Some Background
Our Dzick to Mitschke to Moerbe Lineage
Merten Dzick and His Wife, Urta
Jury Dzick and Hanna Brauzke, nee Donke
Jakob Dzick-Mitschke-Mörbe and Maria Lück
Jakob Mörbe and Anna Nurčan
Testament of Judge and Armorer Jakob Mörbe
Mertin Nurčan’s Day in Court
The Thaler (Taler)
Jakob Mörbe and Maria Kuchar
Ferdinand Jacob Moerbe and Johanne Rachel Dube
Jacob Moerbe’s Obituary
Excerpt from Pastor Kilian’s Letter dated 10-19-1858
Carl August Moerbe and Ernestine Michalk
Lydia Lina Moerbe and Johann Otto Biar
Other Moerbes
Johann Carl Mörbe (1826)
Ernst Adolph Moerbe (1824)
Johann Mörbe [Moerbe] (1830)
Pastor Gustav Mürbe (Mjerwa)
Mörbe (Moerbe) or Mjerwa
Dubrausky (Dubrauske)
Dubrausky (Dubrauske) Lineage
Guttau or Hučina
Excerpt from A Centennial Story of the Lutheran Church in Texas – Page 99
Revised: 11-18-02
Revised: 6-12-04
This history is about the Moerbe family and covers some of its genealogy and a variety of subjects pertinent to the family’s background. It was not my intention to write a complete history and genealogy of the Moerbe family. My resolve was to go back as far as possible and bring the family from Lusatia and “transplant” it in Texas. Perhaps someday someone will bring the history and genealogy up-to-date.
My knowledge of German enabled me to do much research in that language. The fact that I spent two years (1945 – 1947) with U.S. Army Intelligence in Germany gave me an insight into gathering information. Researching your “roots” is much like collecting intelligence data – you need to fit the bits and pieces together. In work like this persistence, accuracy and perseverance are of utmost importance.
In 1972 I made a trip to the Bautzen area in East Germany and visited many of the villages listed in this history. Another trip was made in 1982 and two more trips were made in 1992 and 1994. There was also very much correspondence with various people, most of it in German.
I want to thank all those who helped me with dates of birth, marriage and death. If any of you want to use parts of this history, or make a copy of all or part of it, you have my permission. However, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you and invite your comments. This history has been revised several times and copies have appeared under several titles. I had no intention of revising it again, but since I lost my last revision in my old computer, I loaded what I had into my new computer and, naturally, I revised it again, hopefully for the last time.  Should you find any errors, please call them to my attention. As corrections and additional information become available addenda may be warranted.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the late Frau Annemarie Mihan, Niedergurig, Germany, who supplied much of the information of the early history of the Moerbe family and who answered a multitude of my questions. It was a great pleasure for me to meet this fine Christian lady in 1982. At least 25 letters flowed each way. Frau Mihan was in her middle eighties when she suffered a stroke and died in 1989. Her late husband, Johannes, was a descendant of Maria Mitschke, the daughter of Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, and his first wife, Anna Mitschke, neé Britsche.  Jakob Mitschke, later adopted the surname Mörbe and his daughter, Maria Mitschke, was then known as Maria Mörbe. Frau Mihan’s late husband was also related to the Biar side of my family. In 1992 I had the pleasure of visiting Frau Mihan’s son, Johannes, in Niedergurig.

For those who do not know me, permit me to mention that I am a native of Thorndale, Texas. My parents were Otto Biar and Lydia, neé Moerbe. In 1947 I married Stefana Todt who was born and grew up in Neisse, Silesia (Schlesien), Germany. Since 1968 we have been living in Denver where I completed 36 years as an accountant with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) before retiring on 1 August 1983. In February 2001 we moved to Carrollton, Texas.

