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Weldon (The Texas Wendish…): In the Wendish language obituary of John Schatte, John Kilian tells the sad tale of the death of Joh…
Dan Carter (The Texas Wendish…): I have a question. I’m certain that Rosina Mrosko is noted somewhere with the word “Wobaj”. I’m al…
Jim Woelfel (Excerpts from Emi…): Emilie Woelfel Michalk was my fathers sister and thus my aunt. Most of what we know about their ear…
Johnny Kasper (Wendish Settlers …): Ps- Johann Kasper was not born in Kolpen, as thought. According to church records, he was born in Te…
Johnny Kasper (Wendish Settlers …): Hi Debbie, I did go to Germany and spent some time in the church in Lohsa. It was well worth the …
Debbie Frankenbac… (Wendish Settlers …): Johnny Kasper, I am also a descendent of Andreas Kasper. he is my great, great, great grandfather.…

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Serbin During Reconstruction by Ken Kesselus with an Introduction by George Nielsen

Monday 23 March 2015 at 9:02 pm

Intro by George Nielsen

Serbin's official beginning took place in 1860 when the government honored the community's request and gave the little village a post office. From 1860 on Serbin experienced a modest growth until 1890 when the railroad builders bypassed Serbin and then began its decline and lost its status symbol—the post office—in 1909.

Much of Serbin's fifty-year existence was uneventful, but during Serbin's early years the troubles associated with Reconstruction spilled over and disrupted life in Serbin as well. Historians date Reconstruction from the conclusion of the war in 1865 until 1877 when all the seceding states were back in the Union.

Not all states were on the same Reconstruction timetable, but most went through similar stages. For Texas the first stage, from 1865 to 1870, was a contentious time as the Northern leaders set up a provisional government and established guidelines for readmission. Those uncertainties, in addition to the disruption of civilian life resulting from the war, provided an environment conducive for violence.

Texas was readmitted into the Union in 1870 and elected Republican leaders, but politics was often the cause for problems rather than a solution. The young Republican Party was northern party and Abraham Lincoln had won with Northern votes. The party leaders planned a national party by establishing it in the South as well. They envisioned a Republican Party based on the former Southern Whigs, immigrant Northerners who saw business opportunities in the South, and the Freedmen. The Democrats were not inclined to step aside and instead used methods, including violence, to regain political power. They elected a Democrat governor in 1873 and then wrote a new constitution in 1876.

Kenneth Kesselus, in his study of Bastrop County during Reconstruction, frequently refers to a German resident of Bastrop named Julius Schutze (Schuetze). His residency in Bastrop was brief—from 1864 to 1870. He had immigrated to Texas in 1852 and lived in various locations including San Antonio and Austin. He taught speech and music, tuned pianos, and was active in the Sängerbund.

He moved to Bastrop to teach school in 1864 but after the Civil War the Provisional Governor of Texas, Andrew J. Hamilton, appointed Schuetze to the position of Chief Justice of Bastrop County. In 1869 was elected to the state legislature as a Republican. After he left Bastrop County he edited a German newspaper in Austin, cultivated silkworms, and served as President of the Sons of Hermann. (Source: Handbook of Texas Online)

Schuetze's brief political career serves as an example of a Texas German who during Reconstruction worked to build a Republican Party on a base of Germans, Freedmen, and Southern whites. It also illustrates the ultimate return to private life of Republicans as the Democrats regained political power.

Schuetze's contribution to Wendish studies is a list of citizens, both black and white, that could be trusted to register former slaves and disenfranchise former Confederates. The requirements for such a position included taking an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and also the test oath that included the statement that they had not voluntarily supported the Confederacy. Schuetze's list did not separate German from Wend, but Kesselus included the list in an Appendix so we can do it now. Information on Wendish political participation is hard to find and many never were naturalized so this list in valuable because it does name those Wends who were Unionists in 1867 and sympathetic to the formation of a Republican Party that included freed slaves.

