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Karl Konrad Amsler and Mary (Low-Leunberger.
Story of Cat Springs settlement to succeeding generations
extracted from Amslers of Austin's Colony

Charles C and Mary Amsler forward In 1834 Karl Konrad (anglicized to Charles Conrad) Amsler arrived at the n w community of Cat Spring in Austin County, a few miles southwest of the present county seat, Bellville. The rolling countryside in southeast Texas made it easy to start farming, with plenty of water available. The tradition is that the town was so named because a Mexican puma (wildcat) was killed near the large spring. It was first called Wildcat Spring, then Cat Spring (Katzenquelle). In its heyday, Cat Spring had a gin, saw mill, grist. mill, planing mill, and an inn which entertained such noble guests as Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, John von Meusebach, and Henri Castro, who rested there on their journeys from Harrisburg to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. Other establishn1ents included a saddle shop, a shoe shop, a school, and a church. The First Evangelical Church, Lutheran, was organized by the Reverend Louis Cochand Ervendberg. .A.mong his parishioners were the Amslers, von Roeders, Klebergs, Dannkers, and Stoeltges. Cat Spring celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1932, but only a few of its original buildings remained. The lovely little church is a landmark to guide one around the town which contains an interesting Agricultural Hall (a huge white octagon-shaped building) and a Centennial Monun1ent. In 1938 I visited the place with my husband, Hervey Meyer Amsler, his aunt, Mollie (Amsler) Ahrenbeck, and her husband Theodore. Uncle John Amsler ¥vas there to enjoy the political oratory and barbecue, and took us to see the monument, a drawing of which appears as the frontispiece of this book. Carved on that handsome stone are the names of the founding fathers of Cat Spring, and Amsler is first!

The first home built by the Charles Conrad Amslers was a log cabin, but after the Texas Revolution they erected a more substantial house a few miles from Cat Spring. Surrounded by a shady plot of large trees, the house was on a foundation of large cypress blocks that felt and looked as if they had turned to stone. When we went to see the house, the family living there were friendly and hospitable to us, and as we went up about twelve steps to the large wooden double doors, I felt the warm welcome that traditionally pervaded the home of Charles and Mary (Lowenberger, anglicized from Anna Maria Leuenberger) Amsler. As we walked into the front hall, we were shown the unusual iron hardware on th beautiful doors. Aunt Mollie remembered that the locks had been made by Charles Conrad, her grandfather, who was a master locksmith. He had learned the trade while he, a flaxen-haired boy, had

PG xiv

Under two photos "Jewel and Arthur Wammel anq Amanda Amsler' were informed by a neighbor and the Postmaster that this was the Charles C. Amsler home. It was moved to its present location in Cat Spring and lowered."

Contd from prior page:: been apprenticed in Switzerland. I longed to place the sturdy yet ornamental locks in the home we were building in Houston, and offered a high price for them, but the owners refused to undergo the inconvenience of removing and replacing the old locks. The comfortable living room and dining room gave me the feeling that many prayers had been offered in them-for the safety of the boys who went away to war, thanksgiving for their safe' return, and daily thanks for the good, substantial food which they had raised and prepared. So much of this hardy, daring, loyal, persevering family' ha'd' gone into the creation of this home that I determined to begin to gather information about these people in order to transmit it to generations to come.

You Amsler descendants have a heritage of which you may justly be proud, for your ancestors gave you a firm foundation in our beloved Texas soil. AMANDA (HOWZE) AMSLER

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pg xv

9th Generation

II Charles Conrad amsler

PAGE XIV page 2 AOAC-PG23TO37 Conrad and Charles C.), first son of Hans Ulrich and Barbara (Schaffner) Amsler was born 28 Nov 1808 in Schinznach, Canton Aargau, Switzerland. (Some records say 4 Dec 1808.) On 19 Nov 1832 he married Anna Maria LEUENBERGER (Mary LOWENBERGER), and on 2 May 1874 he died in Waller County, Texas. He was buried at Hempstead in Waller Co. Various traditions have grown around this man, the immigrant ancestor of many Amslers of Austin's Colony. It has been stated that his lineage can be traced to William 23 Tell, and through him to a younger brother of the original Count of Hapsburg. No documentation for this statement has been cited - in fact, most modern historians agree that William Tell was not a historical person but a composite of several legendary figures who were leaders in the struggle for Swiss independence over the years. Charles C. Amsler himself did not claim descent from William Tell when he was interviewed by J. H. Kuykendall in 1857. That editor quoted him thus: "Never was a countryman of Tell and Winkelried more amazed ..." (italics supplied).

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The phrase "born in the shadow of the ruins of the Castle of Hapsburg" has often been applied to *Karl Konrad Amsler*, but it is a slight exaggeration, according to Walter Angst, who wrote that there are two villages between Schinznach and the ruins. But the famous castle may have had a romantic influence on the lad, causing him to dream of owning rich lands over the sea, and to name ** his last child Louis Philippe for Cl. French ** King. Obviously he was not content to live out his life in the small city of Schinznach as his ancestors had done for eight generations. After serving his apprenticeship with a master locksmith, Karl Konrad spent three years as a journeyman, wandering about Switzerland and Germany plying his trade. He kept a "Wanderbuch" listing the towns he visited, in which each chief of police made a notation about his work, conduct, and length of sojourn. In Munich, Bavaria, he worked in one shop about two years, making friendships which he renewed on one of his return trips to Europe. In later years he told his grandson, John C. Amsler of Hempstead, about the time he played host to all the men of that shop, tapping a keg of Munchner beer for the festivity. (The basis of most of the life story of Carl Conrad Amsler is the manuscript entitled "The Torch's Final Flare," written by John C. Amsler in 1937-38. It opens: Having passed life's allotted time and having been urged by some well-meaning friends to recount my experiences in life, I make the attempt, without fiction, and as near the truth as possible, human nature being what it is. The last clause shows that the writer was aware that his memory might fail him on some points, so it is felt that he would not object if we record herein some results of later research which are at variance with the facts as he recalled them at the age of seventythree. (See Supplement "Recollections").

