in a Pecan Shell|
The town was established in 1899 as a German Catholic colony and named after
the capital of Westphalia, Germany. The Flusche brothers (Emil and August) were
land agents under contract to sell 22,000 acres to immigrant settlers - within
two years. The brothers had had success in Iowa and Kansas so even before platting
a new town, settlers were transmigrating from their Iowa and Kansas homes. By
the end of 1889, thirty-some people had arrived and on December 8, they celebrated
a Mass by the Reverend H. Brickley of Gainesville.
That date is considered the founding date of the town.
In 1887 Gainesville
and Henrietta were connected by a branch line
of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad which added Muenster as a stop. The
population statistics for the early years aren't available, but in the 1980s,
Muenster had 1,408 residents, many of them descendents of the original colonists.
The population reached 1,387 in 1990 and has since increased to 1,556.
Muenster holds a "Germanfest" each Spring.
to Stay - Muenster Area Hotels
(Professor of History, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Texas prairie wooden homesteads in east Texas were raised up two stories
from that dry, unfriendly ground with the help of family and neighbors. The wherewithal
could be ordered by catalogue and come to that place, like the people, on the
"Katy" - the M.K.T. (Missouri, Kansas and Texas) railway – and be nailed together
with the help of family, community, and the community's professional carpenter.
According to family lore, the latter had been gotten drunk in Iowa and awoke to
find himself in a cattle car heading west to a new life. Our family’s lonely outpost,
a long bumpy and dusty ride, out and up, far from the village which had grown
outwards from the M.K.T. train station, seemed like an island afloat on a vast
sea of land. There might have been a sign alongside that road saying: "civilization
ends here". Only one distant windmill intruded on an empty, wide-open spaced,
landscape that extended as far as the eye could see. The land around the farm,
with its prairie dogs, jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, scorpions, chiggers and the
occasional tarantula or wolf, was not particularly welcoming. Hot nights one was
obliged to sleep on a mattress on the grass in the front lawn, or the small yard
adjoining the breezeway to the summer kitchen, and suffer bites or rashes as a
result. There was a grassy lane, with a few wind-battered trees, which ran down
from the barn through the land to a creek with a few Spring and Fall waterholes
but which mostly dried up during the punishing summer heat. The large, square,
green moss-lined, water trough for the cattle did not invite bathing.
was a rough, uncomfortable, but oddly secure place. Was that because there were
very few passers-by, and great visibility in all directions? Decades later, staying
in a quiet farmhouse on the snow swept grounds of a Trappist monastery in Quebec
City, that world of a protective (and sometimes oppressive) silence, with a substratum
of security, in harsh countryside returned.... more
Marker (On US 82) Text|
1889 brothers Anton, August, and Emil Flusche contracted to sell 22,000 acres
of this land along the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. Jot Gunter gave 25 acres
for a school, church, cemetery, and park. The first Mass, celebrated Dec. 8, 1889,
marked the official beginning of this German Catholic town. Despite drought, typhoid
fever, and tornadoes destroying the first two church buildings, the area grew
and farming and dairy business increased. Farmers established an insurance company
and a marketing group for buying products in bulk. An oil boom in 1926 added to
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