In mid-2013, I looked at the Wendish Research Exchange website for the first time. I started to explore it from top to bottom. While I was exploring “The Wendish Research Project” Blog, I came across an item titled “Contemporary Materials Concerning the 1853 Emigration of Wends to Texas” by Dr. Joseph Wilson. What I found there verified something I had thought was true, but just could not find anything to prove it. I found that my mother’s great grandparents and their family had migrated to Texas in 1853.
In addition, I also found that they were one of eight Wendish families who travelled together trying to get to Texas. They were all on the brig Reform when it ran aground off the coast of Cuba. I was excited and left a comment on the page. Then Weldon Mersiovsky, who had given me some help with my family tree and who had recommended I look at the Wendish Reasearch Exchange website, sent me an email.
In his email Weldon told me that he had some more information he had gathered about the 1853 Wendish group’s travels and asked me if I would be willing to organize it and write an article on the trip of these eight families for the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter. I looked at the information that Weldon had sent me and I agreed to write the article. It took me about six months or so to get a first draft done, and probably another six months to get to the final copy. The article builds on the information Dr. Joseph Wilson and Weldon Mersiovsky obtained. I also wanted to find answers to some questions I had: What is a brig; how large was the Reform; how many voyages did the brig Reform take; are there any brigs or brig replicas available to tour? I found some answers to my questions and included that information in the article as well. The article was split into two parts and printed in two different issues of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter. Part one was printed in the October 2014 issue and part two was printed in the January 2015 issue.