At the conclusion of his wanderings as a journeyman, Karl Konrad married Anna Maria Leuenberger from the nearby village of Koelichen (Kolliken) on 19 Nov 1832. 24 Two months later the young couple decided to emigrate to America, and, with 32 other immigrants, reached New Orleans 9 Apr 1833 via the Arengo from Le Havre, France (National Archives, customs passenger lists for Atlantic and Gulf coast ports exclusive of New York, 1820-1875). Charles Conrad and Mary (as they signed themselves in America) proceeded up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri, where he engaged in farming and worked at his trade whenever possible. A severe bout with typhoid, while Mary suffered from chills and fever, decided Charles to return to New Orleans and seek other employment. In that city they saw some of Stephen F. Austin's glowing literature about the fertile lands of Texas, and determined to sail for the land of promise. Landing at the mouth of the Brazos River, they slowly made their way inland by the prevailing mode of travel, the ox team, to Austin's Colony in present Austin County, which they reached in July 1834. It is interesting to note that these Amslers migrated from one town noted for nearby springs to another. In Switzerland, there are some hot mineral water springs near Schinznacho The resort that grew up around these thermal baths was called Birrenlauf until 1938 when it was united with Schinznach and renamed Schinznach-Bad. The resort town has its own heraldic shield, but the one depicted herein is that of the old town where, it is believed, Hans Ulrich and Barbara (Schaffner) Amsler lived. Probably very close cousins were associated with the famous baths, however. Dr. Jakob Amsler (1788-1862) was at one time the physician in charge of the baths, as was a later Dr. Karl Amsler (1802-56), as shown in Historisch-Biographisches Lexikon der Schweiz, vol. I, p. 349 H. In Texas, where a good source of water has often determined the location of a settlement, a bountiful spring was discovered not far from San Felipe de Austin, the capital of Empresario Stephen F. Austin's colony in present-day Austin County. Near this spring

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In Austin's Colony Military Service

Cont's from prior page:.. developed a community whose name became Cat Spring because, as legend has it, a wildcat (Mexican puma) was shot there by the son of Rudolf von Roeder in the early days of the settlement.

Although the Cat Spring Centennial Monument (which errs in showing an s at the end of the name - see frontispiece) states that the town was founded in 1832 by members of the Amsler, Kleberg, and Von Roeder families, those families did not settle there until 1834 and 1835, according to The Handbook of Texas (under topic "Robert Justus Kleberg"). See also Supplement "Land Records."

An even later date (November 1836) for Robert J. Kleberg's settlement at Cat Spring is given in John Henry Brown's Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (293 ff.), published ca. 1894. R. J. Kleberg Sr. was a son-in-law of the senior Mr. Von Roeder.

Whatever the exact date of its founding, and despite the fact that its first settlers were Teutonic and Swiss rather than Anglo-Americans, there can be no doubt that Cat Spring was within the first boundaries of Austin's Colony. These were described in Davis and Grobe's New Encyclopedia of Texas as beginning on the San Jacinto River, ten leagues from the coast, up the river to its source and thence in a line to the Nacogdoches- San Antonio road, this road being the northern boundary; the western boundary was the Lavaca River and a line from its source to the above named road. Cat Spring is about fourteen miles northwest of San Felipe.

By the time Charles C. and Mary Amsler reached the future site of Cat Spring in July 1834, they had only fifty cents in cash, but they were permitted to occupy a recentlyvacated hut a mile and a quarter from Mr. Fordtran's place near Industry. (Charles Fordtran was born in 1801 in Minden, Westphalia, Germany. Although the Swiss people had fought Austrian domination for centuries, the Amslers lived amicably with German neighbors in Texas.) Charles and Mary remained in the hut only "until they could come into their own headright of land," which was when Charles Jr. was about three months old, according to Houston Wade's sketch of this family printed 19 June 1939 in the La Grange Journal. Readers of that account are advised to beware of its first footnote. It erroneously identifies Charles Conrad's brother Samuel (born 1821, married 1860) with a Samuel Amsler (1791-1849) entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The next period of Charles C. Amsler's life is described in the "Recollections of Charles Amsler," published in 1903 on pages 55-58 of Volume VII of the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association. As explained on page 236 of the preceding volume, in 1857 J. H. Kuykendall of Round Top in Fayette County wrote a series of papers consisting of the reminiscences of early Texans. It appears that Mr. Kuykendall interviewed many old settlers and wrote their recollections in the first person, editing at his discretion. Reference to Charles C. Amsler's letters to his family in the Supplement "Letters" will demonstrate that his literary style was quite different from Mr. Kuykendall's.

Military Service

In this sketch, Charles is quoted as saying that in the autumn of 1835 he and his wife were picking cotton on Mr. Nichols's farm on Piney Creek when he learned that reinforcements were needed by the Texas army then besieging San Antonio de Bexar, where the Mexican troops were established in the Alamo. Charles managed to procure a horse and a worthless rifle and set out alone. Near Gonzales he met Gen. Stephen F. Austin and Col. William Pettus. Pettus (whom he knew well) handed him a musket and promised to return the rifle to its owner, his neighbor. When Charles Conrad reached the camp of the small Texas army on the outskirts of San Antonio, he sought out Capt. John York in order to join his company, as he knew some of the men in it. But the lieutenant,

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Photo of Rifle with the following: "This gun, thought to be the one that Col. William Pettus lent to Charles Conrad Amsler, was found in the crotch of a tree that had partially grown around it."

John Pettus, told him they already had their full complement, so he attached himself to the company of Capt. John M. Fisher. When Col. Benjamin Milam called for volunteers to storm the town, Charles Amsler was among those who stepped forward.

