Texas German

Beginning in the 1830s, conditions in Europe, particularly in Alsace and the region that would later become a unified Germany, left many people seeking a better life elsewhere. Lured by the promise of land grants, many left their homes to come to Texas, arriving at the port of Galveston and traveling to the central part of the state to settle. One of the largest communities of German and Alsatian immigrants was New Braunfels, founded by Prince Carl von Solms-Braunfels in 1845. This was the city in which Fred Eikel, Jr. (1909-1967) grew up. After attending the University of Texas at Austin, Eikel followed Rudolph Willard's encouragement to study his community's language, conducting the series of interviews here with speakers from New Braunfels and other German-speaking towns. Over time, Texas German developed unique features that distinguish it from varieties spoken in Europe. Eikel's interviews were conducted during a period when anti-German sentiment in the United States was at an all-time high due to World War Ii, and many of the participants included in this collection are listed in the 1940 census as speakers of English only. These recordings provide an important look at a community that dramatically shaped the settlement of central Texas and whose language, sadly, fewer and fewer descendants of the original immigrants speak today.

Available Files

Creator: Fred Eikel, Jr.

Interviewer: Fred Eikel, Jr.

Speakers: H. H. Altgelt, Francis Coreth, Joe Coreth, Mathilde Coreth, Herbert Dietel, Alma Froelich, Edward Froelich, Joseph Christian Froelich, Leroy Froelich, Margaret Froelich, Theodor W. Froelich, John P. Fuchs, Herbert Hanz, Hilmar Kronkosky, Mrs. P. Kuehler, Willie Kuehler, Albert Meyer, Myrtle Meyer, Walter Schultze, Max Schulz, Carl Schulze, Fritz Schulze

Speaker: H. H. Altgelt

TELL ID: 0474

Description: H. H. Altgelt talks about where he went to school, going to Germany, his parents' Catholic upbringing, his father leaving Germany and going to Comfort, Texas, and meeting Fred Eikel, Jr.'s father.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Comfort, Kendall County, Texas

San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 79-87

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 17, Side 1

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Francis Coreth

TELL ID: 0165

Description: Francis Coreth talks about a two-week trip to Mexico, crossing the border at Laredo, and visiting Monterrey, Victoria, Las Vallas, Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Taxco, Popocatépetl, Iztaccihuatl, and Chapultepec. He describes the weather and food in Mexico and running out of gas in his 1932 Ford.

Date: 1941-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Comal, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 18-21

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 8

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speakers: Joe Coreth

TELL ID: 0157, 0158, 0159

Description: [0157] Joe Coreth talks about his interest in animals.

[0158] Joe Coreth talks about a guarantee.

[0159] Joe Coreth talks about a Winchester rifle purchased in 1859 and passed from brother to brother. He calls to his daughter Ottie at the end of the recording.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 81-89

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 6, Side 2, Tracks 1-3

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Mathilde Coreth

TELL ID: 0160

Description: Mathilde Coreth talks about schooling.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Female

Age: 72-80

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 6, Side 2, Track 4

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Herbert Dietel

TELL ID: 0429

Description: Herbert Dietel talks about differences in German word usage and about Pearl beer.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 37-45

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 1, Track 1

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Alma Froelich

TELL ID: 0437

Description: Alma Froelich talks about her background.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Female

Age: 28-36

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Housewife

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 2, Track 5

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Edward Froelich

TELL ID: 0434

Description: Edward Froelich talks about where he went to school, about his marriage, and about farming.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: Unknown

Dialectal Influences: Lockhart, Caldwell County, Texas

Selma, Bexar, Comal, or Guadalupe County, Texas

Marion, Guadalupe County, Texas

Comal, Comal County, Texas

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 28-36

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Farmer; Cotton mill worker

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 2, Track 2

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Joseph Christian Froelich

TELL ID: 0476

Description: Joseph Christian Froelich talks about his background, where he went to school, and where he worked.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 49-54

Race: White

Education: Business college

Occupations: Farmer; Brewer; Bookkeeper

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 17, Side 2, Track 2

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Leroy Froelich

TELL ID: 0435

Description: Leroy Froelich talks about school, the games and sports he likes, and his family.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 5-12

