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Author: Subject: Wolsch - Kneschk Family History by Eddie Wolsch
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[*] posted on 8-6-2014 at 09:37 PM
Wolsch - Kneschk Family History by Eddie Wolsch


From the River Spree and the North Sea to the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River


Von der Spree und der Nordsee zur zweibergigen Gabelung des Flußes Brazos – die Geschichte der Familien Wolsch, Kneschk und Tredemeyer


Wot Sprjewje a Sewjerneho morja k dwójnohórskemu rěčnišću rěki Brazos – stawizny swójbow Wólška, Knéžka a Tredemeyer


Vun de Spree-Stroom un de Noardsee noa de Double Mountain Fork vun de Brazos-Stroom – het vertellsel van de familjes Wolsch, Kneschk, un Tredemeyer


German translation by Truda Malinkowa of the Sorbisches Institut, Bautzen Germany

Ober Sorbian translation by Truda Malinkowa with the Wendish spellings of Wolsch and Kneschk provided by Dr. Heinz Richter, professor of Sorabistik Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany

Oldenburg area Plattdeutsch dialect translation by Dr. Heiko Wiggers, professor of German at Wake Forest University, North Carolina

Translation of Text by Kati Nispel, exchange student from Dautphetal, Germany

Introduction


My “search for August,” my quest to find out where my great-grandfather, August Wolsch, immigrated from, what his life was like in Germany, why he immigrated, and if I had Wolsch cousins there, has taken over 35 years. It had its origin when I found the old German family Bible as a boy in the wreckage of the old Wolsch homeplace where my grandparents, Emil and Emma Wolsch raised their family, and from the stories my grandfather, Emil, told me of his father’s immigration. It has been my goal to not only answer these questions but to put them into historical perspective, to understand the historical forces which shaped August’s life. I wanted more than a list of names on a family tree. I wanted to understand the historical forces which caused him and his future father-in-law and future wife, Matthaeus and Augusta Kneschk, to uproot and begin life anew in a foreign country far from home, never to return. I wanted to know what their life was like in Germany, their culture and language, and to find and make contact with my German Wolsch cousins. Thanks to the help over the years of many people, both here and abroad, I have accomplished my goal. Thanks to the work of Norman Kneschk and a German researcher he hired, I know the genealogy and family history of the Kneschk family. Thanks to the help of Rachel Hildebrandt, found through the German Texan Heritage Society, who translated for me, I found my cousin, Heinz Wolschke, who lives in Kreba-Neudorf, as well as two other likely related Wolsch branches, all of which I have corresponded with. Due to the research of Heinz of German church records I now have established a documented link to a German cousin and know who August’s siblings and parents were. Thanks to the help of Dr. Heinz Richter, a professor of Sorabistik Studies at the University of Leipzig, who sent me a tape of his Wendish pronunciation of Wolsch and Kneschk, and their likely spelling, I now know what the original Wendish spelling of my family names were and how they were pronounced. I also owe a great debt to Andreas Kirschke, a German journalist with an interest in Wendish studies, who graciously sent me a great deal of annotated literature – at his expense - about the culture and history of the Wends and of Gablenz and Weisswasser, where August and Matthaeus were born. I also owe a tremendous debt to the many relatives I interviewed over the years, too numerous to mention. Some shared with me the product of their own genealogical research which included copies of photos and documents and some shared personal reminiscences. These details and personal stories of family history they shared which would have never been revealed through records made my ancestors come alive. Thanks to their help they became real people, not just names on a genealogical tree. Because of the time I spent with those elderly relatives and contemporaries of August I was able to feel as well as understand, their hardships as immigrant farmers to a region of Texas just a few years removed from its frontier era. The following is an excerpt of my dad’s family’s history which includes references to his Plattdeutsch ancestors of his mother from the Oldenburg area as well as the history of the Texas region and northwest Texas communities which Emil migrated to. Because I wanted to share this Wolsch/Kneschk genealogical narrative with my Wolsch and Kneschk relatives, I tried to excerpt only that part of the narrative pertaining to those families. However, editing out all references to those other families was unavoidable. Most of the background information on the Wends came from Dr.George Nielson’s book, In Search of a Home while many other reference works were consulted for historical background information. Because this narrative is for personal use and not for publication footnotes and a bibliography are not provided.


The History of the Wolsch and Kneschk Families and their Immigration to Texas


Johann Matthaeus Kneschk, known as Matthaeus (pronounced Mah’tus - Wendish – Mato – pronounced Mah’ta), was born in 1833 in Weisswasser, Prussia. At about the same time, likely in the nearby village of Gablenz, Johan Wolsch and his future wife, Elisabeth Noack were born. The Kneschk and Wolsch families were Wendish, or as known by the Germans, Sorben. At the time of their birth both villages were in the Germanic kingdom of Prussia but they were also in the ancient Wendish region of Lusatia which preceded Prussia several centuries and with which they would have identified instead of with Prussia. Today Lusatia is a small 60 by 30 mile area south of Berlin which borders the Czech Republic and Poland but at the time of their birth the region was slightly larger although Lusatia was never a large area. The Wends are an ancient Slavic people with their own culture and language closely akin to Polish and Czech. Unlike some of their neighboring Slavic brethren of Bohemia and Moravia which now form the Czech Republic and the Poles, they were never an independent kingdom or state. Since the Middle Ages they have been a subjugated minority subservient to Germans. The primacy of their language and culture in their ancestral homeland, Lusatia, had been steadily diminishing over time due to the superior numbers of Germans which surrounded them, German as the official language in education and civil affairs, and due to Germanization efforts of the Saxon and Prussian kingdoms in which Lusatia lay before the creation of modern Germany in 1871. When the modern German nation was created by Bismarck in 1871 Weisswasser and Gablenz were located in the administrative region of Prussia. However, both were also located in another ancient region known as Silesia, a region which had had parts or all of it controlled at various times by the kingdoms of Poland and Prussia and the Germanic Hapsburg Empire comprised of present Austria and southeastern Europe. It was this confusing history of overlapping domains and constantly shifting boundaries, common throughout all of Europe, which complicated my efforts to pin down exactly where my ancestors originated.