During the conflict, Captain York recognized him and invited him to transfer to his company, which Charles did with the consent of Captain Fisher. Proof of all this is evidenced by the following document, found in the State Archives of Texas:

"I hereby certify that Charles Amsler of my company entered the Federal Army of Texas on the 28 day of November 1835 and is one of the number who entered Bexar on the morning of the 5th of December he has in all respects discharged his duty with honor to Texas he has ten days to return home December 13th 1835 By order WmT. Austin AidedeCamp .l1!L $10 john York Capt of Brazos Guard Edward Burleson Conn in Chief Grant and Col. Francis W. Johnson organized the ill-fated Matamoros Expedition. This left San Antonio early in January 1836 with Charles C. Amsler an eager volunteer. But because of severe illness (he suffered from asthma and chronic dysentery all his life), he was left behind the march a few miles west of Mission Refugio, and thus escaped the fate that befell most of the men who had started out. His honorable discha rge reads: Encampment Mission Hefugio january 23rd 1836 This is to certify that Charles Amsler is compelled by Sickness to absent himself from my company - this is an honorable discharge after (1 weeks Service Thus K Pearson, Capt Ast Comp [Two or three signatures across left end one possibly J. Rbt Moore] 266 1(j(j

After the reduction of San Antonio de Bexar, Gen. Mart{n Perfecto de Cos having been driven out of the Alamo and withdrawn south of the Rio Grande, Dr. James Grant and Col. Francis W. Johnson organized the ill-fated Matamoros Expedition. This left San Antonio early in January 1836 with Charles C. Amsler an eager volunteer. But because of severe illness (he suffered
from asthma and chronic dysentery all his life), he was left behind the march a few
miles west of Mission Refugio, and thus escaped the fate that befell most of the men
who had started out. His honorable discharge reads:
Encampment Mission Hefugio
january 23rd 1836
This is to certify that Charles Amsler is compelled
by Sickness to absent himself from my
company - this is an honorable discharge after (1
weeks Service
Thus K Pearson, Capt
Ast Comp
[Two or three signatures across left end one
possibly J. Rbt Moore]

After Charles had remained a few weeks with the Mexican rancheros who befriended him, he felt well enough to start home, so he borrowed a horse and set out. A few miles beyond Goliad, a "sociable old gentleman" appeared at his campfire and at first pretended friendship but later startled him by drawing his pistol and arresting him for stealing the horse. After hearing the explanation

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Military Lands

the stranger admitted that he believed Charles - even gave him his last two dollars - but said he must obey his orders and take him back to Goliad. The name of the generous captor was "Deaf" (Erastus) Smith.

At the hearing before Col. James W. Fannin, it came to light that the people who lent the horse to Charles C. Amsler had "borrowed" it without the consent of the owner. Mr. Amsler was exonerated from the charge of theft, though, and started home again - this time afoot. After many harrowing incidents such as finding scalped bodies, nearly freezing, and mistaking a herd of mustangs for Indians racing toward him, Charles finally reached his home on Mill Creek. He discovered that most of the Anglo settlers had fled from fear of massacre by Mexican troops (a mass flight called "the Runaway Scrape" in Texas history), but some of the Germans had chosen to remain and take their chances. Frederic Ernst from Industry was camping in Mill Creek bottom, and Charles decided to stay with him, for Mary was enciente and could not travel afoot.

Soon Capt. John York and Lt. John F. Pettus returned from the Brazos and urged them to leave, saying they were in danger from Mexicans and Indians alike. Captain York offered to let Mary ride his horse as far as the Brazos River, so they readily agreed.

Before they left, Charles went with Captain York to help him look for his horses, but they found none. Charles thought he saw an Indian in the distance, and he was right: during the night, Indians fired into Mr. Ernst's house; they wounded a Mr. Joergens and captured his family; and they stole the horses of Pettus and William Frels. Delaying no safety across the Brazos, hauling what they could in Mr. Frels's ox cart. Thanks to the Texans' victory on April 21st, the Amslers were able to return home in time for the advent of their first son, Charles, on 12 Jly 1836.

Military Lands

As compensation for his military service, Charles Amsler on 13 Dec 1837 received Bounty Warrant #938 entitling him to 320 acres for service from 28 Nov 1835 to 23 Jan 1836. He assigned (sold for $200) this warrant to Walter Cooper (Bounty and Donation Thomas Lloyd Miller, 1967).

In addition, Charles Amsler received Donation Certificate # 1061 for 640 acres for participating in the Siege of Bexar (not the Battle of the Alamo) between the 5th and 10th of December 1835. He patented this section in Colorado County 25 Jan 1849, according to the book cited above.

On 13 Aug 1870 the Legislature of Texas approved a Pension Act to reward survivors of the Texas Revolution. To qualify for such benefits, Charles C. Amsler made an affidavit before the clerk of the District Court of Montgomery County, stating that

"... he was a soldier in the Army of the Texas Revolution from December 3, A.D. 1835 up to the 15th Dec 1835 and a member of company commanded by Captain John York and from 1st of January A.D. 1836 up to about March 1st A.D. 1836 and a member of company commanded by Capt. [Thomas K.] Pearson of New Orleans La, under command of Col. Frank Johnson. Affiant states that he participated in the capture of San Antonio de Bexar from the Mexican army under Gen. Cos in 1835, and he was with Fannin until a few days before his massacre [27 March 1836J when affiant was granted sick furlough and went home. Affinnt states that 1w believes himself entitled to pension. John F. McGuffin and A. J. Bell made depositions corroborating Charles Amsler's statements, and Pension Claim #570 was approved 21 June 1871, but payments (of $250 per annum) may not have started that soon, for his name is not found on the lists of pensioners whose applications had been approved up to 1 Dec 1871 (The Texas Almanac, 1857-1873, compiled by James M. Day, Waco: Texian Press, 1967; pp. 637-39, 662-64). Charles C. Amsler's grandson, John

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<<Sidebar Alamo memorial>>

Alamo Memorial

<<sidebar conclusion Alamo memorial>>


C. Amsler, wrote that he was receiving a pension when he died, 2 May 1874.

His widow, Mary, made affidavit of his death date and of her being the legal heir of the pension when she appeared before Charles Welhausen, notary public of Fayette County, on 26 Aug 1874. To reinforce her claim, it seems that Mary got a certificate from J. J. Groos, commissioner of the General Land Office, on 29 Aug 1874. This states that Charles Amsler served faithfully and honorably in the Army of the Republic of Texas for the term of three months, that he was honorably discharged, and that he received a bounty warrant for 320 acres of land.