John Dube, John Heohle (Hohle), J. Knippie (John Knippa), G. Mertik (George Mertink), M. Morasko (Matthes Mrosko), John Schoenig, M. Simmank, M. N. Trellop (Matthes Prellop), John Urban, M. Domaschk (Matthes Domaschk), A. Polnick (August Polnick), John Schatte, Mathias Schultze, J. Semme (John Symm), M. Wukash, Joe Deo, Ch. Lehman (Charles Lehman), M. Mitich (Matthes Mitschke), J. Schneider (John "Captain" Schneider), M. Schuster (Matthes Schuster), J. Schilling (John Schelnick), Jacob Urban, M. Wagner (Matthes Wagner), Adam Ritter, J. Schellneck (John Schelnick), J. Kilian (John Kilian)

Other Wends identified as dependable Union/Republican men: Carl Mischalk (Carl Michalk), Peter Persch (Peter Gersch), Carl Lehmann (The Godfather), Fred Sedyler (Fred Seydler), and Andreas Kieschnick.

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Folklore of the German Wends of Texas by George Nielsen

Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 8:51 pm

This article was initially a seminar paper written in 1959 for Mody C. Boatright's seminar at the University of Texas. It was later published in Mody C. Boatright (ed.) et al. Singers and Storytellers (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1961), 244-259, and later an abridged version was printed in Francis Edward Abernethy (ed.) The Folklore of Texan Cultures (Austin: The Encino Press, 1974), 290-300. For more information on Wendish folklore read Mato Kosyk's letter found in the Johann August Urban entry in WENDS WHO BROKE THE PATTERN in George's Journal at Wendishresearch.org. See also George R. Nielsen, In Search of a Home: Nineteenth-Century Wendish Immigration (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1989), 119-124.

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Identification of Wends by George Nielsen

Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 07:15 am

This article appeared in the April 2007 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

Several people have raised the issue of using the black wedding gown as evidence for identifying Wends. I am cautious when it comes to fashion, and those who know me would say I am justified in doing so. However, I have consulted Trudla Malinkowa (Gertrud Mahling) and her comments make me feel more secure.

Wendish brides did wear black, but so did Germans and other ethnic groups. Both of my wife's grandmothers, who were as German as you can get, wore black wedding gowns. Evidently in the distant past when Wendish Trachten (costumes) were widely used, there was a distinct wedding gown, but it was not black. Even if the Wendish brides in the late 19th century continued to wear black while non-Wendish brides were changing to lighter colors, it could be construed as a reflection of Wendish conservatism or thrift rather than a mark of ethnic identity. (If Wendish brides followed fashion, how reliable is another oft-repeated statement that says that Wendish brides wore black, tight wedding gowns which symbolized the hard life ahead of them?)

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Excerpts from Emilie (Woelfel) Michalk's "Reflections on my Life" by Edward Bernthal and George Nielsen

Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 06:23 am

This article appeared in the October 2008 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

Emilie (Woelfel) Michalk was born in Thorndale on January 31, 1898, to Nicholas and Magdalena Woelfel. Eighty-six years later, she told Edward Bernthal the story of her life. Although her heritage was German, she married a Wend, Adolph Michalk. Mr. Bernthal, now living in Waupun, Wisconsin, married Emilie's daughter, Bernice.

After graduating from Concordia - River Forest, Mr. Bernthal taught at Lutheran schools in Galveston and Racine, Wisconsin and served as Director of Christian Education in Waupun. (Conrad Bernthal, the pastor at St. Peter's Church in Serbin from 1892 -1906 was a relative.) Edward was gracious enough to permit me to edit sections of Emilie's life's story for the Newsletter. Many of the names and places she mentioned in her story were part of the Wendish experience in Texas and in addition her "Recollections" tell about a third generation Texas Wend who became a missionary to France.