The Kneschk (Wendish - Knezka - pronounced “Keyshkuh” accent on the first syllable) family first appears in records in Braunsdorf, as early as 1552. Braunsdorf, now known as Bronowice, is in present Poland, on the east bank of the Neisse Reiver which today separates modern Germany and Poland. Since the Middle Ages it, Weisswasser and Gablenz, a few miles west were all part of the ancient Wendish homeland, known in German as Lausitz and in Wendish as Luzica (“Looseyshuh.”) An ancient Slavic people, their culture and language are thus distinct from German. Lusatia today is about a 60 by 30 mile area south of Berlin bordering the Czech Republic and Poland. In the early 19th century the Germanic kingdom of Prussia, in which Braunsdorf, Weisswasser, and Gablenz lay, plus the Germanic kingdom of Saxony, in which the western part of Lusatia lay, was making a concerted effort to subjugate and Germanize the Slavic Wends, which explains the various spellings in German of Kneschk and Wolsch. Because all official records were kept in German, there is no way to positively know what the original Wendish spelling of the names were. The approximate spelling given here, from a specialist in Sorabistik studies at the University of Leipzig, Herr Dr. Heinz Richter, is likely the closest, especially considering that Matthaeus was illiterate. Although August could write his name, for he signed his land deeds, its unlikely that he could do much more than that. Even if education had been available for the peasants there were more pressing needs such as feeding themselves. Social advancement opportunities for peasants and in particular for the minority Slavs in a non-democratic Germanic monarchy were non-existent. The first ancestor of Matthaeus to appear in the record at Braunsdorf was Hans Kneschk, born in 1725, although the name appears in the region as early as the 16th century. His son, Martin, was born there in 1758. He married Maria Wehlam in 1796, one year before his father died. They had three sons - Matthaeus, Hans and Martin, who was born there in 1802 and died in 1847. In 1815 Hermann Prince von Pueckler-Muskau acquired the duchy of Bad Muskau which included Braunsdorf. He had a park built there on the banks of the Neisse which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Considering that Martin lived there at that time it is possible that he helped to build it since it took a large labor force to build it. The three sons left Braunsdorf with Martin moving to Weisswasser, another village a few miles to the west, in 1832. In that year, he married Anna Marie Jure and they had five children. Only two survived, however, to adulthood – the oldest, Matthaeus, born in Weisswasser in 1833, and a sister, Eva Christiane, born in 1847, the same year her father died. In 1858, Matthaeus married Hannah Ganik from the nearby village of Gablenz. An old, established Gablenz family, the first Ganik to appear in the records of Gablenz was that of Matthaeus Ganik, der Jungere (the Younger), born in the 1730s. At that time Gablenz was the larger of the two villages and had a Lutheran church which served both Gablenz and nearby Weisswasser. Similar to the rest of Europe, Luther’s Reformation split the Wends with the Saxon Wends to the west primarily Catholic and the Prussian Wends, Lutheran. The current Lutheran church in use today in Gablenz, used by the Knezka and Wolska families, was built in 1757 but no doubt the Wends of Gablenz, which was established in the 13th century, were served by a Lutheran church after their conversion to Lutheranism sometime after the schism from Roman Catholicism in 1521. In 1862, Matthaeus’s sister, Eva Christiane, married Johann Bresagk and had at least one daughter, Anna Maria, born in 1863 in Weisswasser. The Bresagk family was an established Weisswasser family with the name appearing in the records there as early as 1648. Matthaeus and Hannah had three daughters in Weisswasser – Christiane, born and died in 1862, Anna, born in 1863, and Augusta, born in 1866. Hannah died sometime after the birth of her last child in 1866 and before 1873 for in that year Matthaeus married Anna Wolska (pronounced “Woolshkuh” accent on the first syllable), a Wend from Gablenz, part of his church’s congregation. Anna, born in Gablenz, 4/1/1845, was the daughter of Johann Wolska and Elisabeth Noack, married in Gablenz, 12/16/1837. She had three brothers, all born in Gablenz – Christian, born 3/24/1838, Johan, born 4/20/1842, and August, born 12/13/1854. She also had a seven year-old illegitimate son when she married Matthaeus, Gustav, born in 1866. In 1877, Matthaeus and Anna, made the decision to immigrate to Texas. Other Wends, led by pastor Jan Kilian, had immigrated there in 1854, establishing the first Wendish settlement in America at Serbin, Lee County, between Houston and Austin. Making the journey were Matthaeus’s two daughters by his first wife, Anna and Augusta, August Maroska (pronounced “Muhrooshkuh” accent on the second syllable) who married Anna in Texas, August Wolska, who married Augusta in Texas, and Gustav, the illegitimate son of Anna Wolska, Matthaeus’s second wife, and their two daughters, Maria and Christiana. Noack relatives from their mother’s family also immigrated with them with that name very common in the Austin area today. Staying behind were the two brothers of August and Anna, Christian and Johann. A descendant of Johann is Heinz Wolschke, his great-grandson, currently residing in Kreba-Neudorf, near Gablenz. Also staying behind was the only sibling of Matthaeus, Eva Christiane, who had previously married Johann Bresagk, of Weisswasser. Their descendant, Peter Bresagk, lives today in Weisswasser, located for Norman Kneschk by a German researcher. The decision to immigrate must have been wrenching. Not only were they leaving behind their family and home, Matthaeus was middle-aged at 44 and Anna was 32. As the patriarch of the group, Matthaeus was responsible for his two daughters by his first wife, neither of which were yet teenagers, Anna’s seven year-old illegitimate son, and his and Anna’s two daughters, the oldest of which was six. Although he would have help from his two young, future sons-in-law, August Wolska was 23 and August Maroska was likely close to the same age, the responsibility nevertheless was heavy. As the oldest the decision to immigrate was his and he knew it could very possibly cost someone their life, which more often than not it did. Many died either from the voyage itself and the ship’s wretched conditions, or from the conditions they had to endure when they arrived until – or if – they could become established. Although they likely had friends and relatives from Weisswasser and Gablenz who had immigrated earlier which they could rely on, the decision nevertheless would not have been easy. Considering the conditions in Europe at that time, Matthaeus and his clan, however, like so many others before, chose the unknown with a chance at prosperity, over the known certainty of misery and poverty, the common lot for the peasantry in 19th century Europe.