Bill Biar

My search for our Moerbe ancestors took me to East Germany, to a region called Lusatia (Lausitz). They lived, for the most part, in “Kreis” (County) Bautzen in Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz), northeast of the city of Bautzen. At the time of most of my research, Kreis Bautzen was a part of the District (Bezirk) of Dresden, one of the 14 districts that made up the former East German Republic.
After World War II about one-fourth of German territory, all east of the Oder and Lusatian Neisse Rivers, was given to Poland and Russia. The rest of Germany was divided into two countries. West Germany, known as the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland), was orientated toward the west. East Germany, known as the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), was one of the eastern block of nations that embraced communism. East Germany did away with former provinces or states, such as, Saxony and Brandenburg. In the place of provinces 14 administrative districts (Bezirk – Bezirke) were formed. These werenamed after the chief city in each district. In 1990 the two Germanys were united and the country is now known as the Federal Republic of Germany. Provinces were re-instated in the east. Former Silesian territory on the westside of the Lusatian Neisse River is now included in the newly formed Province of Saxony. Most of the Prussian (Silesian) Wends who migrated to Texas came from this area. The Saxon Wends came from Saxony toward the south.
When our Moerbe ancestors came to Texas in 1854 they were known as “Wends,” in German, WENDEN.  At one time all Slavic people who lived in Germany were called Wends. Later, Slavic speaking people who lived in Lusatiacontinued to be known as Wends. However, today, the Lusatian Slavs, often referred to as Wends, are officially known as Sorbs – Sorbian (German: Sorben – sorbisch) (Sorbian: Serbja – serbski). The Sorbs are the only peoplein Germany that can still be identified as Slavic. All others have been totally assimilated by the Germans and their languages have disappeared. Sorbs is better usage than Wends. However, most people in Texas have never heard of the Sorbs, but are perhaps acquainted with the Wends. In this composition our ancestors are referred to both as Wends and Sorbs.
Lusatia was the homeland of the Wends or Sorbs for centuries. The region of Lusatia is divided into two parts, Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz) in the south and Lower Lusatia (Niederlausitz) in the north. At the time of the Wendish Emigration of 1854, the southern part of Upper Lusatia belonged to the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), while the northern part belonged to the Province of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). Lower Lusatia was located in the Provinces of Silesia and Brandenburg in Prussia.
My search took me back to the time of the Thirty Years War. This war, which began in 1618, ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Many battles were fought in Lusatia. Less than 50 per cent of the Wendish population survived this catastrophe. Lusatia had five epidemics of the plague from 1625 and 1643. Nearly 2/3 of all property was destroyed. It took the German territories almost two hundred years to fully recover from thisterrible war.  Our Moerbe ancestors survived this and many other wars and hardships. They were hardy peasants.
The German language employs the modified vowels (Umlaut – Umlaute) ä, ö and ü. As a rule, all German names of persons, places, etc., on church and archive records and maps employ umlauts to indicate modified vowels when applicable. We retain umlauts in English by writing the ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, BÄHR is written BAEHR; MÖRBE, MOERBE; and WÜNSCHE, WUENSCHE. The spelling of place names with umlauts when applicable has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.
Merten Dzick married Urta
B.1638                                                   B. 1638
D. 19 Mar 1700: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony   D. 3 Jul 1688: Baruth, Saxony
Juri Dzick married 22 Oct 1697: Baruth, Saxony to Urta Valke
B. 31 Aug 1672: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony               B.1674: Buchwalde, Saxony
D.12 Feb 1734: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony                D. 25 Mar 1712: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony  
Juri Dzick married 15 Apr 1713: Baruth, Saxony to Hanna Brauzke, née Donke [+]
B. 5 Mar 1678: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony                 D. 27Feb1762: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony
Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe married 19 Sep 1742: Gröditz, Saxony to Anna Mitschke née Britsche
B. 1 Jun 1720: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony                  B. 1709: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony 
D. 6 Jan 1804: Baruth, Saxony                              D.2 Apr 1746: Buchwalde,Saxony     
Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe married 17 Jan 1747: Guttau, Saxony to Maria Lück [+]
                                                                         B. Gleina, Saxony
                                                                         D. 21 Nov 1780: Baruth, Saxony
Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe married 30 Nov 1783: Brosa, Saxony to Magdalene Basche
                                                                         B. Brösa, Saxony
Jakob Mörbe married 2 Feb 1779: Gröditz, Saxony to Anna Nurčan
B. 16 Mar 1755: Baruth, Saxony                 B. 10 Jan 1760: Rackel, Saxony
D. 25 Mar 1806: Baruth, Saxony                 D. 20 Jan 1825: Milkel, Saxony
Jakob Mörbe [+] married 27 Apr 1819: Guttau, Saxony to Maria Kuchar
B. 2 Oct 1789: Baruth, Saxony                     B. 19 Mar 1801: Neudörfel, Saxony
D. 17 Nov 1832: Guttau, Saxony                  D. 21 May 1855: Guttau, Saxony
Andreas Kästner married 2 Feb 1834: Guttau, Saxony to Maria Kuchar                         
B. 1807: Wurschen, Saxony                                        
D. 9 Feb 1844: Guttau, Saxony
Ferdinand Jakob Mörbe married 14 May 1854: Baruth, Saxony to Anna Holfeld
B. 6 Dec 1828: Guttau, Saxony                      B. 2 Dec 1828: Neudörfel, Saxony
D. 13 Dec 1896: Thorndale, Texas                 D. 30 Nov 1854: On BenNevis at Sea
Ferdinand Jakob Mörbe married 17 May 1855: Serbin, Texas to Johanne Rahel Dube [+]
                                                                  B. 4 Aug 1834: Sohland am Rotstein, Saxony
                                                                  D. 15 Aug 1917: Thorndale, Texas
Carl August Moerbe married 9 Feb 1883: Fedor, Texas to Ernstine Michalk
B. 17 Jan 1860: Serbin, Texas                       B. 14 Oct 1862: Sandförstgen, Silesia
D. 06 Sep 1944: Taylor, Texas                      D. 15 Jan 1936: Thorndale,Texas
Lydia Lina Moerbe married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Johann Otto Biar
B. 8 Feb 1885: Fedor, Texas                         B. 1 Oct 1879: Serbin, Texas
D. 24Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas                        D. 14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas
Given names and original surnames, including maiden names, of persons born in what is now Germany, are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used.
“Née” was used for the German “geborne” (geb.), indicating a maiden name.
The spelling of place names was taken from a modern German map.
A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien), in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the Counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the Counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After the unification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the counties of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda are included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany. 
Moerbe ancestors can be traced in church records to Merten Dzick. His date of birth predates the records at both Baruth and Guttau; however, his death on 19 March 1700 is recorded in the Baruth records. He reached the age of 62 so that he was born circa 1638. He was a small farmer (Gärtner) at Kleinsaubernitz, east of Guttau. Merten and Urta Dzick are recorded in the Baruth marriage records as the parents of Jury Dzick, who was our ancestor.  Urta’s maiden surname is not given. She died on 3 July 1668 at the age of 50 so that she also was born circa 1638.
Jury (Georg) Dzick was born on 31 August 1672 at Kleinsaubernitz. He was a small farmer (Gärtner) and judge (Gerichtsältester). His first wife was Urta Valke, whom he married on 22 October 1697. She was born in 1674 and died on 25 March 1712.
His second marriage was to a widow, Hanna Brauzke, née Donke, on 15 April 1713. She was born on 5 March 1678 at Kleinsaubernitz. Her parents were Juri (Georg) Donke and Wurtha, née Heinze. Jury Dzick died on 12 February 1734 and Hanna on 27 February 1762, both at Kleinsaubernitz. Their son, Jakob, was our ancestor.
Jakob Dzick was born at Kleinsaubernitz on 1 June 1720. On 19 September 1742 he married Anna Mitschke, née Britsche, the widow of Jan Mitschke. She was born at Kleinsaubernitz in 1709 and at the time of their marriage she was 33 years old while he was 22, a difference of 11 years. At this time Jakob changed his surname to Mitschke. In those days when a peasant with little or no means married a widow whose former husband owned some farm land, he usually adopted the surname of the former husband. The amount of land in this case was one-half of a hide (Hufe), known as a Halbhufengut. These peasants were known as Halbhüfner and were the “biggest” farmers on some of the manors northeast of Bautzen. These manors or landed-estates were known as Rittergüter or Herrengüter (landed-estates owned by knights or lords). The Mitschke land was located at Buchwalde, southwest of Guttau. Jakob and Anna’s marriage was blessed with one daughter, Maria. Anna died on 22 April 1746 after only four years of marriage. It is assumed that the oldest son of Anna’s first marriage was in line to inherit the farm. At any rate, Jakob Mitschke lost his farm and had to look elsewhere.
On 17 January 1747 Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, married Maria Lück. Her date and place of birth are not available. Her father was Johann Lück from Gleina, south of Guttau. The surname Lück actually belonged to Maria’s mother. Her father’s original surname was Wokow before he adopted his wife’s surname. After Maria’s father died her mother married Martin Holisch, the blacksmith at Guttau. Jakob and Maria were blessed with two sons, Jan  (also called Johann) and Jakob. The younger son, Jakob, was our ancestor.
In 1756 Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, purchased one-half of a hide of land at Baruth, paying 250 Görlitzer Marks for it. The Halbhufengut belonged to the estate of Mathes Mörwe and his wife, both of whom died in 1744.  At this time Jakob changed his surname to Mörwe. The name-change was associated with the purchase of the Mörwefarm. The relationship that Jakob had with the Mörwes was through the first wife of Jury Dzick, Urta Valke.  Laterthe spelling was changed to Mörbe. This is how the family name MÖRBE, that is, MOERBE, came to us since Jakob’s children also adopted this surname even though they were formerly known by the surname of Mitschke.  Maria Mörbe, neé Lück, died on 21 November 1780. She was our ancestress.
On 30 November 1783 Jakob married yet a third time, to a widow, named Magdalene Basche, from Brösa, west of Guttau. Her maiden name, the date and place of birth, as well as, the date and place of death, are not available. She outlived her husband, who died at the age of 83 on 6 January 1804. Survivors, besides his wife, were the daughter, Maria, from his first marriage and two sons, Jan and Jakob, from his second one.  Jakob DZICK, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe, must be recognized as the patriarch of our Moerbe family.
Jakob was born at Baruth on 16 March 1755. On 2 February 1779 he married Anna Nurčan. This name is spelled various ways: Nutzschansk, Nutszan, Nutzschan, Nuzzschank, etc. Nurčan is Sorbian. She was born on 10 January 1760 at Rackel near Gröditz and her parents were Mertin Nurčan and Hanna, neé Schram.
According to custom Jakob’s older brother, Jan, inherited the Mörbe farm. In various documents Jakob is identified as the hereditary blacksmith at Baruth. Even though there is the indication of being the hereditary  blacksmith (Erbschmied), no record of being related to a former blacksmith of Baruth, either by blood or by marriage, has been found. It must be pointed out that a valid relationship could go back several generations. If there was no relationship to a former owner, then Jakob’s father could have purchased the blacksmith shop with the approval of the owner of the manor.
We have a record of a will Jakob made on 25 June 1802. (A translation appears elsewhere, together with a short description of retirement, in those days.) He was identified as a judge and armorer (Richter und Waffenschmied) and designated his oldest son, Johann, as his successor in 4 years. There were pay out provisions for other surviving brothers and sisters. Provisions were made for a place to live, for food and a garden plot.  However, Jakob died a fewmonths before the 4 years, stipulated in his will, were over. Jakob’s wife, for whom the will also provided, lived until 1825.
Mertin Nurčan, Hanna’s father, had some difficulties with the authorities. It usually had to do with mandatory or compulsory labor (Frondienste, Fronarbeit, etc.; in Sorbian Robota, from where we get the word “robot”) for the manorial estate. A synopsis of the court proceedings appear elsewhere.
At the time of Jakob’s death on 25 March 1806, he was identified as a blacksmith, judge and church elder(Schmied, Richter und Kirchvater). Anna died at Milkel, northwest and somewhat removed from Baruth, on 20 January 1825. Jakob, their youngest son, was our ancestor.
In the Name of God:
I, the undersigned, acknowledge herewith that I bequeath my blacksmith shop to my oldest son, Johann Mörbe, under the following conditions:
I still want to keep the shop for four more years.
408 in conventional coins to be paid to the surviving brothers and sisters for 6 consecutive years after he takes over the shop, 5 also to be paid to me or his mother. Rights reserved (Ausgedinge), 3 bushels of rye and 12 cans (Kannen) of butter from Walpurgis [1 May] until St. Michaels’s Day [29 September]; 2 cans of good milk and the border field [garden plot] near the meadow; for each festival reserve 2 measures of wheat flour and a goose and a hen and some garden vegetables; and not restrain me from making something out of my iron in the blacksmith shop.
And I will live in the upper room and provide the necessary firewood. [I will receive] half of all fruit and should the mother die before I do, then a decrease of 1 bushel of rye and 4 cans of butter will be made; or if I should die in like manner; and should my son die before his future wife without legitimate heirs, then a payout of 100 Thalers will be made to her parents.
Signed / Jacob Mörbe, Local Blacksmith Baruth, 25 June 1802
[Translated by Bill Biar]
The original will is in the State Archives in Bautzen. As you will note the will is not always clear. Most of the periods and all semicolons were put in by the translator.
A Saxon Kanne (can) was .94 liter or almost a quart.
St. Walpurgis was an English missionary and abbess in Germany, who died in 778. Her canonization is observed 1 May. Superstition has it that on St. Walpurgis Night witches danced on old heathen sacrificial and tribunal sites.
Retired peasants in many parts of Germany, including our Wendish ancestors, were called Auszügler or Ausgedinger in German. Both have to do with retirement.
An Auszügler [one who moves out] moves out to smaller living quarters, either in the same house or to a smaller house [hut] nearby. The person named in his will, as his successor, may then occupy the living quarters of the farm, blacksmith shop, etc., when he takes over.
An Ausgedinger [one who reserves rights] makes a will prior to retirement with certain reservations [Ausgedinge].He names his successor and stipulates certain rights to which he is entitled; such as, a place to live, food, a garden plot, etc.
The oldest son usually inherited the farm, or other property, with payout provisions for the rest of the children.
Legal proceedings in the court at Baruth against Martin Nutzschank (Mertin Nurčan), the father of Anna Mörbe, neé Nurčan, are on file in the State Archives in Bautzen. Following is a brief summary:
On 7 May 1756, he was charged by the Baruth Court [In those days the upper nobility in the County of Bautzen lived at Baruth and Neschwitz so that both had the character of small principalities] that, “On 10 April 1756, he was ordered on the day of mandatory labor for the manorial estate to haul some rye from Klein-Radmeritz [11 kilometers, about 7 miles, southeast of Baruth] and since the rye was of poor quality he should have hauled 8 bushels per bill of sale, but he brought only 6 bushels to Baruth.” He was also charged with “about 14 days ago he cut wood near the pheasantry without getting permission from the proper authorities.” He admitted hauling only 6 bushels. He said that “he was not required to load more whether or not it was inferior or good rye; maybe it should have read barley.” It was explained to him that the bill of sale clearly stated 8 bushels of inferior rye and that he was required to follow orders. Concerning the wood he said that “he had not been sufficiently instructed; therefore, he should not be punished.”
The court ruled that he was guilty of impropriety for hauling less grain than required by the bill of sale and by unlawfully cutting wood. The court set his fine at 2 Reichsthaler and 12 Groschen, payable within 8 days. 
Since he failed to pay the fine in the allotted time the Rackel authorities took a cow away from him. This cow was sold at Baruth for 6 Reichsthalers and 12 Groschen. Evidently, the Rackel authorities kept the entire amount.
A person wonders why there was an issue made of hauling only 6 bushels of rye instead of 8. The answer seems to rest in the weight. Inferior rye weighs less than good rye. Barley also weighs less per bushel than rye. It appears that a normal load of rye was 6 bushels while a normal load of barley was 8 bushels. The authorities wanted to get a little extra “mileage” out of Mertin Nurčan but he did not want to be pushed around. Like always, the lord of the manor won. The German word for bushel is Scheffel. At that time a Saxon Scheffel of
rye weighed about 192 pounds and a Scheffel of barley weighed about 164 pounds. It is interesting to note that at one time Scheffel was also used for measurement of land in Saxony.
A Reichsthaler was a silver coin worth about 3 Marks. Using the January 1985 exchange rate of approximately 3 Marks to the dollar, the Reichsthaler was the equivalent of an American dollar. Reich means “empire” or “imperial,” and Thaler [modern spelling Taler] means “dollar.” The Thaler was named after a coin that was minted in Joachimsthal (now in the Czech Republic) called Joachimsthaler. The Joachims was eventually dropped and the coin was called Thaler, Reichsthaler, etc. Even our dollar derivated from Thaler. The Thaler, now spelled Taler, is no longer used in Germany. Groschen is sometimes translated as “penny,” in German Pfennig, meaning one-hundredth part. However, at first there were 24, later 30, Groschen to the Thaler. Groschen are no longer used in Germany. The Czech name for Joachimsthal is Jachymov.
Jakob was born at Baruth on 2 October 1789. He, like his father and oldest brother, was a blacksmith. His oldest brother, Johann, inherited the blacksmith shop at Baruth. Jakob was the hereditary blacksmith (Erbschmied) at Guttau. Here is a typical example of how a peasant became the hereditary blacksmith even though the shop did not belong to his father. In 1727, Martin Holisch, the blacksmith at Guttau, married the widow, Maria Lück. Maria Holisch, neé Lück, was the mother of the Maria Lück who became the second wife of Jacob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe. (See JAKOB DZICK-MITSCHKE-MÖRBE AND MARIA LÜCK) Actually, Martin Holisch was the step great grandfather of Jakob Mörbe (born in 1789). Since there was no other eligible male available Jakob became the hereditary blacksmith at Guttau by virtue of his being distantly related by marriage to the former blacksmith at
Guttau. It was unusual to have brothers as hereditary blacksmiths in two separate villages, Baruth and Guttau.
On 27 April 1819 Jakob married Maria Kuchar (Koch in German – Cook in English) from Neudörfel, about 2 kilometers from Guttau. She was born on 19 March 1801. Her parents were Johann Kuchar, a farmer(Grossgärtner) at Neudörfel, and his wife, Anna Kuchar, neé Triede, from Gröditz.  
Johann Kuchar’s parents were Georg Biele, aka Kuchar, and Hanscha Kuchar. Hanscha did not have any brothers and when George married her, he adopted the surname Kuchar.