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Wendish Postcard by George Nielsen

Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 05:47 am

This article appeared in the July 2009 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Johann August Proft by Robert Proft and George Nielsen

Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 03:23 am

This article appeared in the April 2012 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Historical Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

Even though Johann Kilian is the one pastor who is readily identified as a Wendish clergyman in America, there were at least seven more who fit the classification. These are Hermann Kilian, Andreas Schmidt, Johann Pallmer, Gottfried Lehnigk, Wilhelm Matuschka, Mato Kosyk (Kossick), and Johann August Proft. This last pastor, Proft, often receives a passing reference, but deserves a biographical sketch of his own. His great-grandson Robert Proft, a member of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society, has provided the following sketch.

A special thank you to George Nielsen who greatly assisted in refining content and blessed this article with his editorial guidance. Bob Proft.

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Emma Moerbe Nielsen: A Memoir by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 6:02 pm

I began writing this sketch of my mother many years ago and came back to it recently - in time for my sister's eighty-fifth birthday. Her immediate family had planned a celebration and she wanted something for the children and grandchildren to read about the environment in which she was raised. While I try to restrict references to my personal life in the little pieces for the Newsletter, I thought by including it that somehow it would encourage people to write for their children and grandchildren. Often the recorded family information is limited to the dates and places of births and deaths, and extraordinary events or significant accomplishments. Children in this new century think of mothers as persons who drop them off at daycare and then continue on to an office job. Do they realize that our parents and grandparents did not go to KFC but raised and dressed the chickens they ate? So, please accept my apologies for talking about my personal life but read this sketch and consider writing for your own loved ones.

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Name Calling by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 4:58 pm

This article appeared in the October 2013 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Zombie Ideas by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 07:27 am

This article appeared in the October 2014 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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It Pays to Advertise - and to Read Ads by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 07:07 am

This article appeared in the January 2015 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Warda by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 06:34 am

The article appeared in the January 2011 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Two Routes to Liverpool by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 05:51 am

This article appeared in the April 2011 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Johann Kilian as Father by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 05:03 am

This article appeared in the January 2012 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Death on the Irish Sea by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 04:44 am

This article appeared in the October 2012 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.wendishresearch.org)

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When Is a Leader Not the Leader? by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 01:26 am

This article appeared in the January 2004 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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The Wends at Thorndale and Noack by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 01:01 am

This article appeared in the April 2008 newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Setting the Record Straight by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:57 am

Theis article appeared in the October 2010 issue of the Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Wendish Settlements - Knippa, Texas by Jan Slack and George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:51 am

Other than Serbin and Warda, place names that reflect the Wendish presence in Texas are hard to find. There is one more, however, in Uvalde County, between San Antonio and Mexico, an area where you would least expect to find it. The town, originally called Chatfield, was renamed Knippa after George Knippa, who settled there in 1887. In the following article, Jan Slack provides a brief history of the town of Knippa and its Wendish roots. Jan is a past TWHS president and secretary, and currently serves on the board of directors and as the newsletter editor. Her connection to the Wends is through both her parents (great-great-grandfathers Johann Knippa and Mathaus Wukasch migrated on the Ben Nevis in 1854). She was born and raised in Austin and now resides in Lee County with her husband Charlie. She has three grown children and a 6- year-old granddaughter.

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Johann Kilian's Call by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:45 am

This article first appeared n the July 2008 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society in Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Fedor by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:41 am

This article first appeared n the January 2009 and April 2009 Newsletters of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society in Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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Becoming Men: How Two Wends Did It in 1882 by George Nielsen and Luther Dube

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:29 am

This article appeared in the October 2010 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society of Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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The Aftermath of the Ben Nevis Voyage: Reconstruction by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:07 am

This article was first printed in the January 2012 edition of the Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society in Serbin, Texas (www.texaswendish.org).

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How do you get to Serbin? by George Nielsen

Monday 16 March 2015 at 12:05 am

This article was first published in the July 2011 Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society in Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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A Nation for the Wends by George Nielsen

Sunday 15 March 2015 at 11:51 pm

This article first appeared in the January 2010 edition of the Newsletter of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society in Serbin, Texas. (www.texaswendish.org)

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