Matthaeus’s father, Martin, was a young man when Napoleon’s army marched through Lusatia on his way to Russia in the Napoleonic wars in the very early 19th century. Matthaeus and Johan, August’s father, both lived through the 1848 Revolution and Matthaeus and August both experienced Bismarck’s wars to create modern Germany in 1871 just prior to their immigration in 1877. Because the nobility which waged these wars viewed the peasants as nearly subhuman with no respect for their humanity, the invading army would plunder the countryside slaughtering farm animals and commandeering grain stores and supplies from them as needed. Another burden for the peasants was forced military conscription and because of incessant warfare a standing army was necessary with all males serving. The period in which one could be called up for duty varied by state but in Prussia, known for its militarism, and harsh treatment of its soldiers, the period was up to 30 years. And, not only was the Prussian discipline of their soldiers brutal, engendered by the fact that their recruits were only peasants and thus expendable, the incessant warfare in Europe meant that service in the “Kaiser’s army” could quite likely be a death sentence or at the least mean physical incapacitation. With life precarious as it was, with families scratching out a living on meager portions of land, service in the Kaiser’s army meant at best, the loss of the breadwinner for an extended time and at worst, his loss forever. And this was in addition to regular famines due to overpopulation and displacement due to industrialization occurring at that time. The father of August Wolska, Johan, likely born in Gablenz near Weisswasser around 1810 or so, served in the Prussian army and grampaw told me that he and another soldier became lost and lived on rats until they found their regiment. He served during the time of great social upheaval throughout the German states precipitated by these conditions. The wretched social and economic conditions of early 19th century Europe ultimately resulted in rebellion, the 1848 Revolution, which directly affected the Wolska family with Johan, August’s father, conscripted to serve in the brutal Prussian military. Considering that much revolutionary activity occurred at Leipzig and Berlin due to the universities there which spawned that activity, as well as at Dresden, all of which are near Gablenz, Johan could have served in the surrounding countryside. Of course, he could have also been shipped out to serve in any part of Prussia considering there was much unrest over all of the German states during this rebellion. As a peasant this was likely the first time he had ever traveled outside of the area of Gablenz and Weisswasser and was probably an eye-opening experience for him. At the time of the birth of Matthaeus Knezka and Johan Wolska a great social upheaval was under way throughout Europe. Industrialization was occurring which eventually would improve the condition of the common people but at first, because no social legislation existed to protect workers from the whims of their employers, peasants who did leave the farm to work in the emerging factories, coal mines, etc., were still treated as expendable. And in addition, those who had managed to make a living through handicrafts such as weaving, etc., lost their means of livelihood as those crafts were replaced by industrialization. Thus, unemployment was rampant which was exacerbated by overpopulation. Famines occurred and with no social safety net at all the poor houses, with deplorable conditions at best, were filled to overflowing. In short, life for the common people in early 19th century was one of abject misery. The idea of the divine right of kings to rule over their minions at their complete discretion, had resulted in squalor and hopelessness with no hope for improvement for the great majority of people. The resentment which the peasantry felt toward the nobility was still evident a generation after August had immigrated. His son, Emil, told me how August had recalled with glee a time when the landowner he was working for bent over and a ram knocked him down. The lack of opportunity for these people became clear through my research of their land deeds after they immigrated to Texas. Although August could sign his name Matthaeus could not. He signed his deeds with an “X” being illiterate in any language. With very little in the way of resources and education and thus upward mobility through the officer corps or religious leadership reserved for the upper classes, the peasants had no hope. Their daily life was devoted primarily to simple survival. Even their one sanctuary, their religion, which offered hope for a better life after death, and was their one respite from their wretched existence and around which all community life centered, was regulated and controlled from above. Although with this background it is not hard to understand why they immigrated knowing about what they went through in doing so puts the undertaking in greater perspective. With no money they would have never had the chance to travel beyond their small village and with likely only having a rudimentary education at best they would have never even read much about the world outside their small village. Johan’s adventure as a soldier and Martin watching Napoleon’s army march through the countryside would have been the only firsthand accounts their sons, August and Matthaeus, would have had of the outside world. The only other knowledge they would have had of life outside of Lausitz would have come from letters someone in their community may have received from a relative who had immigrated who was literate or from a travel agent trying to drum up business. At that time, there was a great deal of literature about America. America was romanticized as a utopia by the Romantics such as Goethe who wrote glowingly about the freedom there for individuals to create life anew free from the shackles of political and religious authoritarianism. In unspoiled nature, man could once again live in harmony with Mother Nature, as he had originally done, free from the constraints that an old, outdated and debased social order had placed upon him. According to Goethe, “Amerika du hast es besser” - America you have it better. This literary era of Romanticism starting with Rousseau in the 18th century, which spawned the French Revolution and the ideals of the 48ers, stressed that man had become disconnected from nature and had replaced the natural order with unnatural rules of his own. Thus, man must free himself from the old order and once again find the true meaning of life by again living in harmony with nature. German adventurers such as Karl Postl wrote of their exploits on the American frontier as did German and other European scientists and artists who accompanied U.S. Army expeditions to the West. In short, the cumulative effect of this escapist literature, glorification of the American frontier, and opportunity to live in a democratic society combined to create a massive immigration from Germany, as well as other parts of Europe, to the U.S. all throughout the 19th century. The lure of political and religious freedom as well as the opportunity to improve ones’ economic condition appealed to a wide swath of German society which resulted in massive immigration to the U.S. throughout the 19th century. This included religious dissenters such as the Saxon and Wendish Old Order Lutherans who immigrated to Missouri and Texas in the 1830s and 1850s, to North German Platts such as the Tredemeyers and Renkens in the 1850s. Immigration spiked again in the 1870s including that of the Wolska and Knezka families in 1877, to escape poverty, which was the primary reason for immigration. Although conditions for the peasantry had always been pitiful, Bismarck’s forced consolidation of German states creating modern Germany in 1871 only exacerbated their plight.

