Mary Schroeder Heinsohn's 1945 Letter

From Galveston to Frelsburg in 1879

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Mary Schroeder Heinsohn, 9 Apr 1869 - 18 Oct 1950, wrote the following letter to a German newspaper, probably the New Braunfels Zeitung, ca 1945.  It was translated a number of years ago by Elsie Heinsohn Schweke.

I would like to send you a message from Beeville once more.  Mrs. Mary Meier and Mrs. Poldi Oehrlein; I enjoy your columns in the Neu-Braunfels Zeitung very much.  I would like to meet both of you personally; also Mr. Leo Breitkreuz and Mr. Bender.  I remember Mr. Breitkreutz from the time we lived in Rockhouse where we lived 14 years.  Our oldest daughter lives in Eagle Lake.

It is quite dry here as it is on most places.  The farmers here have harvested their broom corn and are picking cotton.

Mr. Klaerner, I remember quite well your description of the Frelsburg school teacher.  I am Prof. Schroeder's oldest daughter.  We are living in Beeville since 1906.  I would like to tell you about our trip from Galveston to Frelsburg.  We left our home in Galveston on Sept. 16, 1879.  Our furniture was sent ahead and we spent our last night in Galveston with friends.  We got on the train at 7 o'clock in the morning.  We children were delighted to get on the train for such a long trip.  We had to change trains in Rosenberg and had to wait three hours for the next train which took us to Alleyton.  This was still fourteen miles from Frelsburg.  Fritz Kollmann met us at the station.  There were seven of us, my parents and us five children.

We drove through the woods which was indeed new to us.  I saw a lizard running and never having seen one before I thought it was a snake with legs.  And such large ants -- I bet they can really bite.

We arrived in Frelsburg in early afternoon.  There were no street cars and no side-walks.  Our furniture had not arrived and there was no hotel or rooming house in Frelsburg.  The Kollmanns showed their hospitality by inviting us to stay with them till our furniture arrived.  We stayed with them almost a week.

We spoke only the English language which proved a bit awkward when everybody here spoke German.

When our furniture finally arrived it was unloaded at the door and we all had to help carry it to the second story.  It was a large house, our room was on the west side.  The school room was on the first story on the east side.  Everything was inconvenient.  We lived on the hill and the well was on the side of the hill.  We had to carry our water in a bucket, up the hill, through the garden, through a long hall in the house, then up the stairs, then through another hall in the second story, through a bedroom and finally into the kitchen.

We all loved to walk in the woods which were close by. There were birds, wild rabbits, pretty little squirrels and an occasional large snake.  My father went for long walks in the woods and when he stayed out a little longer than usual my mother became concerned and remarked, "there could be bears or even Indians in the woods."

We were all homesick for our friends and neighbors in Galveston but our mother never complained.  Everything seemed so far away, and we had to go on foot and the roads were bad.

On Sept. 1, 1885 Pastor Gerstmann was asked to come to our house and in the presence of a few friends and relatives Fred Heinsohn and I were married and I left my parents forever.

After living in Frelsburg for six years my parents moved to Shelby where my mother died.  My father taught school at a number of places, the last one being at New Ulm.  When he got too old to teach, he and the step-mother moved back to Galveston.  He died Nov. 22, 1910 at the age of 66 yrs.    

This is my last letter.  My hands are stiff and my eyes are weak.  I am now 75 yrs. old.  My friends here in Beeville and Rockhouse have often asked me to write again.  I beg Mr. & Mrs. Otto Straach in Rowena, Texas to keep their promise and visit us this fall.

I shall close now.  I could write more but this is enough.  With best regards to all the readers, relatives, and acquaintances.

Farewell, dear people.

Mrs. Mary Heinsohn
Box 465
Beeville, Texas


Contributed by Rox Ann Johnson


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