Another interesting document was executed in Waller County on 14 Sep 1874, whereby Mary Amsler gave power of attorney to E. M. Pease "to draw the Pention of my deceased husband C. C. Amsler" for her.

Charles C. Amsler's Headright

But before Charles Conrad Amsler received his military bounty land, he had acquired two thirds of a league from Louis von Roeder. It is not known whether or not C. C. Amsler applied to the Mexican government for land when he first reached Austin County. Possibly he (as many did) just picked out a tract of land he liked, started clearing it, and built a cabin on it. Then along came Louis von Roeder who bought the land and agreed to sell part of it (embracing "the said Amsler's present improvement") to Charles, who lacked the cash to pay the necessary fees.

With the establishment of the Republic of Texas had come the welcome news that land would be made available to those who had fought to achieve its independence and to those who were patriotic residents on 2 Mch 1836. As head of a family in Texas on Independence Day, Charles was entitled to a first class headright consisting of a league (4,428 acres for stock raising) and a labor (177 acres of land suitable for farming).

It took some time to set up the machinery for making those land grants, however, so on 21 Oct 1837 Charles Amsler and Louis von Roeder made an agreement whereby Von Roeder would convey two thirds of a league of land to Amsler in exchange for the league that Amsler expected to get from the Republic of Texas. It is believed that the nominal sum of $5,000 was inserted in the deed because future expectations are not legal tender. (See Supplement "Land Records.")

The deed was signed 21 Oct 1837 in the Republic of Texas, County of Austin, "Town of Austin" (San Felipe de Austin was the unofficial capital of Austin's Colony until the COl1vention of 1836 met at Washingtonon- the-Brazos, and was the county seat until 1846). A typescript made in 1937 shows the name Amsler spelled Armsler, just one of the many variant spellings (Almsler, Amsley, Amsdler, Amster, Amschler, Amsel, Amseler, etc.) that may be found in old records written when each man spelled as he thought best!

It would be amazing if Charles C. Amsler had been able to amass $5,000 cash in such a short space of time - remember, he had only fifty cents in July 18341 It seems more likely that that was an arbitrary sum placed on his headright league of land which he was to surrender to Von Roeder. Land was selling for about 25? an acre, so two thirds of a league would cost about $738.

Both John C. Amsler (in "The Torch's Final Flare") and M. Hartmann (in the 1899 Supplement to the Bellville Wochenblatt) wrote that, lacking the cash to get his land located, surveyed and legally recorded, Charles Amsler gave one third of his headright to "a moneyed neighbor, Mr. von Roeder" for making the necessary arrangements. This fits: he gave a full league in return for two thirds of one. On 1 Mch 1838 Charles Amsler appeared before the Board of Land Commissioners for the County of Austin and proved that he was entitled, by virtue of having a family "in

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this country previous to the month of May 1835," to one league of land "for the use and benefit of Louis Roeder."

Then on 29 Dec 1838, Charles Amsler acknowledged to the Board that he had sold his claim for one labor of land to John R. Foster who had sold it to Daniel Tyler. The Board issued the certificate to said assignee (Minutes of the Board of Land Commissioners for Austin County, Claim #141, pp. 165-67, copied at General Land Office by Gifford White and printed in Stirpes, Vol. XV, 1975).

Charles C. Amsler erected a cabin near the present site of the town of Cat Spring, and, by dint of industry and good judgment, acquired many holdings of land and slaves to help improve it. Besides maintaining his farm, he built a cotton gin and a grist mill powered first by oxen and later by steam (The Cat Spring Story). He also established a stagecoach line to Cat Spring, where he was proprietor of the Amsler Inn. In its heyday this tavern and stage stand entertained such noble guests as Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, John von Meusebach, and Henri Castro, on their journeys from Harrisburg to New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, and Medina County. Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin are also said to have enjoyed Amsler hospitality; if the "Father of Texas" did so, it must have been soon after they returned from "the Runaway Scrape," for Austin died 27 Dec 1836.

Amsler Inn was a designated polling place for elections such as the one held on the question of the annexation of Texas by the United States. In time, the original cabin was expanded to a two-story house whose downstairs walls were decorated by a wandering artist from Europe named Josey. He was commissioned to paint Alpine scenes based on prints in the possession of the patriarch ("The Torch's Final Flare").

By 1843 Charles Conrad had accumulated enough money to go to a slave auction at New Orleans. Like his neighbors, he did

not feel that any moral issue was involved in owning slaves. It was an accepted fact that the use of slaves was essential to the economy of the South, so, for $1500, he purchased a man, woman, and girl to assist him in his several enterprises and to lighten the chores of housekeeping for his wife ("The Torch's Final Flare"). The 1850 Slave Schedule for Austin County, however, shows only one black female aged 60 and one aged 35 for "Charles C. Amsly," so the man was disposed of somehow.

As early as 1848, business was so brisk at his mill that Charles Conrad found it necessary to hire more help. In the Supplement "Letters" may be seen a letter he wrote in German to a Mr. Luden (?) on the subject of his stepson's coming to work at the Amsler mill.