Its not hard to imagine a Sunday afternoon gathering at the Gablenz church during the 1870s. August may have been listening to sections of a Karl May novel glorifying the Llano Estacado. After the table had been cleared from the communal meal of the congregation, someone would have read a letter received from a relative from Texas extolling the virtues of owning your own land and being the master of your own destiny. The pastor, the best educated among his flock, may have shared what Goethe had to say about the freedom which a young, unspoiled America had to offer, still close to Mother Nature, with its vast frontier still in its pristine state or read a section of a Karl May novel about Old Shatterhand and his brushes with Comanches on the Llano Estacado. No doubt these stories of freedom from servitude to a Prussian state and its landed gentry would have appealed to a young man such as August. Although August would have been apprehensive, as a young man knowing he had no future in Lusatia, he would have eventually come to the conclusion that he must leave. Doing so with his sister and her family which included his future wife would have eased the pain of leaving his parents and brothers and the only home he had ever known. And no doubt, that with the young’s natural confidence in their ability to overcome any obstacle the unknown may throw at them, he would have been confident in his ability to forge his future in the wilds of “Young America” so described by Goethe. He also knew, however, as did his parents and brothers, that they would never see each other again. Later at Sagerton, when his good friend and neighbor “Doc” Letz asked him about his family in Germany, he replied “alles ist vergangen” – everything is in the past – and that is all he would say. Time heals all wounds and we all do what we have to do to survive but being forced by circumstances beyond your control to forever leave your home and family is not something anyone can realistically relate to much less describe unless we have had to do it ourselves. Not talking about those left behind must have been the best way to deal with such a painful memory because all those I interviewed said their immigrant ancestor never spoke of their families in Germany, either, and very rarely of the life left behind. What feelings did his parents have, knowing that he must leave but that when he did they would never see him again? One account of an immigrant who later migrated to Sagerton as did August, told of how his mother tore up his passport. The dangers of moving to Texas, halfway around the world, would have been the equivalent to us traveling to live the rest of our lives in Russia, sight unseen, completely foreign, with a different language, culture, and political system. Not only that, how would you even begin to make arrangements? This is quite a daunting prospect for even those of us who are educated. Having at least traveled to some extent and having public libraries and the Net so we can at least read about where we’re going, what would August have done to prepare? What about Matthaeus, the patriarch of the clan who would have felt responsible for the group, who was illiterate? Having made the decision to immigrate they would have had to have first gotten permission from the authorities for even immigration was controlled. Their pastor, likely having traveled to some degree due to him having received some education beyond the basics, would have helped make the arrangements and helped secure the necessary documents from the authorities. He probably used a travel agent to help secure the documents needed as well as make travel arrangements with the railroad and shipping companies. Travel agents were employed by emigration companies to do such because the transport of passengers by rail and ship was a profitable business at that time in Europe. After arrangements had been made for their cross-country journey by rail - with minimal comfort since trains were still in their infancy - to the port of Bremen, papers secure, and their little property disposed of, probably sold to pay for their trip, they would have said their goodbyes to relatives they knew they would never see again. This included for the 22 year-old August his parents Johan and Elisabet Noack Wolska, if they were still alive, his brothers Christian and Johann, and for Matthaeus, his only sister. Nothing was passed down about the journey itself except that August did tell Emil that the trip took about six weeks and they crossed on a “cattle boat” which was likely the case since steamers were re-fitted for the immigration trade from use in the livestock industry. Of course as lowly, poor peasants, their comfort was not a priority since it wasn’t likely they would return and what little bad press the shipping company did get would be outweighed by the fact that the relatively short time they would spend onboard in deplorable conditions was scant compared to the lifetime of misery they would have if they stayed put. As simple unworldly peasants, they would have been targets for hustlers at the major metropolitan ports they encountered on their journey. Their steamer, Hannover, left the port of Bremerhafen, 9/12/1877, and then made landfall first at New Orleans, 10/7/1877, then at Galveston, their destination. By that time, a well-established system of charitable aid societies by nationality was in place at the major ports in the U.S to help their fellow countrymen. Society members would greet the immigrants at the dock to help fend off the hustlers, translate for the required processing paperwork with port authorities, offer medical care if needed, and to provide a hot meal of fresh food and lodging while helping to secure transportation to their destination. One can only imagine how they fared. Their destination was Mannheim, Lee County, probably having made arrangements to stay with a relative or friend from Weisswasser or Gablenz which had immigrated earlier. This pattern had already been established starting after the first Wends had immigrated with Kilian in 1854 and because Kilian’s group included Wends from Weisswasser it is likely that Matthaeus and Johan knew some of them or their family and had contacted them prior to their arrival. Because the Wends that immigrated with Kilian did so as religious dissenters most immigrated en masse from specific churches. Because village life centered around the church there were likely connections made through church communities by earlier and later immigrants to help with immigration.

After arriving in Mannheim, Lee County in 1877, August Wolska later married Augusta in Williamson County in 1885 and August Marosko later married Anna. When August married Augusta he was marrying his step-sister and also his sister-in-law although they were not blood kin and had not been raised together. Nevertheless, as Ida Vahlenkamp, one of the oldest grandchildren of August said, they were “all mixed-up.” They arrived first at New Orleans in October of 1877. After landing at New Orleans the Wolska/Knezka clan then debarked at Galveston and made their way to Mannheim, Lee County, probably staying with friends from Weisswasser who had immigrated earlier with Johan Kilian and the first Wends to nearby Serbin in 1854. Once in Texas they followed the pattern of earlier Wendish immigrants, periodically moving in an effort to improve their financial condition. Like the vast majority of immigrants they came for economic reasons and were subsistence farmers. Matthaeus was illiterate in any language and signed land deeds with an “X.” From 1877 to the early 1880s they moved from Mannheim to Paige, Bastrop County, to Dessau, Travis County, to Walburg and Beyersville, Williamson County, where Anna died in 1885. She is buried in a cemetery on Little Brushy creek near Beyersville which is also near Taylor and Granger where Gustav Wolsch, August’s nephew by his sister, Anna, lived. He is buried at Taylor. Walburg, a Wendish community, is also nearby. “Doc” Letz said August spoke fondly of Walburg. Although there is no record of any Wolsch or Knetschk in either of the Lutheran churches at Walburg, because it was Wendish and because it was close by, it was likely he and Matthaeus socialized there with fellow Wends. Along the way, Matthaeus and Anna had Maria and Christiana, Adolf, and Agnes, in addition to his two daughters by his first wife, Anna and Augusta, and his second wife’s illegitimate son, Gustav Wolska. Agnes, being retarded, had no children. Gustav, the step-son of Matthaeus, married and stayed in the Austin area. His farm was at Granger and is now under a lake. His grandson, Cecil, still lives in Austin. Cecil was a translator in Berlin in WWII and his grandfather told him he was not far from his hometown of Weisswasser. I have visited with him and his aunt, Gladys Troxell, now deceased, who was Gustav's daughter, who told me an interesting story. She told me that there had been some communication with relatives in Germany because Gustav’s father had left him some property but it was lost in WWI and that was when he took his mother’s name. Several years later I visited with Duane Troxell, Gladys's son, who also does genealogical work and Fran Clendenning, Cecil's daughter, both of whom live in the Austin area. According to Duane, his mother told him that Gus had told her that he and his mother, Anna, had ridden a train a half-day from Berlin to visit the grave of Gus's father. According to Gablenz church records I received from Heinz Wolschke, Gus was illegitimate. Possibly Anna married Gus's father after he was born, he died in Gablenz and she somehow found work in Berlin. While the details will likely never be known, and aren't important, what is known is that Anna married Matthaeus Knezka and she and Gus immigrated with him and others of the Wolska/Knezka clan to Texas in 1877. Anna Knezka, a daughter of Matthaeus and his first wife, Hannah Ganik, who died in Germany, married August Marosko in Texas, who immigrated with the Knezka/Wolska clan to Texas. A descendant of Anna Knezka Marosko is Karl Fabian whose grandson is David Fabian. Karl is deceased but he had worked on the genealogy of the Knetschke family which I have a copy of. I tried to contact his grandson, David, in San Antonio, but was never able to make contact. Christiana Knetschke, a daughter of Anna Wolsch and Matthaeus Knetschke, married Oscar Hoppe and their descendants now live in the MacGregor area north of Austin. I visited with her granddaughter, Christina Otter of MacGregor, who does genealogy work. Maria Kneschk, another daughter of Anna Wolska and Matthaeus Knezka, married Sam McDaniel of the Granger area in north Williamson County. Allen Currier, of Georgetown, is a descendant of hers. I visited with him and his wife, Carolyn, an accomplished genealogist, and Allen's parents. His mother, Betty, descended from Maria, told me what the correct pronunciation of Marosko was. Her husband, Vern, was also of German descent whose ancestors immigrated from Posen, now in Poland. He had also served in WWII and helped to liberate a death camp. Adolf Knetschke is the son of Anna Wolska and Matthaeus Knezka. His son is Norman Kneschk, of Jonesboro, near Waco. I have visited with Norman and he has done extensive genealogical work on the Kneschk family. It is interesting to note that Norman’s mother, Jennie Meissner, was descended from Johan Kilian, according to Norman. Sometime prior to 1883 Adolf Knezka and his parents, Matthaeus and Anna, step-sister Augusta, and August Wolska, moved to Williamson County. There, in 1883, August Wulschk married Augusta Knetschk – their names as spelled on their marriage certificate by the clerk - and there in 1885, Anna Wolska Knezka, Matthaeus’ wife and August’s sister, died, where she is buried in a cemetery on Little Brushy Creek. August and Augusta Wolschk had nine children two of which died in infancy. This was not known by anyone of my father’s generation until I visited with Ida Vahlenkamp who showed me their church baptismal records. Their first child, Emma, was born in 1883 and is buried at Dessau, Travis County, and a second, Johan born in 1890, is buried at Bastrop County. In an attempt to improve their financial condition they moved numerous times. Between their arrival in Lee County in 1877, where August declared his intent to naturalize in 1880 to him becoming a naturalized citizen in Williamson County, 7/8/1904, they moved from Lee to Williamson county where August and Augusta were married in 1883. That same year they moved to Dessau, Travis County, where their first child, Emma, was born and died in infancy. They then moved back to Williamson County, to Little Brushy Creek, near Beyersville, where Anna died in 1885 and is buried in a cemetery on the banks of the Little Brushy. In 1888, grampaw, Emil, the oldest of his siblings, was born in Williamson County but in 1890 they buried Johan, in Bastrop County. They were back in Beyersville, Williamson County after that and stayed there until at least 7/8/1904, when August became a naturalized citizen.

