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"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
~William Penn

Monday, January 16, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 1.16.2012

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Historian Joe B. Frantz born
January 16, 1917
On this day in 1917, Texas historian Joe B. Frantz was born in Dallas. He was adopted by Ezra A. Frantz and grew up in Weatherford. He completed a master's degree in history in 1940 at the University of Texas and worked as archivist and acting director of the San Jacinto Museum before joining the United States Navy in 1943. After World War II Frantz returned to UT as a teaching fellow. In 1948 he finished Ph.D. work under the direction of Walter Prescott Webb and joined the UT faculty. His dissertation, published in 1951 as Gail Borden, Dairyman to a Nation, won the Texas Institute of Letters prize. During his tenure at the university Frantz became noted as an outstanding teacher and speaker and wrote thirteen books. He served as chair of the history department and director of the Texas State Historical Association, and was the first holder of the Walter Prescott Webb Chair of History and Ideas. He retired as professor emeritus in 1986 and died in Houston in 1993.

Prussian mapmaker retires from General Land Office
January 16, 1899
On this day in 1899, Karl Wilhelm Pressler (Presler), surveyor and cartographer, retired from the General Land Office in Austin. Pressler was born in Thuringia, Prussia, in 1823 and was educated as a surveyor. Dissatisfied with political and religious conditions, he left Prussia in 1845 as a member of the Adelsverein and landed in Texas in 1846. He moved to Austin and was employed by Jacob De Cordova, who made him the head of surveying expeditions in 1846 and 1847. Pressler checked the details of De Cordova's first map of Texas, issued in 1849. After purchasing a farm in Austin County, Pressler returned to the city of Austin in December 1850 and became a draftsman in the General Land Office. He became principal draftsman in 1858 and chief draftsman in 1865 and, except for short periods of service elsewhere, served until his retirement. Among his noteworthy mapping efforts, Pressler computed the area of the counties in Texas for De Cordova's Texas: Her Resources and Her Public Men (1858), revised and corrected De Cordova's 1856 map of Texas, and in 1858 published his own map of the state. In 1879 Pressler and Langermann issued a map of Texas in three sizes, and in 1889 Pressler prepared a map of Texas that was never published. He is also credited with the preparation of thirty-eight Texas county maps. Pressler died in 1907.

A Prussian lens on South Tejas
January 16, 1860
On this day in 1860, Adolphus Glaevecke, a long-term observer of life on the Texas-Mexico border, gave the governor of Texas an account of events connected with the so-called Cortina Wars. Glaevecke, a native of Rostock, Prussia, had come to Texas with three of his brothers in 1836. Nearly all subsequent historians have used his account of the actions of Juan N. Cortina, whose rebellion against border Anglo-Texans is legendary.

Church organized in Swedish community
January 16, 1897
On this day in 1897, the Bethlehem congregation was organized in Lund, Texas. Lund, in northeastern Travis County, was settled by Swedes in the late 1880s. The community was the center of a large Swedish agricultural settlement that arose as an extension of the New Sweden area, about four miles west. The first settlers in Lund were N. M. Anderson, August Thornquist, and Gustaf Seaholm. In the 1890s other Swedish families moved into the community. In a letter dated January 23, 1896, two settlers described the unique character of the community to their relatives back in Sweden: "West of us there live nothing but Swedes for a distance of about sixteen miles. East and south and north of us there lives a mixed population of Americans, Germans, Bohemians, Negroes, and Mexicans, so it is certainly a strange mixture." The Bethlehem congregation in Lund was established in 1897, with nineteen communicants and twenty children. The congregation was given 1½ acres of land by P. V. Nelson, Nels Ankarstolpe, and J. E. Rivers, and an additional acre was given for a community graveyard. The church was built in the fall of 1899. On April 7, 1980, a tornado severely damaged Lund. The Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Lund was lifted from its foundation and had to be demolished. A large brick structure with a bell tower was built to replace the historic church.

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