Jakob and Maria Mörbe had three sons and three daughters. The youngest son, Ferdinand Jakob, was our ancestor. He and his oldest brother, Ernst Adolph, came to Texas in 1854 with the large Wendish  immigration.  Jakob (1789), identified as a blacksmith, church elder and assistant judge (Schmied, Kirchvater and Gerichtsschoppe) at Guttau, died of pneumonia on 17 November 1832 at the age of 43.
The widow, Maria, married Andreas Kästner in 1834. He was born in 1807 at Wurschen, south of Baruth.  He died in 1844. Maria died at Guttau on 21 May 1855.
In 1854, Jacob and Anna were among a group of over 550 Wends who left their homeland and came to Texas. Among the 73 persons who died en route was Anna. She died on the ship BEN NEVIS on 30 November 1854 and was buried at sea. Thus Jacob was a young widower when he arrived at Galveston, Texas, on 16 December 1854. After reaching Serbin he stayed with his older brother, Ernst Adolph, and family, until he married again.
On 17 May 1855, Jacob married Johanne Rahel (Rachel) Dube. She was born at Sohland (now known as Sohland am Rotstein), County of Görlitz, Saxony, on 4 August 1834. Her place of birth was a considerable distance from where most of the Wends came. Her parents were Michael Dube and Johanna Dube, neé Tanniger. The writer’s mother told him that when Jacob’s first wife lay on her death bed she suggested that he marry Annie (Johanne).
As far as can be determined from the records on file in the National Archives, Washington, D,C., Jacob was mustered into service in the Confederate Army at the age of 34 on 24 June 1862. He was enrolled as a private in Captain Julius Bose’s Company, Texas Volunteer Infantry, at Camp Terry, located on the Colorado River near Austin. However, after only 20 days in the army, including a furlough from 24 June to 7 July 1862, the following appears on his service record: “Discharged – Remarks: By reason of surgeon’s certificate of discharge at S. Antonio, July 14, ’62.” This writer heard that the disability was his extreme bowleggedness.
It appears that his service during the Civil War did not end with his discharge from the army. The writer’s mother said that he, being a tailor, sewed uniforms for officers in San Antonio. No other information about his duty as a tailor is available.
Jacob and Annie reared a family of nine children as follows:
NAME                         BORN                DIED              SPOUSE 
Maria Magdalene (1)    01 Oct 1856      18 Jan 1921     Ernst Waiser – 1843-1918      
Ernst Adolph (1)          21 Mar 1858     23 Nov 1939     Maria Urban – 1863-1936     
Carl August (2)           17 Jan 1860      06 Sep 1944      Ernestine Michalk* – 1862-1936
Carl Johann (2)           06 Jul 1863      16 Jun 1936      Johanna Ernestine Michalk+   
August Hermann (2)    11 Feb 1865     22 Nov 1928      Maria Schultz – 1867-1940     
Emil Ferdinand (1)      30 Mar 1868     01 May 1951     Marie Emilie Schneider – 1878-1962
Carl Traugott (1)        13 Jan 1870     13 Feb.1935      Emma Simmank – 1877              
Johanna Emma (3)     14 Aug 1872      04 Dec 1905    Paul Schultz – 1864     
Johanna (Anna) (4)    02 Oct 1875      15 Nov 1896     Wilhelm Eifert                                   
[Mrs. John Moerbe+ was Mrs. August Moerbe’s* niece.]
(1) Born while members of St. Paul, Serbin
(2) Born while members of first St. Peter, Serbin
(3) Born while members of second St. Peter, Serbin
(4) Born while members of Trinity, Fedor
St. Paul was initially known as “The First Sorbian Lutheran Church in Texas.” On 8 January 1871 the official name was changed to “The First Wendish and German St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Unaltered Augsburg Confession, in Serbin, Lee County.”
It is obvious from the above that the Jacob Moerbe family belonged to both break-away Lutheran congregations at Serbin. There were internal difficulties in Serbin from the very beginning. The congregation had been organized by members of the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church in Prussia, a Lutheran free church.  Up to 1843, when the Old Lutheran congregations at Weigersdorf and Klitten (in Prussia) were organized, all
Lutherans in Prussia were considered members of the Prussian State Church. Even though many Lutherans living in Saxony were in sympathy with the Old Lutheran movement, they did not organize Old Lutheran congregations but remained in the Saxon State Church. Many of the Prussian Wends, who came to Texas, did not join the Old Lutherans until just before the emigration. Thus, to begin with, the Serbin Wends came from an Old Lutheran, as well as, a state church, background.
Another factor that neéds to be taken into consideration is that the Lutheran Church in many parts of Germany had been influenced by pietism since the 17th century. Pietism often overemphasized experience and enthusiasm. Pietism did not separate itself from the Lutheran Church but remained in it. It is, therefore, safe to state that some Wends brought pietistic tendencies to Texas.
We also learn from history that the Wends had a tendency toward factionalism. Another factor was the language problem, although it appears to have been less of a factor in forming the first St. Peter congregation than the second one. Finally, Pastor Kilian was obligated to teach school. This decreased the time he had available for pastoral duties, not only in Serbin, but in the surrounding area. By taking all the above factors into consideration it is not hard to understand why internal strife commenced soon after our Wendish settlers arrived at Serbin.
In the vicinity of Serbin there was a congregation composed of German Methodists. Some of the Wends, especially some of the Saxons, were impressed with Methodist worship. They appear to have been very much influenced by pietism. The leaders of these Wendish enthusiasts were Johann Noack from Gröditz and Johann Urban from Rackel. However, only Johann Noack and his wife joined the Methodists.
Some of the dissidents contacted Pastor J. Georg Lieb of Round Top, a member of the Texas Synod. In a letter, dated 19 October 1858, Pastor Kilian wrote Pastor Gumlich in Weigersdorf that on October 9 one of the so-called separatists, Jacob Moerbe, appeared with Pastor Lieb at his house on behalf of the dissidents. Jacob Moerbe wanted to know why the secessionists were excluded from Communion at the Wendish church. [A translation of an excerpt from the above letter is included in this history.] On 16 October 1858, the first St. Peter congregation
was organized and joined the Texas Synod. Pastor Lieb served as their first pastor. He accepted a call to Austin in 1864 and Rev. C. Christian Rudi became their next pastor. The congregation never exceeded 45 communicant members. Pastor Rudi must not have been very impressed with the members because he stated that they were always quarreling among themselves. Toward the end of 1866 he accepted a call to East Navidad.  The Texas Synod did not supply St. Peter with another pastor and the congregation withdrew from the Texas Synod in early 1867. Following the withdrawal the members returned to the Wendish mother church. This was the end of the first St. Peter.
In a voters’ meeting on 26 December 1867 the Serbin mother church accepted nine of the former members of St. Peter, including Jacob Moerbe, as voters. In the voters’ meeting on 5 January 1868, only 17 days later, Jacob Moerbe was elected to the seven member church council. He was the only one of the former members of St.
Peter to be elected.
All along, internal strife in the mother church erupted from time to time. Just before and after the Civil War, many more immigrants arrived from Germany and settled in the Serbin area. They joined the Wendish church. Those who were pure Germans had little interest in learning Wendish. This caused the tension of the language problem, Wendish versus German, to increase. However, the pro-German party was not made up of pure Germans but
chiefly of Wends. Thus it was really a pro-Wendish versus pro-German problem and not so much Wendish versus German problem. It appears that nationalism became yet another factor in the controversy. Finally, the internal strife led to the second separation on 25 September 1870. The new group called itself St. Peter, but unlike the first group, they did not join the Texas Synod but, rather, the Missouri Synod, so that there were two Missouri Synod congregations at Serbin.
The Jacob Moerbe family also joined the second St. Peter congregation. Many of the members of the second St. Peter congregation migrated to Fedor later on. The Jacob Moerbe family moved there the latter part of 1872. Here he was a prominent church member. Rev. Gotthilf Birkmann in his article in the April 2, 1931, issue of the GIDDINGS DEUTSCHES VOLKSBLATT stated that when he and his sister arrived in Fedor in 1876 they stayed with the Jacob Moerbes until they could make their house a little more habitable.
Ernst Adolph, the oldest son, was a farmer at Fedor while August, Johann (John) and Carl were farmers in the Thorndale area.
Hermann and John Michalk operated Moerbe and Michalk Mercantile in Thorndale and in 1911 Hermann, his wife and family moved to Bishop, where he was a farmer.
Emil was a Lutheran pastor, who from 1892 until 1895, served as a missionary, based at Cisco, also served Abilene, Baird and Big Spring. A considerable amount of his time was spent at Abilene. When an Episcopal chapel became available in Abilene he borrowed $500 from his father to buy it. The congregation repaid some of the debt, but not very much. When he married, his father, as a wedding gift, canceled the remainder of the debt. This was certainly an unusual wedding present. Emil was the pastor at Giddings from 1895 until 1909 and then at Hamilton from 1909 until 1939, when he retired. He served on the Texas District Mission Board for 36 years. When Pastor Moerbe visited Thorndale he always visited his brother, August, and this writer had the pleasure of hearing him relate his experiences as a member of the mission board, one such experience being his trip to Mexico City.
Maria Magdalene married Ernst Waiser and Johanna Emma married Paul Schultz, both farmers in the Thorndale area. Johanna (Anna) married Wilhelm Eifert from Cisco in 1895. She died a year later and was buried at Thorndale.
In 1893 Jacob and Johanne moved to Thorndale. He died on 13 December 1896 and was buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. After Jacob’s death Johanne made her home with her son, August. She died on 15 August 1917 and was buried beside her husband.
Thorndale, Texas, Jan. 6 (1897) (Delayed) Last Sunday our congregation held its annual meeting. During it three members were received, so that the congregation now has 27 voting members in all. During this meeting we also had to delete the name of a dear member, the name of our chief elder, Jacob Moerbe, whom the Lord called home shortly before the end of the year. Father Moerbe, as he was generally called, was born on 1[?] December 1828 in Guttau, Kingdom of Saxony. In 1854 he immigrated to Texas with Pastor Kilian and, at first, settled in Serbin, Lee County, where he married Johanna Dube in the year of 1855. In 1872 he moved to Fedor and in 1893 to Thorndale, where three of his children settled before him. The Lord permitted Mr. Moerbe to live and work in our midst for only three year, but in these few years he did much in our congregation and, in word and deed, he worked in the external and internal affairs of it, so that we also, as a congregation, must acknowledge him with the honorary title of “Father Moerbe,” he was a teacher and an example for our young congregation. The deceased also took a brisk and active part in synodical matters, especially in mission work.  Since 12 October of last year, Mr. Moerbe was bed-ridden as a result of cerebral apoplexy and everyone foresaw his approaching end. He also longed for it and was looking forward to departing and to be home with the Lord. On 13 December his wish was granted, when, he, as a tired, earthly pilgrim, peacefully, like a Simeon, fell asleep, “fine, gentle and silent,” in confident faith in his Savior and entered, just like we confidently hope, into eternal rest, which is in store for the people of God. The funeral sermon that was delivered was based on the words in Revelation: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,” etc. The deceased is survived by his deeply afflicted wife, eight children (the youngest daughter recently preceded him into eternity), three sons-in-law, six daughters-in-law, besides a large number of grandchildren. May the memory of him remain with us as a blessing.
Translated from the German by Bill Biar, 15 June 1979
Below is an excerpt from a letter written by Pastor Kilian on October 19, 1858 to Pastor Gumlich, Weigersdorf, Silesia (Prussia). The translation is by Bill Biar, Denver, CO, 7 July 1993.
On the 9th of October (Saturday) Pastor Lieb, personally known and befriended by me, came to my house with the separatist, Jacob Moerbe from Neudorf near Guttau, and said that he was asked by persons who were knowledgeable to find out what was going on between us. He was taking an interest in these people so that they would not go over to the Methodists. I answered: “It is a matter of an unresolved congregational quarrel; I stand accused by the seceded party at my superiors in St. Louis; my case is pending at the synodical judiciary; therefore, as an accused, I could not tell him what to do or not to do. We need to wait for an answer from St. Louis.” Then Jacob Moerbe broke in: “Why I stated at the congregational meeting that the secessionists were excluded from our communion?” I answered: “Because they are irreconcilable and after the receipt of the congregational letter they no longer wanted to negotiate with us, which the letter explicitly requested, which is also required by Christian duty.” Where-upon Pastor Lieb referred to Matt. 5:23-24 and decided not to give them Holy Communion on the 10th of October, the day it was scheduled. On the 10th of October (Sunday), another attempt at reconciliation was arranged.  I did not object for him to address the separatists and admonish them to make peace. The attempted reconciliation was held that afternoon. Our side was represented by the Church Council, namely, Johann Dube, Carl Lehmann, Andreas Lowke, Matthes Wukasch, Carl Teinert and George Schelnik. The separatists were represented by Johann Urban from Rakel, August Polnik from Weigersdorf and Matthes Schmidt (the old Hunter-Schmidt) from Reichwalde. The latter asked what we really wanted from them; they did not want to return to me. They did not want me as father confessor.  There is freedom in America.  They accused me that in my sermons there was too much gospel, too little law in its severity. I said, “I did not have any other manner of preaching and could not understand their accusation.” To this Urban said my sermons had no power. Already toward the last in Weigersdorf my sermons had no power. If I would mend my ways, which would soon become evident, he would come back to me. I asked if it was true that they were of the opinion that it did not matter much to which church one belongs as long as repentance and faith were preached. Johann Urban embraced this statement as his own and pointed to Martin Boos.  [Martin Boos, 1762-1825, was a Catholic priest who preached a doctrine of salvation by faith resembling that of Luther for which he was imprisoned several times and driven about.] I asked, “Would you also run to the Catholic Church, just like you did the Methodists, when a man like Martin Boos makes an appearance?” Urban broke in: “Yes, that I would do.” Then one of our side said: “So you want to become ‘united.’” [In Prussia ‘united’ (Uniert) had reference to the union of the Lutheran and Reformed religions.] Urban: “Let us indeed be ‘united.’” During this meeting there were sharp attacks against one another. However, since these attacks did nothing to resolve the matter, but only led to more agitation, the meeting was adjourned.
The unreconciled and irreconcilable separatists had Pastor Lieb come again and before noon last Saturday, the 16th of October, he preached and gave them Holy Communion. With that, on the 16th of October our separatists went over to the so-called Lutheran, but really “united” (unierte) Texas Synod.
Carl August Moerbe, who went by his second name of August, was born at Serbin, Texas, on 17 January 1860, the third child and second son of Jacob Moerbe and Johanne, neé Dube. In late 1872 the Moerbe family moved to Fedor. August grew up on his parents’ farm. By hard work and thrift he was able to purchase a cotton gin and 149 acres of land in 1893. After six years he sold out for $8,000. In 1899, with the money placed in a molasses bucket and the bucket placed under the seat of his wagon, he headed for Thorndale. Here he purchased 329 acres of land of which 145 was under cultivation. He plotted a portion of his land and sold a number of lots, sold some for farming purposes and farmed the rest. Later he bought another 320 acres just south of town on which the family residence was built. He and his wife, Ernestine, neé Michalk, lived there the remainder of their lives. The site is where the Harold Biar residence is located. Harold happens to be a grandson.
August married Ernestine Michalk at Fedor on 9 February 1883. She was born at Sandförstgen,Silesia (Prussia), on 14 October 1862. Her parents were Carl Michalk and Magdalene, neé Zschieschan (Zieschang). Around 1875 the Michalk family moved from Sandförstgen to Baruth in Saxony, where she was confirmed in 1877. In 1879 she decided to go along with her brother, Ernst, and his wife, Ernestine, neé Zieschang, who had decided to immigrate to Texas. She wanted to visit her brother, Carl, who left Prussia in 1859, several years before she was born. He was 19 years old and living in Texas when she was born. On the voyage to Texas she became extremely seasick and vowed never to go on another ship. She stayed in Texas and later married August. She never really mastered the English language; however, I remember that my grandfather took her to cast her ballot on election days and stated that he had to help her vote. Some of her grandchildren, who spoke little German, spoke to her in English, but she answered in German. Somehow they always got along!
August and Ernestine were blessed with seven children. They were as follows:
NAME                    BORN             DIED                  SPOUSE
Lydia Lina              08 Feb 1885    24 Jan 1957       Johann Otto Biar – 1979-1956
Alwin                    18 Feb 1887    05 Sep 1907                       –
Emil John              02 Jan 1889    09 Mar 1974         Martha Simmank – 1892-1976
RichardHermann    22 Mar 1891   24 Jun 1979          Sophie Melde
Frieda Hedwig       18 Mar 1893   03 Nov1986           Samuel Kieschnick
Oscar Ludwig        30 Apr 1898   30 Apr 1941          Clara Schroeder
Carl John              21 Sep 1901  21 Nov 1978          Lena Rieger
August was a successful farmer for many years. He had a keen interest and was influential inthe economic and political affairs of the Thorndale area. He and Ernestine were lifelong faithful members of the Lutheran Church.  Ernestine died from pneumonia on 15 January 1936. August died on 6 September 1944 as a result of being struck be an automobile at church. Both are buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Thorndale.
Attachment I is a copy of the Biography of C. August Moerbe published in Captain B. B. Paddock’s “A History of Central and Western Texas” in 1911.
Lydia was born at Fedor on 8 February 1885. She was the oldest child of her parents, August Moerbe and Ernestine, neé Michalk, both of Wendish decent. She was confirmed by her uncle, Pastor Emil F. Moerbe at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Giddings, on 3 April 1898. She came to Thorndale with her parents in 1899. On 17 January 1905, she married Otto Biar at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Thorndale.
Lydia and Otto were active members of the Lutheran Church their entire lives. She was a good homemaker and knew how to manage a home and take care of a large family. Although she was short in stature she could easily outwork most other women.
Otto died in a Taylor hospital on 14 November 1956. Lydia died on 24 January 1957, also in a Taylor hospital. Both were buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran cemetery in Thorndale.
Lydia and Otto were blessed with 12 children. All were born at Thorndale.
1. Hedwig Otillia was born on 14 August 1906. She was working in Houston when a typhoid epidemic struck and she died from it on 17 December 1927.
2. Henry Otto was born on 12 January 1908. On 18 December 1934 he married Hannah Simmank, who was born at Thorndale on 28 January 1910. They resided in Austin for a number of years, where Henry worked as a grocery store clerk until he entered the U. S. Navy during World War II. After the war he was a carpenter and lived in Thorndale. They were blessed with three sons; Henry Harold, Olin Fred and Howard Louis. Henry also served in the Navy during the Korean War. He died in the Veteran Hospital in Temple on 20 April 1975 and Hannah died on 28 April 1976.
3. Martha Ernestine was born on 19 August 1909. She worked in San Antonio for many years. During World War II she worked at Kelly Air Force Base. The last 24 years before her retirement she worked for Frost Brothers. Martha died in a nursing home in San Antonio on 1 February 2003 at the age of 93.