In October 1850 the census enumerator of Austin County found Charles Amsler at the 254th dwelling visited. His age was accurately recorded as 42; his occupation as Farmer; his real estate valued at $4550, but alas! his birthplace was given as Germany. (The enumerator may not even have asked him, knowing that he spoke German and that most of his neighbors were from that country. Being an Anglo, the census taker, W. T. Bush, may not have appreciated the difference between Switzerland and Germany.) The family members were listed: Mary age 47, Charles 14, John 11, Samuel 8, Eliza 6, and * Louis 4 (having been christened Louis Philippe for the French king, in later life he was known to some as Philip, according to John C. Amsler and C. C. Welhausen. He signed his letters "L. P.").*

On 13 Dec 1853 Charles Amsler was appointed the first postmaster of Cat Spring, and three years later he was a charter member of the Cat Spring Agricultural Society, the first such organized in Texas. In the minutes of that society dated 23 May 1858 we read: "Mr. C. Amsler showed his model of a patent board fence." The society voted to hold the Fourth of July celebration on

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II. CHARLES CONRAD AMSLER DO Biography 00 TTips Abroad

Charles Amsler's place, the band to play "from noon until next morning, or as long as the gathering lasts" (Century of Agricultural Progress, 1856-1956, published by Cat Spring Agricultural Society). Charles Amsler's serving on the committee to arrange this festive celebration bears out the statement of his grandson (John C. Amsler) that the Amslers "had the social, good fellowship instinct highly developed."

Charles was also an enthusiastic Freemason, being a charter member of Lodge No. 223, A.F.&A.M., at Bellville (La Grange Journal, 19 Jan 1939). In 1859 he was Senior Steward, and on 20 Jan 1869 he was dimitted (withdrew in good standing). A card for C. C. Amsler in the Masonic Headquarters Library at Waco shows that he affiliated with Lodge No. 353 at Hempstead on 11 Jan 1873, but was dimitted on 28 Feb 1873.

On the 1860 census for Austin County we find Charles Amsler listed as 53, Mary 51 (a misreading of 57?), Charles 24, John 21, Samuel 18, Eliza 16, and Louis 15. No doubt the patriarch was leading an active, busy life, happy to have all his family at home, but soon the dark clouds of the Civil War rolled in. John Carl, Samuel, and Louis Philip all enlisted in the Confederate States Army (see their respective sketches for details), but the oldest son, Charles, was needed at home to help his father keep the farm, the gin and the mill running, for the benefit of the community and the Confederacy. Consequently he joined the state militia and did not have to leave home until later. Although some may have made sneering remarks about a "feather-bed brigade," Charles's operation of the grist mill for the commissary department was a patriotic duty and a valuable service.

The father, Charles C. Amsler, as well as his sons were among those who hauled cotton to Matamoros, Mexico, for export when the Federal ships were blockading Southern ports ("The Torch's Final Flare"). On the Fourth of July 1865, the last of the sons having returned safely from the war,

the Amsler family experienced a never-tobe- forgotten celebration. Samuel had survived the rugged Sibley Expedition and later battles at Galveston and in Louisiana; John and Louis Philip had endured battles and twenty-two months of imprisonnlent at dread Fort Delaware after the siege of Vicksburg had ended 4 Jly 1863; and Charles Jr. had escaped danger on the Texas coast, so the family was truly thankful. In fact, from then on, that homecoming rather than the nation's independence was the Charles C. Amsler family's main reason for observing the Fourth of July! In 1866 the patriarch and his oldest son Charles bought pine-timbered land near the present town of Magnolia in Montgomery County. The father hoped to improve his health by abandoning farming, ginning, and grist milling in favor of the sawmill business. He erected a sawmill and made fine lumber which at one time sold for $20 per thousand, direct from the saw; some was hauled as far west as Fayette County ("The Torch's Final Flare").

Trips Abroad

It has been written that Charles C. Amsler returned to Europe about four times "to aid the cause of the settlement of Texas." The Cat Spring Story states that he "made several trips to Switzerland, bringing back able-bodied families who worked for him to repay the cost of their passage." In July 1867, while Charles was in Schinznach, he received a letter (See Supplement "Letters," wherein are several business letters and papers which have been translated from French, German, and Alemannic by Walter Angst.) from two boys asking for employment and offering to work off their passage to America. Dr. Kuhn, former envoy to Galveston and a man of influence, had suggested that?the young men apply. One seems to have been the son of a restaurant owner. Many fine Texas pioneers came over in this way. John C. Amsler wrote that Charles

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Passport Application 00 Letter about Louis Constant

Conrad was accompanied abroad by his wife at one time and by his son John at another.

On 22 Mch 1860 Charles Conrad Amsler went before Notary Public Ernst Kleberg and applied for a passport for himself and his wife. Ferdinand Engelking testified that Amsler had been a resident citizen of the Republic of Texas at the time of annexation, as an endorsement to the application. (See Supplement "Miscellaneous Records.")

The personal description of Charles C. Amsler on this application is as follows:

Age - 51 Stature - 5 ft. 8 in. Forehead - common Eyes - brown Nose - straight Mouth - common Chin - round Hair - black sprinkled with gray Complexion - healthy Face - oval

It is interesting to compare this description with a quotation from a 1939 issue of the La Grange Journal:

On his twenty-first birthday Mr. Amsler is described as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes. Clean shavpn and with a pointed chin. It is stated that he had no deformity of any kind.

Unfortunately, there is no description of Mary on the passport application; she was just "and wife."

Apparently Mary suffered from seasickness and chose not to accompany her husband on some of his trips, for on 29 May 1867 Charles C. Amsler wrote to the family from New York: "I feel very sorry that your Mamma is not with me on such a pleasant trip, traveling by sea. I would make sure she would not get seasick. She has worked long enough and she ought to have some pleasure in her old age" (a paraphrase of the original, which may be seen in the Supplement "Letters").