Matthaeus and Anna Kneschk were never naturalized. Grampaw spoke fondly of Beyersville and Little Brushy Creek, which is where he spent his boyhood. They likely moved in the early spring of 1905 to Haskell County, to the recently developed town of Sagerton, in time for August to get a crop in. From their arrival in 1877 to their departure to the Rolling Plains in 1905, 28 years, they moved at least six times. Though not as arduous as their month-long trip overseas, one needs to remember this was before the time of modern transportation. There were no paved or gravel roads, everything had to be moved by wagon, and each time they moved, they likely had to move in early spring, in time to get a crop in and thus for at least a short time likely lived out of the wagon or used its tarp to build a tent while August built a house or dugout unless he was fortunate enough to rent or buy land which had a house already on it. Of course, there was no electricity, running water, indoor plumbing and at best, the only health care they had, if they had a chicken to trade for his services, was a country doctor, who could only provide rudimentary health care services at best. It is due to these conditions that at least two of their children died, that we know of, and it is very possible there were more who died that we don’t know of. After their arrival in Texas August not only buried two of his children but his only sister, Anna, Matthaeus’s second wife, as well. Once again, the decision to move to a far away place was made, this time to the Rolling Plains of northwest Texas. While not as far as Lusatia, it may as well as have been because the 300 mile distance during the horse and buggy and railroad days before phones meant loved ones would once again be left behind, not likely to be seen again except very rarely, at best. When the move to Haskell County was made, Matthaeus’s son, Adolf, came, only to move back after Matthaeus’s death, to the Waco area, where his son, Norman Kneschk, lives today. His daughter by his first wife, Anna, stayed behind with her husband, August Marosko, whom she had married in 1885 at Paige, Bastrop, County. Her descendant, Karl Fabian, now deceased, did genealogical research and his son, David, lives in the Austin area. Matthaeus’s son by proxy, Gustav Wolska, the illegitimate son of his second wife, Anna Wolska, stayed in Williamson County, where his grandson, Cecil Wolsch, and his son and daughter, James, and Fran Wolsch Clendenning, now live. Fran has also done genealogical work. Gus’s grandson, Duane Troxell, whose mother was Cecil’s aunt, also lives in the Austin area and he, too, has done genealogical work. Of Matthaeus’s children by his second wife, Anna Wolska, Maria married Sam McDaniel and Christiana married Oscar Hoppe and both stayed in the Austin/Waco area. Oscar’s descendant, Christine Otter, has also done genealogical work and lives in the Waco area. Matthaeus’s two other daughters, Agnes and Emma, never married. Emma was retarded and spent her life in a home for the retarded near Austin. Although Matthaeus left behind five of his eight children and the grave of his second wife, when he moved to Haskell County, he gained a grandson when August’s daughter, Minna, married Frank Lowak, who moved to Haskell County with him and August and Augusta’s family. August and Augusta’s children were Emil, Christian, Dora, Lilly, Minna, Marie, and Ella, all of which were born prior to the move to Haskell County. So, once again, 72 years old, Matthaeus moved again with his children, Adolf, Agnes, Augusta, and her husband August and their seven children, plus the husband of his granddaughter, Minna. From the family histories told by others who moved from the Austin area, it is likely that the Wolschk and Kneschk families made the move the same way. They no doubt loaded all their possessions into a boxcar, with the women and children in a passenger car and the men with the livestock in a boxcar. They rode the train through Waco to Stamford, on to the newly developed town of Sagerton, on the Rolling Plains of northwest Texas.