4. Edna Lydia was born on 17 March 1911. She worked in Houston for a short time before her job took her to Los Angeles. During World War II she worked for Lockheed Aviation Company. After the war she was employed by Newcomb Electronics Corporation for 20 years prior to her retirement. She died in a nursing home in San Antonio on 16 Jan 2004 at the age of 92.
5. Carl Alvin was born on 28 October 1912. He became a Lutheran pastor, graduating from the Springfield (Illinois) Seminary in 1938, and served congregations at Spring and Lincoln, Texas. On 4 August 1940 be married Lillian Schmidt, who was born in Houston on 12 November 1917. Their daughter, Ruth Ann, was adopted. Carl died at Lincoln on 31 December 1973. Lillian resides in Giddings.
6. John Walter was born on 11 March 1915. Walter served in the U. S. Army Air Corps during World War II and spent several years in England. After the war he worked for Celanese in Bishop, Texas, before he went to work at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi and later, Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. On 2 February 1957 he married Edna Kappler, who was born on 28 August 1915. Walter and Edna have one daughter, Nancy Janelle, and live in retirement in San Antonio.
7. Martin Albert was born on 10 April 1917. Before and during World War II he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. During the war he made a number of voyages on a hospital ship, mainly to England and back, but also one voyage through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific to New Guinea. After the war he made his home in the Dallas area and was employed at several places, including Simplex Time Recorder Company, a Chevrolet sales and service company, Snap-On Tools Corporation, Utility Trailer Sales and, before retirement, Great Dane Trailers.  On 19 January 1952 he married Gertrude (Trudy) Foerster, who was born on 15 January 1927. They were blessed with five children: James Andrew (who died in infancy), Timothy Allen, John Charles, Deborah Helen and Andrew Frederick. Martin and Trudy make their home in Garland, Texas.
8. Bill Edwin was born on 7 July 1919. During World War II he served in the U. S. Army Air Corps for 3 years before being transferred to U. S. Army Intelligence. He spent over two years in Germany. On 12 June 1947 he married Stefana Todt, who was born on 18 February 1925 in Neisse, Silesia (Germany), Bill worked for Atlantic Richfield Company for 36 years, working in Midland (twice), Odessa (twice), Corpus Christi, Bakersfield (California) and Denver. Bill and Steffy have two children, Rita Marianne and Norman Edwin. After retirement Bill and Steffy lived in Denver for 18 years before moving to Carrollton, Texas in February 2001.
9. Otto August was born on 15 July 1921. After serving in the Pacific Theater during World II and seeing combat in Okinawa, he worked for Celanese in Bishop for a year and then 5 years for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kingsville. After that he moved to San Antonio and spent nearly 33 years as a dealer for Snap-On Tools Corporation before retiring in San Antonio. He died in San Antonio on 13 January 1997 at the age of 75.
10. Ruth Eleanor was born 9 March 1924. For a number of years she made her home in Austin where she married Dewayne Farschman on 14 April 1951. At that time both of them were employed by Austin Laundry Company. Dewayne was born on 10 September 1918. They left Austin and made their home in Amherst, Ohio, Dewayne’s home town. They were blessed with 3 children: Mark Wayne, Joyce Ann and Linda Ruth. Dewayne died on 7 January 1984. Ruth continues to reside at Amherst.
11. Doris Erna was born on 14 April 1928. She made her home in Austin and went to work for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. On 19 February 1955 she married Marvin Urban, who was born on 1 June 1924. After a few years they moved to San Antonio and later to Grand Prairie. They have one son, Jeffrey Glenn.  Doris worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for 37 years before retiring. Doris and Marvin continue to live in Grand Prairie.
12. Harold Alvis was born on 19 November 1931. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War. After his discharge from the Army, Harold returned to Thorndale and went to work at Alcoa’s Rockdale Works. On 21 October 1956 he married Rosalie Wuthrich, who was born at Thrall on 4 January 1938. Their marriage was blessed with 4 children: Lorna Diane, Beverly Gail, Rhonda Fay and David Harold. Harold and Rosalie live on the Biar home place, which they bought and farm, together with some rented land.
When I returned from Germany in 1947 my parents were corresponding with the late Oskar Scheeler of Bautzen. The maiden name of his wife was Johanna Mörbe. She was a granddaughter of Johann Carl Mörbe (1826), the brother of Ernst Adolph and Ferdinand Jacob Mörbe, who came to Texas. As far as I know this was the only
contact my parents had with Moerbe relatives in Germany after World War II.
The brother of Ernst Adolph and Jacob Mörbe, Johann Carl, remained in Guttau, where he was the local blacksmith and a church elder. He was born in 1826 and died in 1900. He was buried at a special place near the Guttau church next to his father, Jakob Mörbe (1789). His wife’s name was Anna Rötschke, who was born in 1825 and died in 1901. Their son, Johann Ernst, was born in 1849 and died in 1894. He, like his father, was the blacksmith at Guttau. After World War I Rev. Emil Moerbe, Hamilton,Texas, corresponded with Walter Hermann, the son of Johann Ernst Moerbe. He was born at Guttau in 1888. Hermann answered the writer’s first letter in 1971, when he was 82 years old, but failed to answer the second one. He was an interpreter and had been living in Berlin since 1936. Mrs. Lillie Moerbe Caldwell visited him in West Berlin prior to writing her book Texas Wends – Their First Half Century. Her book was copyrighted in 1961. Reference was made to Hermann’s sister, Johanna, in the preceding paragraph. The writer has not been able to establish any additional correspondence with any other descendant of Johann Carl Mörbe.
The oldest brother of F. Jacob Moerbe, Ernst Adolph, was born in 1824 at Guttau and died in 1870 at Serbin. His wife’s name was Agnes Symny, who was born in 1826. They lived at Klix after they married. He was one of the Wends who signed the document calling Pastor Kilian as pastor of the newly-organized congregation that was founded at Dauban, Silesia (Prussia), which later became St. Paul Lutheran Church of Serbin. In 1854, they, together with two sons and one daughter, participated in the Wendish immigration to Texas. Their youngest son
and daughter died en route to Texas. The family settled at Serbin. The oldest son, Johann Traugott, died in 1864 as a result of a wagon accident while hauling freight. They had another son, Andrew, who was born at Serbin in 1857.  Andrew married Amelia Maria Foerster and this couple had four sons and nine daughters. Their son, Gerhard Harold, born in 1882, was the father of Lillie Moerbe Caldwell, who was one of the founders of what is now the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and the author of the book Texas Wends – Their First Half Century.
The ship register of the BEN NEVIS listed Johann Mörbe from Dauban, born on 4 June 1830, together with his mother, Maria, and his sister, Hanna. However, their names were crossed out and the notation “Kommen nicht mit” (not coming along) appears opposite their names. They stayed in Germany and Johann married his fiance, Maria Basche, born on 3 June 1833, who was also listed on the ship register with the same notation as above opposite her name. After 5 children, Maria, neé Basche, died on 17 November 1864. Their oldest son, named Johann August, came to Texas by himself in 1873.
On 8 October 1865, Johann (Sr.) married Maria Schkade from Dauban, who was born on 29 October 1843.  After 3 children were born to them in Germany, they all migrated to Texas in 1875, together with the remaining children from Johann’s first marriage, and settled in the Warda area. One daughter was born in Texas. The oldest daughter of Johann Moerbe and Maria, neé Schkade, born on 2 November 1867, married Pastor Hermann Kilian in 1886. The father of Johann (Sr.) was Andreas Mörbe, a cottager at Dauban. Maria Schkade’s father was named Christoph and he came from Dauban. To date the writer has not been able to determine if the Dauban and Guttau Mörbes were related.
Reference should also be made of Pastor Gustav Mürbe (Muerbe). When mentioning the name “Mörbe” (Moerbe) in letters to persons in Lusatia they usually bring up the name “Mürbe” (Muerbe). Chances are that they will know of someone who uses the latter spelling. Evidently, both names come from the same root. Pastor Mürbe was born at Grossdehsa in 1882. After studying for the ministry at the University of Leipzig, he was a pastor at Hochkirch from 1910 to 1941, when the Nazis deposed him. Preaching in the Wendish language had been forbidden previously and the Nazis were in the process of transferring Wendish speaking pastors away from Wendish parishes.  The plan was to eventually disperse the entire Wendish or Sorbian population. However, this plan was never carried out. Pastor Mürbe served in a Wartestand (provisional retirement) at Oelsa from 1942 until 1946. After the war he again served the Hochkirch congregation, from 1946 until his death in 1958. The Sorbian Superintendency of the Lutheran Church was revived and Pastor Mürbe was the first superintendent. He also became the first editor of POMHAJ BÓH (in German, ‘Gott helfe’), (in English – literally, ‘God help;’ ‘may God help you/us’), the Sorbian church periodical, after World War II. It would be interesting to know what relation Mörbe and Mürbe have to each other.
Under the heading JAKOB DZICK – MITSCHKE – MÖRBE (p. 7) we learned how the surname Mörbe (Moerbe) came to us. Also, some people in Lusatia spell the name Mürbe instead of Mörbe. However, in Wendish or Sorbian the name for both Mörbe and Mürbe is Mjerwa.
Mörbe is said to be a derivation of the Wendish Mjerwa. According to the late Pastor Töpfer, who was the pastor at Guttau in 1972 when the writer visited the Bautzen area, illiteracy was widespread among the Sorbian peasants for many years and names were spelled phonetically. Thus, the Wendish Mjer’-wa derivated to Mörwe and then to Mörbe.
Dr. Helmut Fasske, Sorbian Ethnological Institute in Bautzen, answered my inquiry as to the meaning of Mörbe with “Spottname, mjerwa heisst im Sorbischen ‘Wirrstroh” (Derisive nickname, mjerwa means tangled [or disorderly] straw). The name was probably given to a person for a specific reason.
A Czech professor who looked into the meaning of Mjerwa in the Czech, Polish and Russian languages wrote the writer that the name had to do with straw with a degree of disorderliness. He wrote that one source referred to a straw man made from the last straw of the harvest.
The following attachment traces one line of the ancestors of Maria Moerbe, neé Kuchar, back to  Christoph Dubrausky (Dubrauske), who lived in Guttau, Saxony, the place from where the two Moerbe brothers were born who immigrated to Texas in 1854.
Christoph Dubrausky (Dubrauske) was born in Guttau circa 1686. His wife was born in circa 1687. These two were the great great grandparents of Maria Moerbe, neé Kuchar (1801-1855). 
We have to take our ancestors the way they were. Our ancestors were not saints, but sinners, just like all of us. We are just like those who lived before us and have the same gracious and forgiving God they had. The church put the best construction on an incident that occurred way back in 1723. Following is a translation by the writer of an entry in the Guttau Church Register:
“Guttau Church Register – the 19th of May, 1723 – Christoph Dubrausky who had driven to Purschwitz, had the misfortune, when he was about to drive home after having had something to drink, fell in front of his horse. The wagon went over his temple and immediately before he died he said the words: ‘Lord, be merciful to me and forgive my sins.’ The body was brought here and on the 22nd was buried [Dobranuz]* with a funeral sermon. His age was 37 years. His wife was about to bear a child. God be merciful to his soul.”
* Translator wasunable to determine what the word DOBRANUZ means but believes it is a Sorbian word that has to do with “good.”
The lineage from Christoph Dubrausky (Dubrauske) continues until it reaches Maria Kuchar and Jakob Mörbe (1789).
Maria Dubrauske, married 26 Jan 1744, Guttau, Saxony, Johann Kuchar
B. 29 Mar 1720, Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 5 Feb 1719, Guttau, Saxony
D. 21 Dec 1760, Neudörfel, Saxony       D. 25 Dec 1760, Neudörfel, Saxony
Hanscha Kucha, married in Guttau, Sazonh, George Biele, aka Kuchar
B. 6 Nov 1749, Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 10 Oct 1741, Guttau, Saxony
D. 21 Feb 1796,Neudörfel, Saxony      D. 7 Mar 1791, Guttau, Saxony
Johann Kuchar, married Anna Malcke, aka Triede
B. 28 Apr 1766, Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 8 Jan 1777, Gröditz, Saxony
D. 30 Nov,  Guttau, Saxony                 D. 29 Aug 1845, Guttau, Saxony
Maria Kuchar, married 27 Apr 1819,  Guttau, Saxony, Jakob Mörbe
B. 19 Mar 1801,  Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 2 Oct 1789, Baruth, Saxony
D. 17 Nov 1832, Guttau, Saxony           D. 21 May 1855, Guttau, Saxony
Maria Kuchar, married 2 Feb 1834, Guttau Saxony    Andreas Kästner
                                                       B. 1807, Wurschen, Saxony
                                                      D. 9 Feb 1844, Guttau, Saxony 
For Jakob Moerbe and Maria Kuchar see item 5 and JAKOB MOERBE AND MARIA KUCHAR.
When one drives into the village of Guttau the first line of the road sign along the highway reads: “GUTTAU” and underneath in smaller letters, the second line reads: “HUČINA.” Guttau has become the acceptable German name of the village, while Hučina is the modern Sorbian name. Guttau is in “Kreis” Bautzen, Kreis being the equivalent of our county.
Guttau and Hučina, are of Sorbian origin. What Sorbian scholars disagree on is which of the two was the original name. One group of researchers say Guttau while the other group says Hučina. Guttau has reference to “the village of one Guta.” Hučina has reference to thicket (in German, Dickicht), suggesting that the village was located in a wooded place.
When the Germans conquered Upper Lusatia around the year 1000, Germanization started immediately. Landed estates, more often than not, villages, were given to German knights (Ritter), probably for their service during the war of conquest. Other landed-estates were given to noblemen. A landed-estate owned by a knight or a nobleman was known as a Rittergut or Landgut, that is, a manor. The Sorbian people, as well as, other peasants, living on these manors and/or in these villages became serfs or bondsmen, subjects of knights or noblemen. The manorial house, where the knight, nobleman or the caretaker lived, was surrounded by the huts of the peasants and the manorial land surrounded these villages. Some villages had more than one manor. Most of the manorial land was owned by knights or noblemen and many of them had several manors. There were, however, small holdings of land by individual peasants in varying amounts, and with varying rights, within the manors.
There was still much virgin land in the area to be cleared, to enlarge the arable land in established manors and to establish new ones. However, there were not enough serfs available so that German colonists were recruited in the west and brought to the east. This is why there were many manors with both Sorbian and German peasants.
Originally, Guttau was a Rittergut, a manor owned by a knight. The name of the original feudal lord is not available. Christoff von Baudissin was mentioned in 1416 as the first feudal lord of record. Caspar von Luttitz is mentioned after that. Caspar von Nostitz is mentioned in 1439 and a number of his descendants owned Guttau for about 200 years. In the 17th century the von Ziegler and Klipphausen family owned Guttau. In the 1830s the von Damitz family took over the ownership. When serfdom was repealed in Saxony in 1832 16 of the 41 small property owners at Guttau could not even sign their names and had to sign the agreement by making three crosses. This shows that over the years the gentry had no interest in educating the peasantry. The last noble family to own the land around Guttau after the abolition of serfdom was the Schall-Riaucour family. The land remained with the Schall-Riaucours until the land was dispossessed by the East German regime as part of the land reform of 1946.
It could be that Christianity came to the area around Guttau as early as the end of the ninth century.  Pastor Mättig, a pastor at Guttau, who died in 1928, wrote: “Probably the first attempt by Slavic missionaries to change the heathen nature festivals into Christian festivals was made at the end of the 9th century, after a pair of brothers, Cyril and Methodius from Bulgaria, traveled through most of the Slavic provinces and the first of the two eventually came as far as Görlitz, Königshain and Jauernick.” Königshain is only about 11 miles southeast of
Guttau. Ancient crosses on stones have been found in the village of Guttau and nearby Gleina and some researchers believe that this could have been the places missionaries preached the first Christian sermons and the first baptisms were performed. At both places water is very close by. There is no record of a continuation of Christianity anywhere in the area at that time and it appears that if the Sorbs were Christianized they soon lapsed back into heathenism.
Western Christianity, that is, Roman Catholicism, came to Upper Lusatia soon after the Milceni tribe of Sorbs in the vicinity of Bautzen lost their independence around the year 1000. In those days Christianity was often spread by the sword. “Convert or extirpate,” was commanded by the German conquerors. A lot of blood was shed to make Christians out of the Wends. The church’s manner of spreading Christianity and the harsh treatment of the Wends resulted in the fact that by the twelfth century many of the Sorbs were still not fully converted. Some researchers believe that this is one of the reasons why the Wends readily accepted Lutheranism many years later.
The earliest written reference to Guttau found to date is a Latin document, dated 1222, which named nine churches to be placed under the newly established St. Peter’s Cathedral in Bautzen. The document identifies Guttau as Guttin. Thus we know that our ancestors were Christianized at least 300 years before the Reformation.
During the Battle of Bautzen on May 20 and 21, 1813, Guttau was set on fire and only two houses escaped the flames. The church and all its records were destroyed. Re-construction of the church did not begin until 1816 and progress was slow. Three cannon balls from the Battle of Bautzen were placed in the gable as a warning to future generations. A relief of Georg von Nostitz, who died in 1579 and who was a great great nephew of the above-mentioned Caspar von Nostitz, can be seen on the southern wall of the church at Guttau. This plate was originally on a gravestone. Georg and his pastor, Matthäus, were instrumental in bringing Lutheranism to Guttau in 1543, sooner than most other villages.
Guttau is the village of many names. Up to 1350 it was known as Guttin; then in 1354, Gude, emerges; 1416, Gutte; 1434, Gotta; 1443, Gotte; 1506, Gottaw. Then in 1710, all of a sudden, H appears at the beginning of the name: Huszen and Husčina. Then in 1813, during the Battle of Bautzen in the Napoleonic War, the name Gotta is used again. That’s why we gather that Guttau is the village of many names.
Under the East German regime the land around Guttau became the site of an agricultural collective.  These were called LPGs which stands for Landwirtschaftliche Produktions Genossenschaften. Since the unification of the two Germanys these collectives have been transferred to private ownership.
Map I identifies the Manorial Estates in the County of Bautzen in 1832.
by H. C. Ziehe, Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Taylor, Texas (Page 99)
On December 12, 1854, a group of more than 500 Wendish people, hailing from various sections of Prussia and Saxony in Germany, landed at Galveston. Their spiritual leader was Pastor J. Kilian. They established their colony at Serbin, near the line between Lee and Bastrop counties.
The group affiliated with the Lutheran Missouri Synod. Thereafter pastors of that body began to establish themselves in Texas. A separation took place within the Serbin congregation in 1858 and St. Peter church was organized. The congregation requested affiliation with the Synod, was finally received and served. According to the Minutes of the convention of 1861, the President of the Missouri Synod had written a very cordial letter in September of the previous year and had expressed his Synod’s agreement in the matter. Nevertheless, the situation proved to be a difficult one for many years; like others it flared into print in the church papers, it led to the locking of the church door by contending parties, and to the threat of a case at law. 


Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Chěžnik to Kieschnick

Our Kieschnick Lineage


Johann Kieschnick and Maria Wutscher

Johann Kieschnick and Agnes Kalich or Kohli

Obituary of Johann (Jan) Kieschnick (1795)

Magdalene Kieschnick and Johann Hottas (Hattas)

Other Kieschnicks


The German language employs modified vowels (Umlaut – Umlaute) ä, ö and ü. As a rule, all German names of persons, places, etc., on church and archive records and maps employ umlauts to indicate modified vowels when applicable. We retain umlauts in English by writing ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, BÄHR is written BAEHR; MÖRBE, MOERBE; and WÜNSCHE, WUENSCHE. The spelling of place names with umlauts has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.


Revised: 11-18-02

Revised: 6-8-04


KIESCHNICK is a rather common family name in Lusatia and for this reason it is very difficult to locate early records of our Kieschnick ancestors. Church records indicate that our Kieschnick ancestors came from Dauban, Kreis (County) Rothenburg, Silesia (in German, Schlesien), in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). Before 1819 Dauban was in the County of Bautzen in the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen) and belonged to the Parish of Baruth. When a new boundary was drawn between Saxony and Prussia in 1819 Dauban went to Silesia in Prussia and assigned to the Parish of Förstgen. In 1843 a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church in Prussia, also known as the Breslau Synod, was organized at Weigersdorf near Dauban and many people in the vicinity joined this Old Lutheran congregation, including our Kieschnick ancestors. Pastor Johann Kilian resided in Weigersdorf from 1848 until 1854 while he served this congregation and the Old Lutheran congregation at Klitten. These Old Lutheran congregations belonged to a Free Church and did not belong to the Provincial Church of Prussia, which was a “united” (unierte) church, combining the Lutheran and Reformed religions. After the unification of the two Germanys in 1990, former Silesian territory west of the Lusatian Neisse River was annexed to the Province or State of Saxony, so that Dauban is now in the Province of Saxony.

In 1945, as the Russians advanced toward the west, the church in Förstgen was destroyed by fire and with it, most of the church records. Only a few catechumen records for the years prior to 1850 were saved. The following is recorded for 1810: 6. Johann, Johann Kiznicks aus Tauban ehel. 2ter Sohn im 15ten Jahr (6. Johann, Johann Kiznick’s [Kieschnick] from Tauban [Dauban] legitimate 2nd son in his 15th year). This catechumen was Johann Kieschnick (born in 1795), who, together with his wife and children, came to Texas in 1854.

Over the years the spelling of KIESCHNICK varied. On the Ship Register the name is written KIESCHNIK. In the Serbin baptismal records, in addition to Kieschnik, KJEZNIK and KJESCHNIK emerge.  Some other sources render the name KĔŽNIK, KISNICK, KISHNIK, KISCHNIK, and KEJZNIK. Dr. Helmut Fasske, Sorbian Ethnological Institute, Bautzen, answered my inquiry as to the meaning of Kieschnick with: “Kěžnik (Kieschnick) – Ableitung zu sorb. chěža ‘Haus,’ Chěžnik (gespr. Kěžnik bedeutet ‘Häusler.’ (Kěžnik [Kieschnick] is a derivation of the Sorbian chěža ’house; ‘Chěžnik [pronounced Kieschnik] means ‘cottager’). It is interesting to note that many of the Wendish immigrants who settled in Texas were identified as “cottagers” (Häusler) on the Ship Register. A cottager belonged to the peasant class, who owned a house near the manor house in the village and perhaps a small holding of land within the confines of the manorial estate for gardening. Many cottagers followed a trade, such as, blacksmith, wheelwright, mason, tailor, miller, shoemaker, etc.

KIESCHNICK is not only a common name in Lusatia but is also found in other parts of Germany. It is found in telephone directories in cities, such as, Munich and Berlin.


Names of persons born in what is now modern Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used. States, countries, etc., are in English. The spelling of places (P.) was taken from a modern German map.

A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After theunification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the above counties is now included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany.



Johann Kieschnick married Maria Wutscher


Johann Kieschnick married 09 Jan 1825: Baruth, Saxony to Agnes Kalich or Kohli

B. Apr 1795: Dauban, Silesia                    B. 28 Apr 1798: Buchwalde, Saxony

D. 21 Nov 1867: Serbin, Texas                 D. 14 Oct 1876: Serbin, Texas


Maria Schmidt, aka Kowar married 16 Jan 1856: Serbin, Texas to Johann Hottas (Hattas)

B. 28 Jul 1836: Reichwalde, Silesia               B. 22 Jan 1828: Reichwalde, Silesia

D. 31 Jul 1858: Serbin, Texas                      D. 26 Oct 1897: Serbin, Texas

Magdalene Kieschnick [+] married 1 Jan 1859: Brenham, Texas to Johann Hottas (Hattas)

B. 2 Dec 1830: Dauban, Silesia

D. 11 Oct 1900: Serbin, Texas


Maria Therese Hattas married 8 Feb 1876: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar

B. 1 Mar 1856: Brenham, Texas                 B.28 Oct 1853: Gröditz, Saxony

D. 30 Aug 1894: Serbin, Texas                  D. 8 Feb 1916: Serbin, Texas

Magdalena Groeschel married 16 Feb 1896: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar

B. 28 Nov 1851: Weicha, Saxony

D. 29 Nov 1937: Serbin, Texas


Johann Otto Biar married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Lydia Lina Moerbe

B. 1 Oct 1879: Serbin, Texas                      B. 8 Feb 1885: Fedor, Texas

D. 14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas                    D. 24 Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas


Names of persons born in what is now modern Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used. States, countries, etc., are in English. The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map.

B. indicates date of birth. D. indicates date of death. [+] indicates our ancestor when there was more than one marriage.

A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After the unification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the above counties is now included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany.



To date the earliest Kieschnick ancestor I have been able to identify is Johann Kieschnick, whose date and place of birth is not available, but who lived at Dauban. He is mentioned in the Förstgen Cathechumen Register in 1810 as the father of Johann Kieschnick (1795) who came to Texas. His wife was Maria Wutscher. The date and place of her birth are also not available.

The name WUTSCHER is probably the German phonetic spelling of WUČEŔ, Wendish for teacher.



