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  Texas : Features : Columns : Lone Star Diary :

The life and times of F.W. Neuhaus

by Murray Montgomery
Murray Montgomery
It has always amazed me at what I find while researching the old newspapers - and what I mean by "being amazed," is that I am astounded by the accomplishments and deeds done by our forefathers.

You can go back to the days when the first pioneers planted their feet on the soil of this great place we call "Texas." People back then had an adventurous spirit. They were looking for new things to accomplish and they had their priorities straight - God, family, and country - in that order.

Lavaca and Gonzales Counties, as well as many other locations in Texas, have a unique background and history; including some extraordinary individuals who were their citizens, in the early days of Texas.

One such man was F.W. Neuhaus of Hackberry. The life of Mr. Neuhaus was very interesting one. From the time he left his home in Germany until his feet hit the sand at the old port of Indianola; F.W. Neuhaus intended to be a successful man in Texas - indeed he was.

In 1907, the Hallettsville Herald was doing a series of articles on the leading citizens of Lavaca County. They called these, "sketches," and Mr. Neuhaus was the subject of one of them. When that newspaper sketch appeared in the Herald, Neuhaus was alive and well living at home in Hackberry.

Following is the unedited article from 1907.

Hallettsville Herald - Oct. 17, 1907.

The subject of this sketch, F.W. Neuhaus, was born in Westphalia, Germany, May 9, 1833, and attended college at Mindin, on the River Weser, and Duisberg, on the Rhine Germany.

The new country of America beckoned him with open arms and he bade farewell to his native land, arriving in New York in the winter of 1851.

After remaining in New York a few weeks he came to Texas, landing at Indianola in January 1852, and overland immediately for Hackberry, Lavaca County, traveling on horseback.

Here he worked on a farm, in a cotton gin, saw mill, in fact at anything that presented itself at wages from $4 to $8 per month. In the fall of 1854 he entered the Texas Ranger service, serving nearly a year, as a scout in fighting Comanches between the Pecos and the Rio Grande Rivers and into New Mexico.

Returning to Lavaca County he invested in cattle, following cattle raising as an occupation until January 1861, when he enlisted in the Confederate army, acting as recruiting officer for the 24th Texas Cavalry. Holding a first lieutenancy, he went through the whole campaign.

He was taken prisoner at Arkansas on January 12, 1862, and carried to Camp Butler, Illinois, where he was exchanged in May.

He was sent to Chattanooga and participated in the battles of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga, and down to Atlanta, Georgia - was captured at Macon, Georgia, at the break-up and sent to New Orleans and kept under guard of Negro soldiers some time.

The prisoners were nicely treated by the good ladies of New Orleans, who came to see them every day bringing all kinds of good things to eat and drink, which sat well with the half-starved Confederate soldiers.

When released, Mr. Neuhaus returned to Lavaca County following the occupation of cattle raising again for a while, then embarking in the real estate business, buying and selling land as opportunity presented itself and by industry and economy has amassed considerable property.

He was married in 1882 to Miss Elizabeth Gerdes, and seven children, four girls and three boys have blessed their union.

He has been a member of the Odd Fellows since 1867, and is also a member of the Herrmann Sons and Park Verein.

Murray Montgomery
Lone Star Diary May 8, 2008 Column
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