In an effort to attract settlement to the undeveloped Rolling Plains and Panhandle regions of Texas, the state legislature encouraged railroad expansion into the region with liberal land grants for railroad construction. Branch lines were thus extended to what became Abilene by 1880 and with the removal from the region of the last of the Comanches in 1879 to a reservation in Oklahoma, migration to the area quickly boomed. Entrepreneurs such as the German G.R. Spielhagen of San Antonio and William Sager, for which Sagerton was named, enticed settlement through sale of cheap land acquired from the railroad companies. Towns quickly developed on the branch lines of the railroad to serve the needs of an expanding population of small farmers, many of which were recent Central European immigrants such as Matthaeus and August and his son-in-law, Frank Lowak, who had married Minna in Bastrop County after his father had immigrated there in 1880. Frank was the son of Josef Lowak, a German Catholic Bohemian immigrant from Wolfsdorf, in the Silesian region of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Wolfsdorf is in the current Czech Republic and is 100 or so miles east of Weisswasser. Frank’s father had immigrated from the Troppau region, known as the Kuhland, where Gregor Mendel was raised being born there in 1822, thus a contemporary of Josef. Uncle “Booby” (Edgar, dad’s older brother) said that “Uncle Frank” spoke something a little different than German. What he likely spoke was a different dialect. I visited with a descendant of Joseph Lowak, Freda Schlabs of Windthorst and received genealogical information from her and Shirley Lowack Blakely, of Wichita Falls, about the Lowack family (the name added a “c” likely sometime in the 19th century to make it more Germanic.) Ida Vahlenkamp, the daughter of Minna, said Minna spoke Wendish with August. It was only when I interviewed Ida that I found out about the Wolsch and Knetschke families being Wendish. Being that Emil was the oldest, he undoubtedly spoke Wendish as well as the other children. According to Dr. George Nielsen of Concordia University in Missouri and author of a book on the history of the Texas Wends and Dr. Joseph Wilson, a professor of German at Rice and a specialist on the Texas Wends, the Wends became Germanized in Texas because they associated with their German neighbors because they were more comfortable with them than with their English speaking neighbors, sharing a common language. Because of this, the Wolsch/Knetschke families, as did the other Wendish families who immigrated to Texas, lost their Wendish language and in most cases knowledge of their Wendish heritage as well, becoming at first Germanized, then Anglicized. This is ironic considering that the first Wends to immigrate to Texas in 1854 did so in part to maintain their Wendishness as well as their conservative Lutheran beliefs. Shortly after they moved to Sagerton they moved once again, this time to the German Catholic community of Windthorst in Archer County, where descendants of the Lowaks still live today. They only lived there for a short time, however, and moved back to Sagerton except for Agnes, who converted to Catholicism and is buried in the nearby Catholic community of Scotland. Shortly after moving back to Sagerton, 76 year old Matthaeus’s long race was finally over and he died in 1909. He had buried a wife in Germany, immigrating at the age of 44 from the only home he had known, leaving behind his only sister, knowing they would never meet again. As the head of the household he was responsible for a wife and her young son, two daughters not yet teenagers, accompanied by two young men, August Wolska, his brother-in-law, and August Marosko, both of which would soon become his sons-in-law. Illiterate, with nothing except the few possessions he had managed to acquire, he and his clan left behind friends and family, forever. After landing in Galveston, and making the long trek to Lee County, in October, his journey was just beginning. He moved several more times throughout the remainder of his life, burying another wife and leaving behind children, along the way, as they married. Augusta’s journey was finally over at the age of 50, in 1916. She had buried her mother in Germany while a young child and had buried at least two children in Texas. Matthaeus and Augusta are buried in the Sagerton cemetery of Fairview, north of Sagerton. There is no tombstone for Matthaeus although there is for Augusta and also for August, who died in 1939 and is also buried in Fairview. Mrs. Delbert Lefevre, the daughter of Mrs. Balzer, told me that her mother helped prepare the body of Augusta Wolsch for burial but she died before I could talk to her. At some point after coming back to Haskell County, Adolf married Jennie Meissner, a descendant of Jan Kilian, and moved back to the Austin area where his descendants still live today. The Wolsch and Kneschk families were part of a large migration of first and second generation Central Europeans from the Austin and Houston area to the Rolling Plains and Panhandle in the early 20th century due to the availability of cheap land. Numerous communities in this region reflect this heritage with names like Weinert in Haskell County and Neu Brandenburg (Old Glory), founded by G. R. Spielhagen, in Stonewall County, “across the river” from nearby Sagerton in Haskell County. Others, such as the German Catholic Rheinland in Knox County, were migrants from outside the state who moved en masse due to the colonization efforts of German Catholic leaders. Still others, like Sagerton, in Haskell County, had a large German population and other nearby communities had large Czech populations, though not reflected in the name of the community such as Bomarton, Megargel, and Crowell. Similarly, a large number of Wends migrated to communities such as Albany and Lockett. There were a few Poles even some German Jews in the area such as the Strauss family of Jones County, a descendant of which, Robert, became an influential Democratic party activist and statesman serving as ambassador to the Soviet Union. There were a few Czech families in the German community of Neu Brandenburg, the Bubela and related Stulir family and the Vrazalik family. When in high school in the late 1970s Adolph Stulir still maintain literacy in Czech through subscription to a Czech language newspaper. I know this because I worked for him some and was with him once when he picked up his mail which included a Czech language newspaper. The Wolsch and Kneschk families of Sagerton are examples of Wends who migrated to the Rolling Plains in the early 20th century with their German neighbors with which they quickly became assimilated. Albany, in Shackelford County, Cisco, in Eastland County, and communities around Vernon in Wilbarger County saw an influx of Wends at this time. The only remnant of their Wendish heritage, however, is a Wendish bible on display in the Red River Valley museum in Vernon. Although I had always known of my German heritage, it was only through genealogical research and the interviewing of elderly relatives that I discovered my Wendish roots. Although one of August’s daughters spoke Wendish with him until his death he let grandchildren know he was “Vendish,” according to dad’s brother Edgar, “Booby,” although no Wendish customs or language remnants survived him. Soon thereafter, even knowledge that the family was Wendish was soon lost. As with other Wends, the families had become thoroughly Germanized continuing a trend that had started in Prussia and Saxony in the 19th century. This trend only accelerated after immigration and especially after migration to the rolling Plains due to the confluence of several German dialects used in Sagerton and Neu Brandenburg with a large contingent of Platt speakers represented. Family histories indicate that most of the German immigrants to Neu Brandenburg and Sagerton originated from North and West Central Germany, and the Prussia-Brandenburg region of the Berlin area, plus the Wends of Lusatia, south of Berlin. There was at least one Schwaebisch family from the south, however, whose Bavarian dialect would have been completely unintelligible to all the neighbors. This is a good example of how the necessity of using Hochdeutsch as the lingua franca resulted in the Wolsch and Kneschk families ultimately losing not only their Wendish language but ultimately even their grandchildren’s knowledge of their Wendish origin. My grandfather, who undoubtedly spoke Wendish being the oldest child, married a Platt