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Texas Family Photos

The Altgelts of Comfort, San Antonio
(and Argentina)

Editor’s Note: One of the delights in writing about Texas towns is hearing from descendants of town founders. The Internet has become a conduit of history and to date we have heard from thirty or more families involved in the formation of towns small and large. In this particular case, it is the man who built the first residence in San Antonio’s famed King William District as well as the town of Comfort. Our thanks to James Ernest (Ernie) Altgelt for sharing these rare photos with our readers. - Ed.
Ernest Hermann Altgelt
Ernest Hermann Altgelt, founder of Comfort, Texas
Photo courtesy James Ernest Altgelt
Mr. Altgelt writes:

“Attached are a few photos of my great-great grandfather Ernest Hermann Altgelt (some family members spell the name Altgeld but he didn't). I've also attached a picture of his wife Emma Merck Altgelt. She was a strong one.

Ernst was a young "Freethinking" German who came to Texas in 1854. He was "hired" to "found" a community which became Comfort, Texas.

After living there ten years, he moved to San Antonio where the Altgelts still live. Ernst established the city's first "suburb." He named the first street in it "King William" (for German King Wilhelm), which is what this historic, South San Antonio neighborhood is still called today. He built the first house on that street and, it's still occupied.

While the German immigrants were all pro-union during the Civil War, Ernst (for his health as Emma attests) went back to Germany when the hostilities began. For some reason he returned after a few years and soon found himself wearing a Confederate uniform during the war's latter years. I'm sure he wasn't happy about this but he probably didn't have any choice.

He died fairly young but left Emma and a lot of children. He and Emma are buried together in Boerne, Texas. One of his sons, Ernest Junior Altgelt, was my great grandfather. Thanks to Ernst, there have been lots of other "Ernest Altgelts" throughout the years.

It's a small family with members still in Germany, Texas and South America (Argentina). All Altgelts are related!”

- James Ernest (Ernie) Altgelt, August 23, 2014
Ernest Hermann Altgelt
Ernest Hermann Altgelt
Photo courtesy James Ernest Altgelt
Emma Merck Altgelt
Emma Merck Altgelt
Photo courtesy James Ernest Altgelt
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Related Topics: Texas Town List | Texas
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