The W.E. Pophanken
Store on the west side of McElroy Lane at the intersection of FM
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas (image
a Pecan Shell
Frels is the town's namesake. Frels was a veteran of the revolution
and after independence, donated land for the townsite, school, cemetery
and Protestant church. Frels and his brother John had immigrated from
Germany in 1834 and settled in the area in 1837.
By 1847 Frelsburg was granted a post office and Sts. Peter and Paul
Catholic Church was organized to serve an influx of new German immigrants.
The economy was based on the familiar small farm communities back
in the old country.
Frelsburg had several stores as early as 1852 with blacksmiths, leatherworkers
and essential tradesmen. The towns prosperity continued after the
Civil War with cotton being the
major agricultural crop. Frelsburg was chosen in 1870 to be the site
of Hermann University, but after building the first structure it was
sadly realized that subscriptions fell short of operational expenses.
The local school district purchased the building and put it to use
as a school.
Frelsburg may well have rivaled Columbus
had the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway not chosen
its route through the county seat. A second chance at prosperity was
lost a few years later when the Katy (Missouri, Kansas and Texas)
bypassed Frelsburg on the north. The 1884 estimated population
was nearly 300 and the town had no fewer than five cotton gins. With
three churches, a sawmill, four gristmills and the previously mentioned
gins, Frelsburg remained self-sufficient despite its lack of a railroad
The Frelsburg post office closed its doors in 1908. Over the years
cotton production gave way to cattle raising as the leading economic
engine. Discovery of a gas field and sand / gravel excavations contribute
to the economy. The population of Frelsburg has been reported at seventy-five
residents from 1933 to the present.
family in Frelsburg.
Back row, left to right: Fredrick Schoellmann, Frank Schoellmann,
Hugo Schoellmann, Victor Schoellmann, Willie Schoellmann, Hubert
Seated, left to right: Agatha Schoellmann Poindexter, Alberta Schoellmann
Valigura, Grandma Hoffmann Schoellmann, Grandpa Henry Schoellmann,
Annie Schoellmann Patter, Justina Schoellmann Schramm.
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas # 01475
School Class photographed January 6, 1924.
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 00064
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