticism.

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