speaker, Emma Tredemeyer, which necessitated the use of Hochdeutsch for communication. However, my grandmother spoke Platt with her sister, Lena Erdmann, until her death in 1966 and the last Platt speaker, a relative, Emma Baitz, only died just after the turn of the 21st century. My mother said she would stand by the window outside of my grandparents’ house and listen as my grandmother and her sister spoke in “German” which in reality was Plattdeutsch and they would speak in English when she entered. The grandparents of my grandmother, Emma Tredemeyer, immigrated from the Oldenburg area in the early 1850s with the first wave of German immigrants to Texas, likely as a result of the Ostfriesisch Platt speaker, Friedrich Ernst-Dirks who originated in nearby Neustadt Goedens. A relative has been located in the region, now deceased, related to the Diers family who married into the Tredemeyer family in Texas. Because Hochdeutsch was the language used in church services, even at Zion Lutheran, a Missouri synod church, which was predominantly Platt, and with its grammar being taught in school and the home, to some extent, until the 1930s, Hochdeutsch became the de facto common language of the German population of Neu Brandenburg and Sagerton. While Zion Lutheran in Sagerton served the Platts, including the Tredemeyer family and later, the Emil Wolsch family when he married Emma Tredemeyer, St. Paul’s of the American Lutheran Church synod served the Hochdeutsch speakers. Neu Brandenburg never had a church but the school served as a mission for both Sagerton Lutheran churches possibly until the school consolidated with Old Glory in the 1930s. After consolidation the two room Old Brandenburg school was moved a 100 yards west and became used as the meeting place for the Sons of Hermann Lodge number 228. While apparently August wasn’t a devout churchgoer because he didn’t join St. Paul’s until several years after he had moved to Sagerton, he apparently was a devout socializer because he and his nephew Adolf Knestchk (names as spelled on charter – August Wolschk, Adolf Knetschk) were charter members of this lodge which was chartered 1/11/1908. No account exists that any other building was ever used exclusively as the lodge until the Old Brandenburg school was used for this purpose. It is likely that lodge members met in businesses some of them owned, such as August’s pool hall/store in Sagerton, where he and Emil also broke horses and mules for work and saddle, which he owned for a time, located where the old Monse blacksmith shop still stands, one block north of the highway next to the railroad. While the lodge and churches facilitated the use of Hochdeutsch and acted as the main means to maintain their German culture, the schools did not. While Hochdeutsch was taught for a short time at the Old Brandenburg school which served a nearly exclusively German community, and some wanted the language of instruction to be in German, most wanted neither. They wanted their children to learn English as soon as possible so they could advance in society. Because Sagerton was evenly divided between Germans and “Americans” with none of the outlying one-room schools serving exclusively Germans, it was never an issue there. Even the churches within 20 or so years went from German only services – except during WWI - to alternating with English to eventually dropping the German service altogether. However, Edna, my dad’s older sister, told me her mother taught her to read German at home, which was Hochdeutsch and as the oldest, likely could understand Plattdeutsch, to an extent. The only Platt words to make it down to my generation was the slang word “Schlapfen” which means slack which dad said his mother called old worn out shoes or slippers and “Putzig” – Putzy – which she called one of her granddaughters which means cute or darling. She also called heavy bread dough which didn’t rise well “klotchy” whch may or may not be a Platt word. Hochdeutsch as a first language was rapidly replaced with English aided in large part to the hostility of anything German in the WWI era and to some extent the WWII era. Aiding in the loss of German was the second generation wanting their children to learn English for the economic opportunity knowledge of which would provide. Even so, parents wanted their children to be literate in the language as well as understand the spoken word with my grandmother teaching her oldest children, born in the 1920s, how to read and write it. Although most wanted their children to learn English, this does not mean they abandoned their German language and culture. There was a decidedly outspoken minority which refused to “tone down” their use of German in WWI and even WWII. Prominent among them was an interrelated group of Freethinkers, the Wolfe and Booer families, possibly descended from 48ers, who were highly literate and opposed the name change from Neu Brandenburg to Old Glory to show patriotism during WWI. Neighbors and contemporaries of my grandparents, they became leaders in the Agrarian Socialist movement, corresponded with prominent German-American and German Socialist leaders and were openly opposed to the war. Their outspoken pacifist views and loyalty to their German language and culture led to the arrest by Texas Rangers without warrant of their son-in-law, Thomas Hickey, while visiting in Neu Brandenburg who was a leader in the Agrarian Socialist movement. Due to his and his Wolfe and Booer relatives’ outspoken pacifist views and their public support of their German language and culture, culminating in arson on their farm, they moved from the community. Known as the “Red Scare,” anti-German sentiment, precipitated by WWI, coalesced with fear of anarchists and Communists resulting nationwide in the suppression of all things German. The result locally was the tarring and feathering of a Lutheran pastor in Sagerton for preaching in German, the name change from Neu Brandenburg to Old Glory, and the demise of Sagerton, due to conflict between its German and “American” inhabitants. While Emil was home on leave from serving in WWI, August ran off a “superpatriot” with a shotgun for snooping around his farm who wanted to make sure that Emil wasn’t deserting. Numerous incidents like this were vividly recalled by those elderly children of immigrants I interviewed, their anger still palpable after some 50 years understandable considering that some had siblings or relatives who served in the military. How cruelly ironic that the generation of August and Augusta had immigrated to escape the conditions that incessant warfare in the German states created only to see their sons conscripted to serve against their cousins, some of which died, and then regarded with suspicion due to their ethnicity. Most revolting is the fact that while their children honorably served their adopted country, which they had immigrated to at great sacrifice, the federal government enacted “watchdog” legislation to ensure their patriotism, narrowly defined. Due to the policies enacted a climate of fear ensued inevitably resulting in violence, a deprivation of civil rights, and of forced acculturation. Ironically, it was due to similar policies enacted by the Prussian and Saxon states which accounted for the first Wends immigrating to Texas 23 years prior to the immigration of Matthaeus and August, which they also endured. Being highly literate and knowledgeable of the rights inherent in a democracy the Freethinkers of Neu Brandenburg had well-informed opinions. As such they were vocal in their disagreement with public policy as to the war, including the right to maintain their native language and culture, as were some others in the community. August, however, as a Wend who spoke German and had been born as a Prussian citizen, was caught up in a dispute which he likely felt wasn’t his. Although Wendish was his first language he associated with his German neighbors having more in common with them than he did with his English-speaking neighbors. He was thus identified as German by the “Americans” and treated as such. How infuriating this must have been for high-tempered August. Not only did he have a son serving his adopted country who could be killed by the grandsons of his older brothers Johan and Christian or another close relative, he wasn’t even an ethnic German. Additionally, he had endured similar discrimination by the Prussians and it was against these very Prussians that his son now was in arms against. It was during this anti-German period that the Wolschke and Knetschke names were Anglicized.

