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Thanks to a hundred years of melodrama and myth, Texas is a place that Americans think they know, a place which has cast a glamor over popular culture down to this very day.
But there is another story of Texas and it's dramatic frontier days - the story of those pioneers who also came in search of land and better opportunities for their children, for homes of their own, for freedom from rule by aristocrats and princes. These immigrants arrived all at once, straight from the Old World to the New: farmers and craftsmen, the educated and middle-class, a tide of German immigrants. They brought a distinctive culture with them, a love of learning, of music and literature, and a strong work ethic. They came to the wooded limestone hills of central Texas, on the very edge of Comancheria, where brutal Indian wars had raged, and would go on raging for another thirty years. After a rocky start, the German immigrants built a dozen towns and settlements, planted orchards and gardens. They built fine stone houses and fences, and set to work raising families, for they meant to stay. And they did, for in certain districts and within living memory, German was the common language.
The Adelsverein story begins early in the 1840s, when a group of high-born and socially conscious German noblemen conceived the notion of establishing a colony of German farmers and craftsmen in Texas. Under-funded, over-extended, scammed by scallywags and beset with bad advice, the association still dispatched more than thirty-six chartered ships carrying over 7,000 immigrants to the ports of Galveston and Indianola, in the short space of five years. The gently-rolling limestone and oak-forested hill country of south-central Texas was transformed utterly into a district of neat and prosperous farms and well-laid out towns. These settlers valued culture, and comfort, order and hard work. Schools, churches, singing-societies and businesses were established almost at once. The German hill country was a world almost apart, becoming even more so with the Civil War, when its’ residents held out against secession and for the Union.
Adelsverein – the word means “the company of noble men” tells the story of their endurance and quiet heroism, through the family of Christian Steinmetz, the clockmaker of Ulm and his sons but most particularly of his three daughters, their husbands and their children, their friends and fellow colonists:
• Christian Steinmetz - known as “Vati” is a craftsman with a taste for learning; cultured, endearing and as devoted to his family as they are to him
• Margaretha, or “Magda”, his couragous and passionate oldest daughter
•Carl Becker, the quintessential frontiersman with a dangerous past and a mortal enemy, who will woo Magda and build a happy life with her… until tragedy strikes
• Annaliese “Liesel” Richter, Vati’s second daughter, who wants nothing more than to be a quiet farmers’ wife, tending nothing grander than her garden, her children and her husband
• Hans “Hansi” Richter, Liesel’s husband - first a farmer, then a fugitive and by a turn of fate, a cattle baron in the boom years after the Civil War.
• Wilhelm “Willi” Richter, the youngest son of Hansi and Liesel, taken by a Comanche war party and kept only for the space of eight years, but lost to his family forever
• Rosalie Steinmetz, a nameless orphan adopted by Vati, whose life ends as it began - in tragedy.
• Friedrich and Johann, Vati’s twin sons; one will wear Union blue, and the other Confederate grey homespun… but never forget that they are brothers.
And then there are their friends...
• Jack Hays, the soft-spoken and deceptively boyish looking Indian-fighter, and leader of the Texas Rangers
• C.H. “Charley” Nimitz, who walked away from a merchant ship, and established the finest hotel between New Orleans and San Diego
• John Muesebach, the tireless and practical visionary, who put aside title and station to become an American citizen
• Pastor Bernard Altmueller, called from a comfortable living, to serve a congregation in the midst of a savage wilderness!
A story of life long ago ...
Set in a simpler time, before modern technology and the rise of skyscraper cities, before bottled water and the use of water filters became the norm, before television and all of today's hustle and bustle, the Adelsverein Trilogy tells the story of Texas' young pioneers. This trilogy will not only take you back in time, but will seemingly draw you into a whole other world.