Johann Kieschnick was born at Dauban, Silesia, in April 1795. His parents were Johann Kieschnick and Maria, nee Wutscher. The maiden name of his wife is problematic. In her obituary Pastor Johann Kilian stated that her maiden name was Agnes KALICH. My efforts to confirm this name in various church records in Lusatia were frustrating. Since her place of birth, Buchwalde, Saxony, belonged to the Parish of Baruth, I wrote to Pastor Joachim Philipp, giving him the date and place of birth recorded on the Ship Register. The Baruth marriage records contain the following (translated by the writer): “Married on 9 January 1825 in Baruth were: Juv. (young man) Johann Kejznik, legitimate oldest son of Johann Kejznik, cottager in Tauban (Dauban) and Virg. (young woman) Agnetha, surviving youngest legitimate daughter of the late Georg Kohli, small farmer on Byttner’s at

Some records indicate that Agnes Kalich or Kohli was born on 28 April 1795, but Pastor Philipp wrote that he could not find any record of a girl born on 28 April 1795, but a girl, named Agneta Büttner (Buettner), was born on 28 April 1798 at Buchwalde. Her parents were Georg Büttner and Maria, nee Pawez. Pastor Philipp also wrote: “The change in family name may be explained like this: Whoever worked someone else’s farm, often assumed the name of the former owner. According to this, at the time of his daughter’s birth, Georg Kohli was called Büttner – farmer. Later on one looked back at ones’ true origin. There are numerous name changes of this type in this place.”

A lady in Lusatia, who did a lot of research on our Wendish ancestor’s, wrote me that the many ways names were spelled was due to the fact that the spelling of names, especially Sorbian names, had not yet been standardized by the time of the emigration of 1854. Persons who made the entries in the church records often spelled the names phonetically. Many were Germans and did not know the Wendish language. Before the emancipation of the peasants of Saxony in 1832 many were illiterate. Kurt Krahl, in his history WOHER DES WEGES, LIEBES GUTTAU? (FROM WHERE DID YOU COME, BELOVED GUTTAU?), refers to an 1839 document which states that “16 out of 41 small property owners at Guttau at that time could not even sign their names, but had to sign by making three crosses.” Guttau is only 3 miles from Baruth.

In Max Gottschald’s book DEUTSCHE NAMENKUNDE (German Onomastics) KALICH has the following definition: “wendisch Kolik, Verkleinerung von koł, Pfahl,” which translates: “Wendish kolik, diminution of koł, ‘stake.’”  This book also indicates that a considerable number of both German and Slavic names have their root in Kol (Slavic Koł) and one of the German names listed is Kohli. Actually, there is a similarity between KALICH and KOHLI when the h (which is German) is removed from KOHLI. The entry for Pfahl in my German-Upper Sorbian dictionary reads: “Pfahl koł; Deminutiv kolik” = “stake, ko: diminutive, kolik.”  Thus KALICH means a stake or small post. My conjecture is that the maiden name of Agnes Kieschnick, nee KALICH or KOHLI, has its root in the Sorbian diminutive of Koł, in the form of Kolik, the last k denoting diminution.

Johann Kieschnick’s obituary in 1867 states that, after working here and there and also serving in the army, he married in his 29th year. The obituary states that they had 7 children. The Ben Nevis List of 1854 lists 3 daughters and one son underneath their names. It is also known that Andreas, who is listed immediately above their names, was their son. Besides those listed, the above-referred-to Catechumen Register mentions an older daughter, Anna.  Thus we do not have the name and birth date of one child. Apparently, all children were born at Dauban. Listed below are the names of six of their children together with some other available data:

NAME               BORN                DIED               SPOUSES

Anna                 13 Jan 1826

Andreas             13 Nov 1828     23 Feb 1901     Elizabeth Koerner

Magdalene         02 Dec 1830     11 Oct 1900     Johann Hattas

Maria                07 Jan 1834                            Theodor Tonn

Johann              08 Jan 1834      14 Feb 1916    Pauline Bartel

Agnes               25 Jan 1836       17 Jun 1927    Johann Miertschin

Anna is not listed on the Ship Register. The Förstgen Catechumen Register of 1810 lists her name as a confirmant in 1839.

Andreas was confirmed in 1841. After he came to Texas he married Elizabeth Luise Koerner, who came from Württemberg (Wuerttemberg) and who was born on 9 February 1831. They were married at Brenham on 9 March 1858. My late uncle, Gerhard Biar, stated that Andreas was a jovial person who loved to tell humorous stories.

Magdalene, our ancestress, was confirmed in 1843. She became the second wife of Johann Hattas. For more information please see below.

Maria’s birthdate was one day prior to that of her twin brother, Johann. She married Theodor Tonn.

Johann married Pauline Bartel on 14 February 1858 while the Kieschnicks lived at Brenham, Texas. She came from Eichstädt, near Berlin, Germany. They raised a family of 10 children. During the Civil War he was a member of Waul’s Texas Legion. By trade he was a shoemaker.

Agnes married Johann Miertschin. She died at Serbin, at the age of 91.

After the Johann Kieschnick (1795) family arrived in Texas they settled near Brenham. Originally they were members of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, whose building was dedicated in 1855 and whose pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger. This church was located in the Berlin community, three miles west of Brenham. Dissension erupted among the members of Ebenezer from the beginning and a division of the congregation was experienced in 1856.  The breakaway members organized Salem Lutheran Church with Rev. Ebinger as their pastor and their building, about 2 miles southwest of Brenham, was dedicated in 1857. The Kieschnicks became members of the new congregation. Salem congregation belonged to the Texas Synod.

When Johann Kieschnick (1795) died in Serbin on 21 November 1867, Pastor Kilian stated in the obituary that all surviving children were living in the Serbin vicinity except for Johann (1834), who was still living near Brenham. Johann (John) (1834) later also moved away from Brenham and eventually moved to Thorndale where he died on 14 February 1916.


With respect and love we remember Johann Kieschnick, resident [of Serbin], whom the Lord called from this [world] this past Thursday at 9:30 in the morning and whose mortal body, after dismissal from his home, was laid to rest in the grave with a blessing and given a Christian burial.

He was born in Dauban in the month of April 1795. His late father was Johann Kieschnick, cottager in Dauban, and his late mother Marie, nee Wutscher, from Dauban. He was baptized Jan (Johann). During the years of his childhood he was given a good upbringing and sent to school, where he received the necessary instruction in Christianity and other knowledge. After the renewal of his baptismal vow he was a laborer here and there and was also a soldier. At the age of 29 he was united in holy matrimony with Agnes Kalich from Buchwalde, with whom he lived in true conjugal union for 40½ years and through God’s blessing begot 7 children of which 3 (?) daughters preceded him into eternity and now 2 sons and 2 daughters survive him.

Concerning his last illness he in weakness lay bedfast and during these weeks received the Lord’s Supper at home and was strengthened through the blessing of Jesus to await his salvation and went home the past week Thursday at 9:30 o’clock in the morning, his age being 72 years and 7 weeks.

May the Lord comfort his grieving widow; 2 grieving sons, Andreas Kieschnick, farmer in Serbin and his wife Luise and children; Johann Kieschnick, farmer near Brenham and his wife, Pauline and children; 2 grieving daughters: Magdalene and her husband, Serbin farmer Johann Hattas and children; and Agnes and her husband, Serbin farmer Johann Miertschin and child; and friends both near and far; one brother and 2 sisters in Europe.

Thanks are extended to Johann Hohle for loving support and assistance, Mattheus Schuster for loving support and assistance, Johann Hattas and his wife for loving support and assistance, Johann Miertschin and his wife for all the loving support and assistance, George Hocker and Matthaus Peter for the visits Friedrich Carcher [Karcher] for the funeral wagon. Translated from the German by Bill Biar, 25 October 1999.



Magdalene, also known as “Lena,” probably from the Wendish Madlena, Kieschnick was born at Dauban, Silesia, 2 December 1830. Her parents were Johann Kieschnick (1795) and Agnes Kalich or Kohli. She came to Texas with her parents in 1854. On 1 March 1856, while living near Brenham, she gave birth to a daughter, Maria Therese. She later married a widower, Johann Hattas. The marriage took place at Brenham on 1 January 1859. The officiating pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Brenham. Johann Hattas adopted Magdalena’s daughter, Maria Therese, who was then known by the surname “Hattas.” After they married they lived in Serbin.

Magdalene and Johann had 6 daughters of their own, two of whom died as children. Johann died at Serbin in 1897 and Magdalene also died at Serbin in 1900.

Our Kieschnick line continues with Andreas Biar and Maria Therese Hattas in the Biar family history entitled FROM BÄHR TO BIAR.


On a copy of a handwritten list in my possession reference is made to Christoph Kieschnick and his wife, Maria Magdalene. According to this list he was born on 10 October 1813 at Lang Oelsa and died at Serbin on 14 June 1885. She was born on 29 August 1829. No other information is given except that her second husband was Heinrich Nagel. I have been unable to locate Lang Oelsa on my maps. A book in my possession refers to Oberölsa (Upper Oelsa) and Niederölsa (Lower Oelsa) both of which appear to have been annexed to Förstgen. It would be interesting to know what relationship, if any, Christoph Kieschnick had to the rest of the Kieschnicks.


Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Sterp to Hottas

Our Sterp to Hottas Lineage


Petri Sterp and his wife, Marie

Jano Sterp and his wife, Marie

Johann Sterp and his wife, Marie

Georg Sterp and his wife, Marie

Johann Sterp, aka Hottass, and Marie Prelop, aka Hottass

Georg Hottass, aka Herz, and Johanna Hodźik, aka Herz

Andreas Hottas (Hattas) and Maria Schulze

Johann Hottas (Hattas) and Magdalene Kieschnick

Maria Therese Hattas and Andreas Biar

Johann Otto Biar and Lydia Lina Moerbe

From Prelop to Hottas

Our Prelop to Hottas Lineage

Jacob Hottass and his wife, Hanna

Marie Hottass and Michael Prelop, aka Hottass

Marie Prelop, aka Hottass, and Johann Sterp, aka Hottass

The German language employs modified vowels (Umlaut – Umlaute) ä, ö and ü. As a rule, all German names of persons, places, etc., on church and archive records and maps employ umlauts to indicate modified vowels when applicable.  We retain umlauts in English by writing ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, BÄHR is written BAEHR; MÖRBE, MOERBE; and WÜNSCHE, WUENSCHE. The spelling of place names with umlauts has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.
Revised: 11-18-02
Revised: 6-8-04
In the Serbin records, HOTTAS is spelled HATTASS, HATTASZ and HATTAS.  However, on the original Ship Register and on all my correspondence with persons in Germany, with only one exception, the spelling was  either HOTTASS or HOTTAS. The exception was when reference was made to Paulus HATTASCH (born in 1616).  In this history HOTTASS and HOTTAS are used until the family arrived in Texas. After that HATTAS is used. The first four generations of our male ancestors had the surname STERP. Johann Sterp, born in 1734, adopted the  HOTTASS surname when he married Marie PRELOP, alias HOTTASS, in 1759. Marie’s father, Michael Prelop, had adopted the HOTTASS surname when he married Marie HOTTASS in 1732. Thus we have a member of the STERP family changing his surname to that of his wife whose father had adopted the surname HOTTASS from his wife!
The given name “Marie” appears numerous times among the female members of our Hottas (Hattas) ancestors.  In the early records the family surnames of most of these are seldom available.
Following is a listing of our lineage beginning with our ancestors who had the surname STERP and who then adopted the surname HOTTASS/HOTTAS/HATTAS:
Petri Sterp married Marie
B. 1588                                    B.1614
D. 13Dec 1678: Spree, Silesia     D. 18 Apr 1674: Spree, Silesia
Jano Sterp married Marie
B. 1643                                    B. 1650
D. 14Feb 1723                          D. 19Sep 1716: Tzschelln, Silesia
Johann Sterp married Marie
B. 10Mar 1680: Spree, Silesia      B. 1674
D. 11May 1748: Spree, Silesia      D. 3 Jan 1750: Spree,
Georg Sterp [+] married Marie
B. 4 Aug1708: Spree, Silesia            B.1705
D. 11Feb 1736:Uhyst/Spree, Silesia  D. 11 Aug1760: Spree, Silesia
Jan Kerba married 8 Feb 1746 Marie
B.Nochten, Silesia
Johann Sterp, aka Hottass married 25 Feb 1759: Nochten, Silesia to Marie Prelop, aka Hottass
B. 7Oct 1734: Spree, Silesia           B. 14Dec 1736: Spree, Silesia
D. 14Jan 1781: Spree, Silesia         D. 29 Nov 1798: Spree, Silesia
Georg Hottass, aka Herz married 24 Jan 1792: Spree, Silesia to Johanna Hodźik, aka Herz
B. 9Dec 1768: Spree, Silesia         B. 14 Apr 1774: Spree, Silesia
D. 16Mar 1830: Spree, Silesia        D. 22 Oct 1855: Spree,
Andreas Hottas (Hattas) married 17 Jan 1826: Reichwalde, Silesia to Maria Schulze [+]
B. 23May 1805: Reichwalde, Silesia       B.Reichwalde, Silesia
D. 1Jul 1868: Serbin, Texas                  D. 1842:Reichwalde, Silesia
Andreas Hottas (Hattas) married Maria Tilscher
                                                        B. Reichwalde, Silesia
                                                        D. 10 Dec1890: Serbin, Texas
Johann Hottas (Hattas) married 06 Jan 1856: Serbin, Texas Maria Schmidt, aka Kowar
B. 22Jan 1828: Reichwalde, Silesia         B.28 Jul 1836: Reichwalde, Silesia
D. 26Oct 1897: Serbin, Texas                D. 31 Jul 1858: Serbin, Texas
JohannHottas (Hattas) married 1 Jan 1859: Brenham, Texas to Magdalene Kieschnick
                                                          B. 2 Dec 1830: Dauban, Silesia
                                                          D. 11 Oct 1900: Serbin, Texas
Maria Therese Hattas [+] married 8 Feb 1876: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar
B. 1Mar 1856: Brenham, Texas            B. 28 Oct 1853: Gröditz, Saxony
D. 30Aug 1894: Serbin, Texas              D. 8Feb 1916: Serbin, Texas
Magdalina Groeschel married 16 Feb 1896: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar
B. 28Nov 1851: Weicha, Texas
D. 29 Nov 1937: Serbin, Texas
Johann Otto Biar married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Lydia Lina Moerbe
B. 1Oct 1879: Serbin, Texas                  B. 8 Feb 1885: Fedor, Texas
D. 14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas              D. 24 Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas
Names of persons born in what is now Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.
“Aka” was used to translate the German “genannt.” It indicates that a person underwent a name change.
Spree is now known as SPREY. All other place names appear on modern German maps except that TZSCHELLN is no longer designated. The site of this village was inundated in a reservoir.
A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien),in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the Counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the Counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After the unification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the above counties is now included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony.
HOTTAS is the Sorbian equivalent of the personal name OTTO.  One wonders why the Sorbian name does not start with a vowel. Debray in his book Guide to Salvonic Languages states: “Vowels [in Sorbian] occur initially only in exclamations and words of foreign origin.” This explains the use of the “h” in HOTTAS.
The Hottas family has been traced back to Petri Sterp, who was born at Spree (now Sprey), Kreis (County) Hoyerswerda, Silesia, in 1588. His wife’s given name was Marie and she was born in 1614. Since he was 26 years older than his wife, it is presumed that this was not his first marriage. Many widowers at that time married again, often to younger women, because they wanted someone to take care of them in their old age. He outlived Marie by 4 years. Petri and Marie’s son, Jano, was our ancestor. Petri was 55 years old when Jano was born. Marie was 29. Both died at Spree, Petri in 1678 at the age of 90 and Marie in 1674 at the age of 60.
Jano was born at Spree in 1643. He was a farmer. Jano was 13 years older than his wife, Marie, who was born in 1650. Their son, Johann, was our ancestor. It is interesting to note that Marie died at Tzschelln, a short distance north of Spree. She had gone there to take care of her daughter, her son-in-law and her granddaughter. There must have been an epidemic of some sort at that time because all three died on 13 September 1716. Marie followed them six days later, at the age of 66. Jano died on 14 February 1723 at the age of 79.
Johann Sterp was born at Spree on 10 March 1680. Like his father, he was a farmer. His wife, Marie, was born in 1674. Their son, Georg, was our ancestor. Johann died at Spree on 11 May 1748 at the age of 68 and Marie died there on 3 January 1750 at the age of 75.
Georg Sterp was born at Spree on 4 August 1708. He was a farmer. His wife, Marie, was born in 1705. Their son, Johann, was our forefather. Georg died at the age of 27 on 11 February 1736 as a result of a severe throat infection. He died at a spa at Uhyst on the River Spree where he had gone for treatment. His widow married Jan Kerba from Nochten on 8 February 1746 after ten years of widowhood. Marie died at Spree on 11 August 1760 at the age of 55. It is interesting to note that the first four Sterps all had wives with the given name of Marie but no surnames are available.
Johann Sterp was born at Spree on 7 October 1734. He was a farmer and judge. His wife was Marie Prelop, aka Hottass, who was born at Spree on 14 December 1736. Johann adopted the surname HOTTASS when he married Marie Prelop, aka Hottass, at Nochten, Silesia, on 25 February 1759 and the surname was passed on to future generations. One reason why Johann adopted this surname could have been that he succeeded Marie’s father as the village magistrate (Schulze in German – Šota in Wendish), often referred to as judge (Richter). Another reason could have been that he took over the land held by Marie’s father. It could have been both. Johann and Marie’s son, Georg, was our ancestor.  Johann died at Spree on 14 January 1781 at the age of 46 and Marie died there on 29 November 1798 at the age of 61.
Georg Hottass was born at Spree on 9 December 1768. He was a farmer. His wife, Johanna Hodźik, was born at Spree on 14 April 1774. Her father’s name was Paul Hodźik, aka Herz. They were married at Spree on 24 January 1792. Even though Georg and Johanna adopted the surname HERZ their children were known by the name of HOTTAS. Their son, Andreas, was our forefather. Georg died at Spree on 16 March 1830 at the age of 61 and Johanna died there on 22 October 1855 at the age of 81.
Andreas Hattas was born at Spree on 23 May 1805. He was a worker at the brick factory at Reichwalde, Silesia. On 17 January 1826 he married Maria Schulze. Her father’s name was Gottlob Schulze; however, her date and place of birth are not available. Their only child, Johann, born in 1828, was our ancestor. Maria died at Reichwalde in 1842. Andreas then married Maria Tilscher. Their three children were born before they came to Texas in 1854. They were as follows:
NAME               BORN             DIED                                   SPOUSE
Christoph          7 Feb 1849     29 Jan 1896                          Maria Nowak
Andreas(Jr.)      25 Jun 1851    25 Jan  1824
Maria Hanna      24 Oct 1853    24 Apr  1925                         Carl Miertschin
Both died at Serbin, Andreas, on 1 July 1868 and Maria, on 10 December 1890.
Johann Hattas was born at Reichwalde, Silesia, on 22 January 1828. His parents were Andreas Hottas and his first wife, Maria Schulze. He came to Texas with a small group of Wends in 1853. Pastor Kilian published a list of the 1853 immigrants to Texas in which he stated that “Domaschk is taking along Johann Hattass, oldest son of Andreas Hattass, cottager at Reichwalde Ziegelscheune [brick factory].” This has reference to Johann Domaschk (Thomaschke), who formerly lived at Reichwalde, and who was the chief elder (Vorsteher) at Klitten at the time of the emigration of 1853. I have been unable to establish a relation between the two. On 6 January 1856 Johann married Maria Schmidt, alias Kowar, in Serbin. She was born at Reichwalde on 28 July 1836. Their daughter Hanna, born on 18 January 1857, died as an infant on 26 January 1857. Maria died at Serbin on 31 July 1858 after only two years of marriage.
Johann then married Magdalene, also known as Lena [probably from the Wendish Madlena], Kieschnick, who was born on 2 December 1830 at Dauban, Silesia. She came to Texas with her parents and brothers and sisters in 1854. While she was living at Brenham, Texas, she gave birth to a daughter, Maria Therese. Johann Hattas married Magdalene Kieschnick at Brenham on 1 January 1859. The officiating pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Brenham. Salem was a member of the Texas Synod. Johann then adopted Magdalene’s daughter. Maria Therese, now known by the surname of Hattas, was our ancestress. After their marriage they lived in Serbin.
Besides Maria Therese they had six daughters of their own, two of which died as little children. The other four were as follows:
NAME                   BORN              DIED                SPOUSE
Maria Hanna         06 Dec 1859    13 Jan 1930
Agnes Lydia          03 Jun 1862
Maria Magdalene   04 Jul 1865
Emma Luise         20 Jan 1867   27 Mar 1905
Johann and Magdalene both died at Serbin, he on 26 October 1897 and she on 11 October 1900.
Maria Therese Hattas was born at Brenham, Texas, on 1 March 1856. She was the daughter of Magdalene Kieschnick. When her mother married a widower, Johann Hattas, he adopted her and she was known by the surname “Hattas.” On 8 February 1876 she married Andreas Biar. He was born at Gröditz, Saxony, on 28 October 1853. Their son, Johann Otto Biar was the writer’s father. After Maria died at Serbin on 30 August 1894, Andreas married Magdalina Groeschel, who was born on 28 November 1851 at Weicha, Saxony. Andreas died at Serbin on 8 February 1916 and Magdalina died at Serbin on 29 November 1937.
The writer’s father, Otto Biar, was born at Serbin on 1 October 1879. He came to Thorndale in 1900 and on 17 January 1905 he married Lydia Moerbe. My mother was born at Fedor, Texas, on 8 February 1885. She came to Thorndale in 1899 with her parents, C. August Moerbe and Ernestine, nee Michalk. This writer was this couple’s 8th child, born at Thorndale on 7 July 1919. Both of my parents died in a Taylor hospital, my father on 14 November 1956 and my mother on 24 January 1957. Both are buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Thorndale.
Church records at Sprey (formerly Spree) reflect that the HOTTASS surname goes back to Jacob Hottass. Jacob’s daughter, Marie, married Michael Prelop. After his marriage, Michael adopted his wife’s surname of HOTTASS. Michael Prelop, aka Hottass’ daughter, Marie, married Johann Sterp. Johann then changed his surname to HOTTASS. It is complicated to say the least.
There is a reference in the Sprey church records to Paulus HATTASCH. He was born at Spree in 1616 and died in 1673 at the age of 56. He was a village magistrate (Schulze), often referred to as judge (Richter). No records of his wife and children are available. Since the above-mentioned Jacob Hottass was a Schulze in Spree conjecture has it that Paulus Hattasch was the grandfather of Jacob.
The following takes us from Jacob Hottass to his daughter, Marie, and son-in-law, Michael Prelop, aka Hottass. Michael and Marie’s daughter, Marie, then married Johann Sterp, who adopted the surname HOTTASS and passed it on to future generations.


Jacob Hottass married Hanna

B. Spree, Silesia                      B. 1685: Spree, Silesia

D. 9 Jan 1758: Spree, Silesia    D. 7 Jan 1738: Spree, Silesia


Marie Hottass married 25 Nov 1732: Spree, Silesia to Michael Prelop, aka Hottass

B. 25 Mar 1713: Spree, Silesia                   B. 13 Jun 1708: Zschelln, Silesia

D. 9 Jan 1758: Spree, Silesia                    D. 17 Feb 1763: Spree, Silesia


Marie Prelop, aka Hottass married 25 Feb 1759: Nochten, Silesia to Johann Sterp, aka Hottass

B. 14 Dec 1736: Spree Silesia                    B. 7 Oct 1734: Spree, Silesia

D. 29 Nov 1798: Spree, Silesia                  D. 14 Jan 1781: Spree, Silesia


[C] contains the same data as [5] above.

Jacob Hottass was born at Spree in 1682. He was the “Schulze,” that is, the village magistrate, at Spree. His wife’s given name was Hanna.  She was born at Spree in 1685. Their daughter, Marie, born in 1713, was our ancestress. Hanna died at Spree on 7 January 1738 and Jacob died there on 9 January 1758.
Marie Hottass was born at Spree on 25 March 1713. On 25 November 1732 she married Michael Prelop, who was born at Zschelln, Silesia, on 13 June 1708. Michael became the village magistrate at Spree and adopted the surname HOTTASS. Their daughter, Marie, born in 1736 at Spree, was our ancestress. Marie Hottass, (1713), and her husband, Michael Prelop, alias Hottass, both died at Spree, she on 9 January 1758 and he on 17 February 1763.  Please note that Marie Hottass and her father died on the same day.  When deaths of this type occurred it was usually due to an epidemic of some sort.
Maria Prelop, alias Hottass, was born at Spree on 14 December 1736. On 25 February 1759 she married Johann Sterp, who was born at Spree on 7 October 1734. He adopted the surname HOTTASS when they were married.  This is how the surname HOTTASS entered the STERP lineage and was passed on to future generations.
Some of the data in this paragraph repeats data that was stated in [5] above.


Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Michał to Michałk


George Michalk and His Wife, Agnes

George Michalk and Magdalene Eyen

Carl Michalk and Magdalene Zieschang

Other Michalks

Andreas Michalk and Caroline Krakovsky

Maria and Hanna Michalk

The German language employs modified vowels (Umlaut – Umlaute) ä, ö and ü. As a rule, all German names of persons, places, etc., on church and archive records and maps employ umlauts to indicate modified vowels when applicable. We retain the umlauts in English by writing ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, BÄHR is written BAEHR; MÖRBE, MOERBE; and WÜNSCHE, WUENSCHE. The spelling of place names with umlauts has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.
Revised: 11-18–02
Revised: 6-12-04
Our Michalk ancestors came from Sandförstgen in the vicinity of Gebelzig in Silesia, near the former Saxon-Prussian border about 12 to 13 miles northeast of Bautzen. The people living at Sandförstgen belonged to the church at Gebelzig.
When the Wends were Christianized many of them adopted Christian names. This was especially true if their former names expressed anti-Christian sentiments. Since Michael is a Biblical name it is plausible that somewhere along the line one of our ancestors adopted the name Michael, which is MICHAŁ in Sorbian, after he became a Christian. In 1972 when I visited the Sorbian Ethnological Institute in Bautzen I met Dr. Siegfried Michalk. (He stated that he was not related to the Michalks in the vicinity of Gebelzig.) He emphatically pronounced his name MICHAUK, which seemed rather strange to me. Later I learned that in Sorbian or Wendish, MICHALK is written with a slash through the ł, that is, MICHAŁK, and that the ł is pronounced like a u or w in German and like ow as in now in English. Since MICHAEL is MICHAŁ in Sorbian we have to deal with the k at the end. The k is a
diminution indicating little, small, etc. Thus MICHAŁK means “Little Michael” (der kleine Michael). It appears that somewhere along the line one of our ancestors was called MICHAŁK, that is, “Little Michael,” to distinguish him from another MICHAŁ(MICHAEL).



