From the Old World to the New, they came to the to the far Texas frontier, bringing their their hopes and their children ... and a will to survive! Adelsverein: The Gathering is Volume 1 of the Adelsverein Trilogy, a saga of family and community loyalties, and the challenge of... read more
In 1836 a teen-aged German-American soldier named Carl Becker is part of a Texan garrison taken prisoner by Mexican forces shortly after the fall of the Alamo. He escapes a massacre ordered by General Santa Anna, through the actions of his older brother. His brother dies, but Carl lives. Eight... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
In 1836 a teen-aged German-American soldier named Carl Becker is part of a Texan garrison taken prisoner by Mexican forces shortly after the fall of the Alamo. He escapes a massacre ordered by General Santa Anna, through the actions of his older brother. His brother dies, but Carl lives. Eight years later, he is one of Jack Hays’ Texas Rangers. Not as a commander, but a friend, Jack asks a favor; A German prince has grandiose plans to bring German settlers to the dangerous frontier, under the auspices of the Adelsverein, (The Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas). Jack Hays asks Carl to discourage the prince, unaware that thousands of German settlers are already on their way.
Among them is Christian “Vati” Steinmetz, his wife Hannah, daughters Magda and Liesel, and his twin sons, Friedrich and Johann. Vati and Liesel’s husband, Hans “Hansi” Richter accept the offer of land in Texas, and sail on the brig Apollo, packed into a single, windowless lower-deck. The Apollo runs into winter storms on the Atlantic, and an epidemic of typhus kills Hannah Steinmetz, and the Richter’s baby son. Their situation becomes even worse, upon reaching Texas. The immigrants are stranded on a desolate beach, where many have fallen ill and died. Vati adopts a young orphan girl found in the camp among the bodies of her family, naming her Rosalie. John Meusebach, the prince’s replacement, is moving heaven and earth to find transportation for the immigrants, including the Steinmetz and Richter families. On their way to the settlement of New Braunfels they meet by chance with Jack Hays and Carl Becker. Magda and Carl are attracted to each other, but his Ranger company is called for service in the Mexican War.
New Braunfels overflows with settlers. Vati Steinmetz and his family set out with a a wagon party towards the site of a new settlement, Fredericksburg, in the limestone hills and oak woods two weeks journey farther west. In the interim, Carl has been badly wounded in the siege of Monterray, and returns to convalesce at his sister’s house. He tells her about Magda. The death of his brother fractured their family, but Carl feels a deep affection for Magda and her father. His sister encourages him to find them again.
Vati and the others make their new homes in a pleasant valley filled with oak trees, by a clear-running small river. Each settler receives a small plot in the town proper, and ten acres to farm nearby: Hansi is ecstatic at finally getting what they have been promised. New settlers arrive, among them former merchant-seaman Charley Nimitz, a rival for Carl in Magda’s affections.
Jack Hays returns from the Mexican War and finds Carl on the mend. He asks Carl to go with John Meusebach, who plans a peace-making venture to the Comanche Indians which will ensure the safety of the German settlers. Carl accepts, although he tells Jack that it will be his last. He wants to settle down, and secretly hopes to renew his friendships with the Steinmetz family. John Meusbach reluctantly accepts Carl, saying that he cannot afford any more bad advice. In Fredericksburg Carl tentatively courts Magda, before departing with Meusebach’s expedition. Off to a rocky start, they are received by the Comanche with proper and nerve-wracking ceremony. Journeying farther into the Comanche territory, Meusebach meets with three important chiefs and negotiates a peace treaty.
On returning Carl warns John Meusebach that peace will last only as long as the whim of the Comanche are inclined towards doing so. Carl takes up property and begins building a house of his own. Both he and Charley Nimitz propose to Magda. She chooses Carl after much soul-searching, deciding that his calm and reliable nature is more to her liking than the outgoing and irrepressible Charley. They are married, with joy and some apprehension.
New German settlers continue arriving, even though the Adelsverein organization has gone bankrupt. A US Army fort nearby offers work and a market for many of the settlers, but new arrivals bring cholera with them, which devastates the town. Carl has occasional encounters with a local gang of toughs whom he suspects of murder and horse-thievery. But he applies himself towards building his farm, and a life with Magda. They return to Fredericksburg for the birth of their first child, as parties of ‘49ers seeking gold in California begin passing through. Among them is Jack Hays, who has tired of war and Indian-fighting. He tempts Carl with the lure of adventure and gold. Carl declines, having found deep contentment in his new life, with Magda and his newborn son.
“He’s a fool with money and powerful friends, which makes him about the most dangerous kind there is. Keep your cards close to your chest, Dutch—and your eyes open.”Jack Hays
“That’s downright underhanded of you, Dutch ... Sneaky, ungentlemanly and dishonest; you ever thought about being a lawyer?”Samuel Maverick
“Look ... look back, for that is the last sight of Albeck! Look well, and remember—for that is the very last that we will see of our old home!”Hansi Richter
“My friends, I do not propose to delay the start of your journey for much longer, not with such a task at hand as this. Virgil said Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem—with such great labor was built the Roman people. The labors you are embarking upon today will, I am certain, be great, but they will not be fruitless. You will be doing your part to build as great a nation . . . even a greater nation than Rome. You are the first to take up this endeavor but you will not be recorded as being among the least. And as you stride forth into the wilderness, know this: you bear with you our hopes and our prayers for your safety and success.”John O. Meusebach
“What in hell are you doing in the middle of Comancheria with all these damned Dutchmen, throwing little children into the creek?”Robert Neighbors
“The thing to keep in mind about that kind of pest is that they have a way of making lots of enemies, all on their own. One day, one of those enemies will shoot him down like a dog in the street and save everyone the fuss of a trial.”Carl Becker
We’re hiding the errata, movie connections, books that influenced this book, books influenced by this book, books that cite this book and books cited by this book sections. If you would like to add content to them, you must first make them visible.