While he was on this trip, Charles received a letter from a neighbor who knew he intended to go to Freiburg in Wurttemburg, north of Basel, Switzerland. The letter was translated by Elsie Trenckman as follows:

Catspring, July 6, 1867

Dear Mr. Amsler:

I hope that by the time you receive this letter you will have reached Freiburg safely.

The first purpose of this letter is: I am writing my brother for gold watches, which have in part already been ordered for me, and in order to make more profit on them, I am taking the liberty of making use of your kindness and beg you to bring these to me. Naturally they will have to be smuggled which I believe will be easy to do since they don't take up much space.

The second purpose is: Recently I was at the post office and saw the famous Mr. Constant. As you know I had to spend some time with him during which as you already know, he ran down your brother Marcus, but that was not enough - you had to get your share too which amounted to this: that the damn rascal Charles Amsler had gone to Switzerland in order to engage workmen who were not only to be trea ted like the slaves of former days but worse. In order to prevent this, he considers it his duty to make this speculation known in time and had fully made up his mind to inform the worthy government of the Canton Aargau so that these unfortunates might be warned at the brink of the abyss.

My opinion of the matter is this: that Constant is not worthy of the rope it would take to hang him. That fact is known in this whole section but since he is neither to he believed nor trusted, he might permit himself the cowardice of taking such steps. Of this fact, I wanted to notify you; otherWise, I have nothing to tell you.

Everything is going well here as I hope the same with you. Marcus Amsler's saw mill is now completed and they have been cutting for some weeks and they are very well satisfied with it. As far as I am concerned I have since the first of July a position with Rankin's Grocery store in Hempstead; was, however, detained a whole week because of terrific and constant rains so that I could not cross the river. Finally, I beg you again to

pg 31

II. CHARLES CONRAD AMSLER 00 Louis Constant DO Sawmilling

take care of my small business and thank you in advance for this. I am

Respectfully yours

Jacques Kaeser, Jr.

P.S. Greetings to Mr. and Mrs. [Samuel?] Amsler

Louis Constant was one of the early settlers of the Cat Spring-Millheim community but, unable to adjust to Texas ways, he returned to Germany. The letter writer was probably distantly related to Charles, whose mother's grandmother had been Verena Kaeser.

It is not known how Charles C. Amsler reacted to the first "purpose" of the above letter, but his grandson, John C. Amsler, wrote (in "The Torch's Final Flare") a vivid account of his response to the second.

Years later, after the Confederate [1] War, when the subject of this sketch had disposed of his business at Cat Spring and embarked in the Saw Mill business in Montgomery County, leaving the business to the Manager and Assistant (Charles Amsler Jr.), he set sail for Switzerland to procure labor for the Mill business. At that time a former neighbor, a rabid Abolitionist, advised the American Consul in Switzerland to keep an eye on him as he was a slave dealer. This letter came into Grandpa's hands, and when he returned and one day led him to New Ulm, he observed his detractor whittling on a store porch. He hung a white pine box around his neck. The Justice of the Peace who tried the culprit told the writer about the occurrence. This trouble-maker or say zealous abolitionist was also a great visionary. He had a plan to make Mill Creek, in Austin County, navigable. This creek, during the rainy season, was a vast body of water tributary to the Brazos which was then navigated to Port Sullivan [Milam Co.], opposite Hearne, I believe.

Among the letters from home that Charles Conrad Amsler received on that trip was one written 25 June 1867 by his son Charles Jr. at Clear Creek. (The Handbook of Texas lists a Clear Creek that rises in northern Montgomery County and flows south about seven miles into the West San Jacinto River. In "The Torch's Final Flare," John C. Amsler spoke of "grandfather's Saw Mill on Clear Creek tributary of Mill Creek, which debouches into Spring Creek.")

The son reported that the lumber trade had been very dull because of "more rain

here than ever I saw fall in two seasons, nobody could haul." Ten days of dry and hot weather had dried the roads, but lumber prices had declined at Houston and Bastrop mills to 3112. He had shipped 13,000 feet to Fayetteville without much profit. The new mill house cost $63 plus six days' work stoppage. Many hands had been very sick, creditors were pressing, and he had trouble getting a loan. He was afraid Uncle Marcus's mill would fail by fall. He had to take out the new saw as "she is too soft." He sent his "Best respects to Uncle Samuel" and signed himself "Your Eever true Chas. Amsler jr."

His Uncle Samuel Amsler was only 15 years older than Charles Jr. and had married just 18 months before the nephew, so no doubt they had a warm relationship. Since that Samuel was then in Europe, perhaps he is the one to whom Jacques Kaesar sent his greetings in the preceding letter.

Scarcely less gloomy than the June one was this letter:

Clear Creek Oct 12th 1867

Dear Father

In the letter writen from Bremen you request us to write to Galveston. I can not write much of interest we have all been tolerable healthy this far. Julia has been sick & is very weak yet. Ma has been trouble with sore legs. Business is very duff, we stoped the mill on the 3 of August because we had great expence, and no sale for Lumber we are seling some lumber now at reduced price, $12.50 per thousand we have been trying to get a shingle mill but have not yet received the whole of the machinery if we could have made shingles it would have paid some & could have sold a good many for they have been scarce. The cause of trade being dull is that cotton has failed nearly universally caused by the worm; not more than 1/4 of a crop made aliso the Corn crop is light here. This short note will give you the most important information.

Frome your true son

Chas. Amsler jr.

As early as July, Charles Conrad had made inquiries about accommodations for his return trip home. He was advised (See letter from Ch. Frauer & Sohn dated 26 Jly 1867 in Supplement "Letters".) to book

Trips A broad 0 0 Business

page 32

[photo] "Amsler monument in Hempstead Cemetery memorializes Charles Conrad, Mary (Lowenberger), and their sons Charles Jr. and John Carl Amsler."

reservations in September, but from his son's letter above we see that he did not; perhaps he chose the arrangements suggested by Karl Fischer (letters dated the second and eighth of August). On this 1867 trip, Charles C. apparently bought some Rhine wine and 36 bottles of "yeast brandy" from two firms to take back to Texas.