George Michalk married Agnes


George Michalk married 11 Feb 1812: Gebelzig, Silesia to Hanischa Eyen

B. 21 Feb 1782: Sandförstgen, Silesia         B. Jerchwitz, Silesia

D. 13 Jul 1836: Sandförstgen, Silesia          D. 10 Mar 1836: Sandförstgen, Silesia


Carl Michalk married 24 Oct 1837: Gebelzig, Silesia to Magdalene Zieschang

B. 28 Jul 1813: Sandförstgen, Silesia          B. 13 Oct 1819: Sandförstgen, Silesia

D. 14 Dec 1895: Baruth, Saxony                D. 25 Aug 1899: Malschwitz, Saxony


Ernestine Michalk married 9 Feb 1883: Fedor, Texas to Carl August Moerbe

B. 14 Oct 1862: Sandförstgen, Silesia          B. 17 Jan 1860: Serbin, Texas

D. 15 Jan 1936: Thorndale, Texas               D. 6 Sep 1944: Taylor, Texas


Lydia Lina Moerbe married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Johann Otto Biar

B. 8 Feb 1885: Fedor, Texas                 D. 1 Oct 1879: Serbin, Texas

D. 24 Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas              D.14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas


The names of persons born in what is now Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used.

The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.

B. indicates date of birth.  D. indicates date of death.

The names of persons born in what is now Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used.
The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.
A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After the unification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the above counties is now included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany.
The first Michalk ancestor I have been able to identify is one George Michalk. His date and place of birth are not available but it is assumed that he came from Sandförstgen because that is where his son, also named George, was born. His wife’s first name was Agnes. Her maiden name and her date and place of birth are also not available.
George Michalk was born on 21 February 1782 at Sandförstgen, Silesia. His parents were George Michalk and his wife, Agnes.
George married Hanischa Eyen at Gebelzig on 11 February 1812. Hanischa is a Sorbian (Wendish) form of Agnes. Her date of birth is not available. She came from Jerchwitz, Silesia, which like Sandförstgen, belongs to the parish of Gebelzig.  Hr father’s name was Gottfried Eyen. According to DeBray (Guide to Slavonic Languages) Sorbian words do not begin with vowels except for exclamations and words of foreign origin; therefore, Eyen must be a foreign and not a Wendish name. Eyen is not listed in my book of 50,000 German names. It could be that it comes from an ending of a longer name or a name like Van der Eyen or Van der Oyen. It is known that Jerchwitz was settled by Germans and some of these came from the Lowlands, that is, from Flanders and Holland, in the west. Jerchwitz, in Sorbian, Jerchecy, was originally known as Erichsdorf, because it was the settlement of one Erich. According to Jan Meschgang’s book Die Ortsnamen der Oberlausitz (The Place Names of Upper Lusatia), the fact that this German place name with the ending of dorf took on the ending witz was only possible if the inhabitants of the village were Sorbian in a region that was completely“Sorbianized.”
Carl, the son of George Michalk and Hanischa, nee Eyen, was our ancestor. Hanischa died at Sandförstgen on 10 March 1836 and George also died at Sandförstgen the same year on 13 July 1836, when Carl was 23 years of age.
Carl Michalk was born on 28 July 1813 at Sandförstgen, Silesia. On one record his given names were listed as Johann Carl, which would be in line with the custom of that time of calling persons by the name immediately preceding their surname. His parents were George Michalk and Hanischa, nee Eyen. On 24 October 1837 he married Magdalene Zieschang, who was born at Sandförstgen on 13 October 1819. Her parents were Johann Zieschang and Hanscha, nee Hommel. See FROM KRISTIAN TO ZIESCHANG for information on the Zieschang and Hommel families.
Around 1875 the Carl Michalk family moved from Sandförstgen, Silesia (Prussia), to Baruth, Saxony, a distance of less than 3 miles. At that time the Saxon-Prussian border was in the proximity of Sandförstgen.
The church records at Gebelzig list 12 children being born to Carl Michalk (1813) and Magdalene Michalk, nee Zieschang. All were born at Sandförstgen.  They were as follows:
NAME                                                BORN                   NOTE
1. Johann Carl                                    07 Jul 1838           died 23 Aug 1839
2. Johanne                                         19 Sep1840
3. Johann Carl                                    15 Aug1843
4. Johanna Christiana                          09 Jul 1845
5. Johann                                          17 Apr1847            died 28 May 1848
6. Johann                                          28 May1848
7. Carl August                                   18 Oct 1850           died 12 Dec 1852
8. Johanne Marie                               05 Jun 1853
9. Curt August                                   08 May1855
10. Carl Ernst                                    21 Aug1857
11. Maria Magdalena                          05 Apr 1860
12. Ernstine                                       14 Oct 1862
It is interesting to note that after the first Johann Carl died the next son received the same given names.  The same is true of the first Johann after he died and the next son received the same given name. Some of my contacts in Lusatia confirmed that this was a common practice.
1. The first Johann died when he  was 1 year old.
2. Johanne (Anna) married a man by the name of Kochte and they lived at Krischa, now Buchholz, at that time in Silesia but now in Saxony.
3. The second Johann Carl came to Texas in 1859, when he was not quite 17 years old. Pastor Kilian, in a letter to Germany on 6 July 1859, states that among others “the young Carl Michalk from Sandförstgen arrived the past week.” According to a biography of his son,John A. Michalk, published in 1911 in Captain B. B. Paddock’s book A HISTORY OF CENTRAL AND WESTERN TEXAS, he had an uncle in Texas named “Zuschong Michalk.”  It is assumed that this uncle was Johann Zieschang, born 25 November 1810, who was a member of the Wendish Emigration of 1854. Carl was in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was captured by the Confederacy and later released off Galveston. I have copies of his service record in the Civil War which is on file in the National Archives and Record Service, Washington, D. C. He married Maria Birnbaum in 1867 and they had a large family.  He died at Thorndale in 1901. She also died at Thorndale in 1912. Carl Michalk and Maria, nee Birnbaum, have many descendants and the writer hopes that there is someone out there who has written a comprehensive history of this family. Attached to this history is a copy of the above-mentioned biography. I am indebted to the late Rev. Adolph Michalk who furnished most of the information for the footnotes entered on the bottom of this biography.
4. Johanna Christiana married Johann Peter Tuppack from Weigersdorf, Silesia, in 1866. Three sons and one daughter of theirs migrated to the United States. They were Carl Herman, Paul Edward (the Weigersdorf birth register lists his name as Emil Paul), Johann Emil and Ernestine. Due to an error on the naturalization papers, Paul’s surname was spelled TUPACK, with one p instead of two. He married Minna Moerbe, daughter of Hermann Moerbe and Maria, nee Schultz, Bishop, Texas. Several years ago Mrs. Tupack wrote me that my father, Otto Biar, “lived with us [at Thorndale] and we girls and boys knew him like a brother.”
5. The first Johann died as an infant.
6. No records are available on the second Johann.
7. Carl August died when he was 2 years old.
8. Johanne Marie married Johann Carl Böthig (also Pöthig) and they lived at Wilthen, Saxony, south of Bautzen.
9. Curt August was in the Germany army. He visited his sister, Ernstine (Mrs. C. August Moerbe), and his two brothers, Carl and Ernst, in Texas, the latter part of the 1880s. He was a “baptizing witness” for Carl Samuel Michalk, the son of his brother, (Johann) Carl, and Maria, nee Birnbaum, on 19 March 1888. In 1948, his daughter, Mrs. Elsa Muck from Dresden, wrote me the following among other things: “My father was in America for only 2 or 3 years. Since he did not want to be absent without leave he came back over here. My father wanted to go back over to you, but my mother did not want to go and that is how it stayed. There is a destiny for each one of us. God leads us and what He does is always right, even when it is often hard for us to accept.” This quote was taken from her letter to us dated 17 April 1948 and translated by the writer.
10. Carl Ernst married Ernstine Zieschang and they immigrated to Texas in 1879. My late aunt, Frieda (Mrs. Samuel Kieschnick, nee Moerbe), told me that they were cousins and that they settled in Victoria. His sister, Ernstine (Mrs. C. August Moerbe), accompanied them on the voyage to Texas.
11. Maria Magdalena married Ernst Thomaschke (also Domaschke) and they lived at Malschwitz, Saxony.  Her mother, Magdalene Michalk, nee Zieschang, lived with her at Malschwitz after her husband died.
12. Ernstine, the youngest child, was our ancestress. She was confirmed on 25 March 1877 in Baruth, Saxony. In 1879 she came to Texas with her youngest brother, Carl Ernst, who, with his wife, Ernstine, nee Zieschang, immigrated to Texas. It was her intention to return to Saxony after visiting her brother, Johann Carl, who had come to Texas before she was born. On the voyage to Texas she became very ill from seasickness and vowed never to board another ship. She remained in Texas and married my grandfather, C. August Moerbe.
Carl Michalk, the father of his sons, Johann Carl and Carl Ernst, and daughter, Ernestine, who came to Texas, died at Baruth on 14 December 1895, and Magdalene died at Malschwitz, Saxony, on 25 August 1899.
For more information on our ancestress, Ernestine Moerbe, nee Michalk, see CARL AUGUST MOERBE AND ERNESTINE MICHALK in the Moerbe family history entitled FROM DZICK TO MITSCHKE TO MÖRBE.
The surname “Michalk” is also found elsewhere in Lusatia, especially toward the north of Bautzen. It is known that members of two other Michalk families came to Texas. One family, the Andreas Michalk family, originated in the same general area where the above Michalks originated. Two sisters, Maria and Hanna Michalk, came from the area further to the north.
Andreas Michalk and his wife, Caroline, nee Krakovsky, are listed in Dr. George Nielsen’s IN SEARCH OF A HOME – Nineteenth-Century Wendish Immigration; however, the place of birth is not given. In my quest to determine whether or not our Michalks and Andreas Michalk were related I learned that he was born on 23 March 1840 at Maltitz, Saxony. His parents were Andreas Michalk and Marie, nee Wolf. Johanne Caroline Krakovsky was born on 3 August 1846 at Dauban, Silesia. Her father was Georg Krakovsky and her mother’s name is not available.
On 10 May 1868 Andreas (1840) and Caroline were married at Krischa (now Buchholz), Silesia. They had twelve children, nine of whom were born in Germany. They, together with six children (three had died before their departure), came to Texas in 1881. They settled in the Warda area, where their last three children were born.
Below is a list of their children:
NAME                                                               BORN                   DIED
Johann Ernst                                                    1868                     1897
August                                                             1869                     1942
Carl Ernst                                                         1871                     1891
Heinrich                                                           1873                     1873
Maria Magdalene                                               1874                     1951
Anna Emilie                                                      1876                      1876
Carl Herman                                                     1878                      1882
Anna                                                                1879                      1879
Anna Amanda                                                    1881                      1965
Karl Heinrich                                                      1882                      ?
Theresia Selma                                                  1885                      ?
Martha Minna                                                     1888                     1904
Sandförstgen, where our Michalks originated, is about three miles from Krischa (now Buchholz), the home of Andreas Michalk (1840) before he migrated to Texas. Naturally, one wonders whether or not Andreas Michalk was related to the “Sandförstgen” Michalks. I was told by my late brother, Otto, that years ago, when Grandfather and Grandmother (August) Moerbe visited her brother in Victoria, they stopped by at Warda and Fedor on the way home to visit other relatives. I, personally, knew some of the relatives at Fedor but none at Warda. The Andreas Michalk family could very well have been the relatives they visited at Warda. Perhaps, Andreas was grandmother Moerbe’s cousin.
Maria Michalk was born at Oelsa near Klitten, Silesia (Prussia), on 24 February 1828. On 2 February 1848 she married Christoph Krause, who was born at Mücka, Silesia, on 23 March 1817. This couple, together with their 9 months old son, Johann, came to Texas with a small group of Wends in 1853. This group was composed of about 35 persons, including children. They were shipwrecked near Cuba. No lives were lost, but all their possessions were lost. They were brought to Havana and with the help of a German society were taken to New Orleans where they received new clothing and then transportation to Galveston. While Maria Michalk Krause was in Havana she learned how to roll cigars and during the voyage between Cuba and Galveston she gave birth to her daughter, Hanna. The family settled at Frelsburg and later joined Pastor Kilian’s congregation at Serbin. The writer does not have access to data concerning additional children, etc. Christoph Krause died at Serbin on 15 June 1869 and Maria died at Serbin on 26 July 1912.
Maria Michalk’s sister, Hanna, was born at Oelsa on 8 May 1825. The ship register identifies her place of birth as Klein Oelsa. She came to Texas as a single person with the large Wendish Immigration to Texas in 1854.  Hanna became the second wife of Johann Carl Teinert, a prominent member of the Wendish migration. Carl Teinert’s first wife, Maria, nee Schneider, died at sea in 1854. Hanna died at Serbin on 16 November 1863 and Carl died at Warda on 19November 1904. I was unable to determine whether or not these two sisters were related to the other Michalks.