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Student

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 2, Track 3

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Margaret Froelich

TELL ID: 0436

Description: Margaret Froelich talks about her family and about canning fruits and vegetables.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Comal, Comal County, Texas

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Female

Age: 52-60

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 2, Track 4

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Theodor W. Froelich

TELL ID: 0433

Description: Theodor W. Froelich talks about his name, his school experience, and where he has lived.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Lockhart, Caldwell County, Texas

Wetmore, Bexar County, Texas

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 56-64

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Farmer

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 2, Track 1

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: John P. Fuchs

TELL ID: 0431

Description: John P. Fuchs talks about his grandfather and his school friends.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 19-27

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Teacher

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 1, Track 3

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Herbert Hanz

TELL ID: 0477

Description: Herbert Hanz talks about his background, answers questions about how to say English phrases in German, and talks about what he is going to do afterwards.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 25-33

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 17, Side 2, Track 3

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Hilmar Kronkosky

TELL ID: 0475

Description: Hilmar Kronkosky talks about his background and about a professor that he and Fred Eikel, Jr. both know.

Date: 1943-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 38

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Photographer's shop worker; Store worker; Brewer

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 17, Side 2, Track 1

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Mrs. P. Kuehler

TELL ID: 0163

Description: Mrs. P. Kuehler talks about coming from Düsseldorf, Germany in 1893, writing a letter to Kaiser Wilhelm about naming her seventh son after him, and Jews in Germany. Willie Kuehler can be heard speaking throughout the recording.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Female

Age: Unknown

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 7, Side 2, Track 1

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Willie Kuehler

TELL ID: 0164

Description: Willie Kuehler talks about not wanting to be heard speaking German because of the Nazis and about singing songs.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 64-62

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 7, Side 2, Track 2

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Albert Meyer

TELL ID: 0161

Description: Albert Meyer talks about New Braunfels, about the building of a school, and about cotton boll weevils.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 45-51

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 7, Side 1, Track 1

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Myrtle Meyer

TELL ID: 0162

Description: Myrtle Meyer talks about her educational background and reading preferences.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Geronimo, Comal County, Texas

New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Female

Age: 13-21

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 7, Side 1, Track 2

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Walter Schultze

TELL ID: 0156

Description: Walter Schultze talks about his background.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal or Guadalupe County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 49-58

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 6, Side 1, Track 4

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Max Schulz

TELL ID: 0430

Description: Max Schulz talks about where he went to school.

Date: 1937-1942

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 51-59

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 9, Disc 9, Side 1, Track 2

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Carl Schulze

TELL ID: 0155

Description: Carl Schulze talks about his background.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: New Braunfels, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 71-79

Race: White

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 6, Side 1, Track 3

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Speaker: Fritz Schulze

TELL ID: 0153, 0154

Description: [0153] Fritz Schulze talks about his background, including a story about a rattlesnake, growing up and going to school, and a story about a cow when he was seven years old.

[0154] Fritz Schulze tells a story about a horse.

Date: 1937-1944

Language: German

Dialectal Influences: Comal, Comal County, Texas

Sex: Male

Age: 66-74

Race: White

Education: Some schooling

Occupations: Unknown

Original Recording Location: Box 4, Disc 6, Side 1, Tracks 1-2

Additional Files with Duplicate Content: None

Sources:


Boas, H. C. (n.d.). Texas German Dialect Project - Dedicated to the Preservation of Texas German. Retrieved from https://tgdp.org/
Eikel, F., Jr. (1966). New Braunfels German: Part I. American Speech, 41(1), 5-16. https://www.jstor.org/stable/453239
Fred Eikel, Jr (1909- 1967) - Find A Grave Memorial. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/129368065/fred-eikel
Jordan, T. G. (2016). GERMANS | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Retrieved from https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/png02
Lich, G. E., & Moltmann, G. (2019). SOLMS-BRAUNFELS, PRINCE CARL OF | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Retrieved from https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fso03
Image Credit: "New Braunfels, Texas Balcony." Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_Braunfels,_Texas_Balcony.jpg