It is interesting to note tha t on one envelope Charles is addressed "Herrn Amsler von Texas" and on another "Herrn C. C. Amsler von Schinznach" - he was of Texas and formerly of Schinznach. An envelope from the U.S. is addressed to "C. C. Amsler Esqr., care of District Judge Herrman in Dorf [village of] Schinznach." The judge was probably a relative, as Barbara (Schaffner) Amsler's mother was Elisabeth Hermann.

On another trip abroad, in May 1870, Charles was accompanied by Mary. His letter to the children told of their journey from Galveston to New Orleans, New Orleans to Cincinnati (13 days), and thence to New York City. He noted: "Ma is this far in a very goat humour laikes the trip this far very

Much." He was planning to see Dr. Theman and to get a band (?) for Sam, while "Ma wants to send a monthly paper to Eliza from hir." They would leave at 12 o'clock that day for Liverpool and would write next from there or Strasbourg, France.

While they were in Schinznach, Charles received a form letter from a bank in AaraII about a credit to his account (sec "Letters").

The last of the documents that have been translated is a passenger list (See Supplement "Miscellaneous Records"). Karl and Marie Amsler head the list of thirteen "emigrants sent by Mr. R[udolf] Werdenberg via the Railroad of the East to be sent from the station of Basel, on October 17, 1870." At Bremen, Germany, the party was to embark for New Orleans. An amusing notation (indicative of Swiss thrift?) reads: "Although Mr. Amsler has 1 [first class?] cabin, he occupies only 3rd class on the railroad and gets food as the passengers in between decks."

Perhaps it was the financial slump in the South after the Civil War, or perhaps it was the state of his health that made Charles Conrad decide to retire from business four

Mary (Lowenberger) Amsler DO Reminiscences end

page 33

years after his sawmill started operating in July 1866. He had been one of the early lumber manufacturers of southern Texas; he had trained his sons well and gradually turned his business interests over to them.

About the time that Waller County was created out of Austin and Grimes (1873), the patriarch moved to its county seat, Hempstead, and bought blocks 91 and 116. On block 116 he built a planing mill, lumber yard, and residence for his son Louis Philippe. On the other block he built his own home which was completed in 1874, about halfway between his first residence in Texas at Cat Spring and his second at or near his sawmill in Montgomery County. There he died on the 4th of May 1874, and was buried at Hempstead.

Mary (Lowenberger) Amsler

The girl whom Charles Conrad Amsler had married in Switzerland on 19 Nov 1832 was Anna Maria Leuenberger, anglicized to Mary Lowenberger. She was born 3 Aug 1803 at Koelichen or Kolliken in the Canton of Aargau, and died 20 Feb 1896 in Waller County, Texas. Her grave in the cemetery at Hempstead is marked by a tall, finely carved stone shaft which is also a monument to her husband and two of her sons.

On 25 Dec 1891, Mrs. Mary Amsler dictated a "Family Record" in which her birthplace was spelled Klilike. There are several inaccuracies in the record, as can be seen in the Supplement "Recollections." Mary stated that her father, Jacob Lowenberger, died in Switzerland aged about 77 years, and her mother, Elizabeth, lived 62 years. They raised four children.

The following clipping has been preserved from an unidentified newspaper:

Mrs. Mary Amsler. Hempstead, Tex., Feb. 20 [1896). - Mrs. Mary Amsler, aged 93 years, died here this morning. The deceased lady with her husband, the late C. C. Amsler, sr., came to Texas from Switzerland in 1834 and knew all the early prominent citizens of the state and often rehearsed the stir-

ring times of the early days of Texas, when the settlers combated with Indians and Mexicans. The lady had always up to a few days ago enjoyed remarkably good health, and four generations of her family lived under the same roof.

The four generations alluded to would probably be Mary (Lowenberger) Amsler; Julia (Meyer) Amsler, the widow of Charles Jr.; John Charles, her son; and Carl Lindemann, his son.

On 19 Jan 1939 the La Grange Journal printed a three-column article entitled "A Hero of the Texas Revolution." The story, subtitled "Carl Conrad Amsler," was written by Houston Wade based on information mainly furnished by John C. Amsler of Hempstead, and has been quoted herein in reference to Charles Conrad. Below are her grandson's sentimental "Reminiscences of Mrs. Carl Conrad Amsler" (evidently written during her lifetime) as they appear in the article:

Mrs. Mary Amsler ... relates that her father, the miller of the village, was most powerful, and much in demand in his youth to accompany his companions to neighboring villages merry-making, as being able to see fair play in case of trouble between the natives and visitors, and having generally come off victor, including one occasion on which it cost him the covering of his nether limbs and made it necessary to borrow an apron from a compassionate dame in order to make his way home after the melee.

Her brother, helper in the mill, dying, she took his place for a year and wielded the wheat sacks instead of the needle, and preferred greatly the making of meal and flour to the baking of bread. Yet, it was her lot to fall a victim to the tender passion and she gave her heart into the keeping of Carl Conrad Amsler, a native of the village of Schnitsnacht [Schinznach), Aargau Canton, Switzerland. Mr. Amsler was born November 28, 1808, and her junior by five years, but the writer has often heard her express thanks that although older than her husband, she was always able to be a helpmate to him throughout his life, and was often able to take the lead.

Referring to her youthful days with pardonable pride she related that the one whose eyes to her shone ever the brightest, whose form seemed to her ther1-young eyes (alas! now so dim) the most erect and manly, paid his respects on one certain occasion while she was busy with the sythe har

pg 34

Their Children

vesting the luxurious lucerne [a type of alfalfa]. Supplying him with a sythe, she challenged him to a contest in order both to try his endurance and shorten her task, with the result that he ignominiously retired to the grateful shade of an apple tree, leaving her mistress of the field. As he was no laggard and was as young in vigor as any mountain youth, he might give other reasons than exhaustion for giving up the contest were he allowed to speak but alas! those lips to her the sweetest have long been sealed in death.