Through genealogical research the Germanization and then Anglicization of the Wolsch and Kneschk names has been traced. When August and Anna Wolska immigrated their brothers Christian and Johan remained. Johan’s descendant, Heinz Wolschke, lives today near Weisswasser in Kreba-Neudorf. With his help, birth records were located which reflect the result of the Germanization process enacted by the Prussians in the 19th century. According to Dr. Heinz Richter, a professor of Sorabastik studies at the University of Leipzig, the original Wendish spelling of Wolsch was likely Wolska or Wolsko and Kneschk was Knezko or Knezka. Because of the Germanization effort, Wolska became Wolsch, Wolschk, and Wolschke, with all three names still extant in the Lausitz area today, and no doubt we are all descended from a common ancestor. After I made contact with all three German Wolsch, Wolschk, and Wolschke families, they called each other, apparently never having any contact with each other before I wrote them. Although they sent me their family trees which dated to contemporaries of August’s father, Johan, our common ancestor must date prior to that generation. In addition to Heinz Wolschke, I exchange Christmas cards with Undine Schillack who was a Wolschk, and Kristina Schueltze, daughter-in-law of Waltraud Wolsch who married a Wolsch who is deceased. Ironcially, Kristina was at the Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock in the mid-1990’s which I also attended when the German Texan Heritage Society held their annual meeting there simultaneously. Because this was before I had located her, I had no idea that a likely German Wolsch cousin of mine by marriage was there and I no doubt saw her as she was with a contingent of German Karl May/Old West enthusiasts. While working at Iowa Park High School a German exchange student agreed to come with me to my parent’s house on a Saturday where, at a pre-arranged time, he called the grandson of Waltraud and translated for me. While it was interesting, he couldn’t give me anything more than he already had sent and we basically exchanged pleasantries. Once after that he called my house but I was gone and since his English is limited conversation was futile, even if I had been there. The granddaughter of Heinz emailed me on his behalf wanting to stay in touch. The only documented relation I have is to Heinz Wolschke, great-grandson of Johan, the brother of August who did not immigrate. Not only did the Wendish Wolska and Knezka families assimilate with their German neighbors after their arrival in Texas with the eventual loss of their language and culture, the same process occurred with their relatives in Germany. When I contacted my German cousins, only one of them knew that the name had at one time contained a Wendish diacritical notation and different spelling and none knew they were Wendish, except vaguely. Just as the name changed in Germany, it simultaneously changed its spelling in Texas. According to deeds, and accounts from family and contemporaries of August, at one time in Texas it was pronounced and probably spelled, Wolschke with the last “e” pronounced as a long vowel. The “e” was dropped and then the “k” sometime after 1924 with the last record of Wolschk being a church entry in that year of “Emil Wolschk.” Confounding my investigation was the German-Texan pronunciation of a long “e” at the end of a name instead of a schwa sound as in German and Wendish. Clarence Stegemoeller, a contemporary of August, pronounced Kneschk as “Kneeskey” and Harvey Hahn, the same age as Booby, said that at one time there had been a “ke” at the end of Wolsch and he pronounced it with a long “e” as well. The only documentation I have of the original Wendish spelling of Wolsch and Kneschk came from Ida Vahlenkamp, which closely matches the spelling provided by Dr. Heinz Richter, the German professor of Wendish studies. Acccording to the baptismal record of Ida’s mother, Minna, daughter of August, the name was spelled Wolsk. Matthaeus was a sponsor and his name was spelled Knesk. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of this record since it was very old and fragile so I couldn’t ask to make a copy and she has since died. The Kneschk name also underwent Anglicization as it is spelled in various records as Knetschke, Knetschk, and Kneschk. Those same spellings are also found in the Lausitz area today and just as with the Wolsch spellings, these families probably descended from a common ancestor. Thanks to Norman Kneschk, a Texas Wendish Heritage Society member form Jonesboro, a Kneschk relative has been located near Weisswasser, Peter Bresagk, descendant of the sister of the immigrant Matthaeus Knezka, who may be able to add further details. While the earlier Wends immigrated in part to maintain their culture, this does not appear to be the case with my families and possibly other immigrants of the post-Civil War era. Nevertheless, the outcome was the same in that both groups became Germanized then Anglicized and at some point lost their Wendish culture and language and eventually their descendants lost their German language as their grandchildren became assimilated culturally as Americans, and linguistically as English speakers. Male heirs of the Wolsch name in Texas today are, in addition to me and my brother, Jamie, in Stamford, and my son, Cole, in Fort Worth, are the great-grandsons of Christian who live in Stamford and Haskell. Christian was Emil’s brother, August’s son, who was apparently named after August’s oldest brother. Their father is Ken, son of Christian, who lives in Rochester; grandsons of R.Q. Wolsch, son of Christian, in Odessa; a grandson of Buford, another son of Christian (Buford’s wife was descended from Jan Kilian on the Beisert side), in Vernon; James, son of Cecil Wolsch, in Austin, who was the grandson of Gustav Wolsch. James also has a son.

No doubt other details will eventually be added to the Wolsch and Kneschk history as other relatives add to it. I hope Heinz Wolschke will someday add details about his family’s history up to Johan, August’s brother, providing the perspective from those who chose not to immigrate. It would also be interesting to read how the Wolschke cousins fared during World War I. I wonder if they also had their “superpatriots” to contend with, who caused so much grief for the recent German immigrants to the U.S. during World War I? No doubt they did. More than likely considering the devastation of World War I and its aftermath in Germany they likely suffered much more than their American cousins did. Reading first-hand accounts of the devastation Germans endured from this era would likely put the discrimination their American cousins endured during this era into much greater perspective. While I plan to continue my reading and research of these families and of the history of that era, my original goal has been accomplished. I know where August came from, why he immigrated and what his life was like in Germany. I have found a documented relative in Germany and he found our common ancestor and we keep in touch. Thanks to the gracious help of so many, here and abroad, I have uncovered my Wendish ancestry and now know what life was like for a 19th century Wend living in the last throes of Prussian feudalism. Thanks to August, who endured so much and had so little, I am able to write this in my cabin on the farm where I grew up which I inherited thanks to the incredible hard work and sacrifices of his son, Emil, my grampaw. My search for August is now complete. I have found August.



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