TEXAS WENDS: Their First Half Century by Lillie Moerbe Caldwell


Copies of this Wendish classic can be acquired at the Museum and Archives of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society located at 1011 CR 212, Serbin, Texas  78942 or online at TexasWendish.org.


Little is known about the history of the Texas Wends of Serbin, who migrated to Texas from Upper and Lower Lusatia in 1854, a region between the Oder and the Elbe rivers in East Germany and Southern Poland. Realizing this lack, the author, a direct descendant of the Wends, has felt it a challenging duty to collect in permanent form essential information and significant records concerning her Wendish forefathers, and to show the persecution, hardships, and pestilences these Wends had to bear for more than a thousand years to gain religious and political freedom. And to show the great part the Wends played in a Christian environment of settlement, growth, and development in the great state of Texas.

Due to overcrowded conditions Wends moved to almost every town, city, state and nation of the world and distinguished themselves in the arts, sciences, theology, teaching, law, literature and many other :fields of endeavor.

Since there always has been such a fine line between the Wendish and the German people, most Wends have been taken for Germans, and as time went on this error persisted. Now, when Wends are mentioned, the question is asked. Who are the Wends?

To keep another generation from losing and forgetting the pertinent facts, the author, has put in more than five years of research gathering and writing the history, traditions, and customs of the Wends of Serbin, Texas.

In order to provide the reader with facts about these early Texas settlers, up to the year 1902 many privately owned letters were used. Other needed materials such as in­ formation, pictures and charts were gathered from archives, books, bulletins, relatives, friends and even from strangers. The author is at work on another volume about her forefathers, the Lusatian Serbs (or Wends) of Germany who are the smallest of the Slavonic groups and the last descendants of the Slavs who in the early Middle Ages lived in a good sized country east of the Elbe River. After nearly two thousand years of struggle these Wends have been reduced to a very small number. They still live in the neighborhood of Bautzen, Saxony, Upper Lusatia, and in the Spreewald, Prussia, Lower Lusatia areas from which the Serbin Texas Wends migrated.

The author’s sincere appreciation and thanks for continued help in writing this book goes to her husband Joe Caldwell, her children Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Caldwell, Mr. and Mrs. G. B. Hutchinson, and her mother, Mrs. Ottilie Moerbe from Bridge City, Texas, and to Dr. Robert Nossen, Dr. Chas. H. Hagelman, Celeste Kitchen, Julia Plummer and other librarians, and a group of teachers also of Lamar State College of Technology of Beaumont, Texas. Special thanks go to Mrs. Ruth Garrison Scurlock, who reached far above her duties as a creative writing teacher at Lamar College. She gave inspiration and practical help in the preparation of this book. Her guidance, experience, patience, and encouragement proved to be invaluable to the author. May God reward her with the same kindness she shows to so many.

Among those who helped the author with pictures and information for this book are Mr. and Mrs. Herman Moerbe, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Zoch, Mrs. Ernest Wukasch, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Wagner and the Gates Memorial librarians of Port Arthur. Mrs. Bill Fawvor and Rev. W. E. Doerr of Bridge City. To Rev. A. Arndt, Mrs. Clara Kapler, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Schatte, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Prellop and Raphie Snow of Serbin, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. August Zoch, Mr. and Mrs. Christoph Schatte, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Marburger, Mrs. Pauline Zoch, Mrs. Selma Beisert, Mr. Emil Schulze and Mrs. Gus Knippa of Giddings, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Eric Moerbe from Brenham, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kruemcke, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Pampell, and Mr. and Mrs. Alwin Knippa of Loebau, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Gerhard Kasper of Houston, Miss Amanda Kasper of Warda, Mr. Frank Wardlaw, Miss Doris Knippa, Miss Dorothy Bewie, Miss Clara Bewie, Dr. Dorman H. Winfrey and Rev. Albert F. Jesse of Austin. Mrs. Hulda Schatte of Dallas, Mrs. Emma Moerbe and Mrs. Esther Leitko of Dime Box, Mrs. Alma Moerbe of Vernon, Mr. and Mrs. Alwin Schatte of Hondo, Mrs. Edna Schatte of California, the John and Emil Schulze families, and many others. To all of those who have helped I am most grateful.


Bridge City, Texas