Mrs. Carl Amsler left a home of comparative plenty, preferring this course to accepting the munificent sum of one hundred gulden tendered by her father if she would break her engagement with the young man of her choice, and doubtlessly she was not the first nor the last woman to take such a foolhardy course.

So these, my Pilgrim father and mother, set sail from Havre, France with thirty-two other emigrants, landing at New Orleans, Louisiana, after a long voyage.

After chronicling the wanderings and hardships the young couple went through (including Mary's picking cotton beside her husband to earn their subsistence, and his military service and illness far from home) the narrative continues:

In the meantime, grandmother being left alone, surrounded by marauding Indians, continued to occupy her lone habitation. She each night carefully extinguished every ember on the hearth that might be visible through the many chinks of her rude hut and retired with an ax beneath her head, and many a time when relating this have the muscles of her arms been seen to leap, her mouth to set hard, her nostrils to dilate and fire to blaze in her kindly eyes like the emlwrs of some smouldering camp fire when stirredd by a belated traveler. On such occasions, she would dedare, and none would doubt her, that a broken skull would have been the portion of an intruder.

About this time she made the discovery that she would in course of time beconw a mother and embraced a happy opportunity to send the letter that recalled grandfather from what would have been his fatal Matamoros campaign. To them was born a son on July 12, 1836 and they called his name Charles Amsler for his father. When the baby was three months old they moved into a hut on their own headright of land at Cat Spring where for fifteen or twenty years they kept a stage stand tavern (on the old San Felipe Trail) and likely every individual has paid his score here that had occasion to travel any in Texas at that time.

...Three more sons and one daughter were born to them and prosperity rewa rdecl their labors. Like their neighbors, they invested their snug income in Negroes in order to have help to make more. In general they claimed lo be no better than their neighbors, hence 'ould see no wrong in doing as the majority did. It appears, however, that others who came later or had less success, and consequently had not acquired slaves, professed to see a great sin in the institution of slavery....

When the War of 1861 broke out our grandparents sent four boys to do battle for the land of their adoption, and received them all again from the bloody war unscathed.

One can well imagine the agony with which Mrs. Mary Amsler saw four sons march away to war, especially since Philip was only 16 when he left. But her worry about the safety of her sons eventually turned to pride in their bravery and loyalty to their native state. (Many Texans of Swiss and German heritage did not feel called to join the Confederacy.)

Samuel left home first, entering the military service of the Confederacy in the summer of 1861 and marching with Sibley's Brigade to New Mexico. After the battles of Valverde and Glorieta, and after the suffering and deprivations of the return march to San Antonio, these soldiers were given a short furlough at home. Then Sam reported as directed to Tom Green's Brigade of cavalry and participated in the recapture of Galveston and the Louisiana campaign. After fights at Franklin, Mansfield, Yellow Bayou, etc. the regiment was informally disbanded on 20 May 1865.

Charles Jr. did not have to leave his young bride and go into the militia camp near Houston until 1863. He had "kept the home fires burning" by operating a grist mill and aiding the Confederate commissary until that time, and was never subjected to hazardous service.

John and Louis Philippe (referred to in family letters as Philip but signed himself L. P.) seem to have been in the same unitan infantry company in Waul's Legion, or-

page 35

Civil War

[group photo] link image on web site here...

Some Descendants of Charles Conrad and Mary Amslerr in Novelnber 1907

Front Row: 1. Mrs. Charles Amsler Jr., 2. Mrs. Louis Philip Amsle7', 3. !v1rs. Eliza (A.) Welhausen, 4. Samuel Amsle7", 5. Mrs. Samuel Amslerr Second Row: 6. Mrs. Mamie (W.) Guittard, 7. Lena Amsler; 8. Cleve Amsler, 9. Ann Culpepper Back Row: 10. Dr. Frank Guittard, 11. Sam H. Amsler, 12. baby Sam H. Amsler Jr., 13. Mrs. Sam H. Amsle7' KEY: 1, 2, & 5 married Amsler brothers; 3 & 4 were siblings of the same group; 6 = daughters of 3; 7, 8 & 11 = children of 4 & 5; 9 = sister of 5; 10 = husband of 6; 12 & 13 = son & wife of 11 .

(contd from previous page)..ganized at Brenham in the summer of 1862. They were marched through Louisiana into Mississippi and were captured a few days after Vicksburg fell on 4 Jly 1863. Ultimately they were taken to Fort Delaware (called "the worst of the Northern prisons" by one author) on an island near Delaware City, and not released until 9 June 1865 (pension application papers of Mrs. Sophia Amsler, Texas State Archives).

It has been written that all the Amsler brothers were at home by July 4th, 1865. In order to get horne in less than a lllonth, the Amslers must have availed themselves of a service offered by the Federal government. By applying to the nearest Provost Marshal, released prisoners could get a free pass on

the railroad to the railhead nearest their home. In the case of Texans, that point may have been New Orleans, frolll which city they would proceed by boat. It is possible that John and Philip landed at Matamoros and went over to Pa 1m ito Hanch (east of Brownsville) to view the site of thc last land engagement of the Civil War. Philip's grandson (Phil Amsler of Austin) in 1976 had a vague recollection of hearing that they participated in that skirmish, but since it occurred 11 May 1865 and they were not released until June 9th, that tradition seems to be inaccurate.

In "The Torch's Final Flare," Mary L. Amsler's grandson wrote that two of the boys returned on the 4th of July 1864, but

pg 36

Mary L. A.msler's Fourth of July Celebration 00 Charles Amsler Jr.

the record shows that they suffered 22 months' imprisonment after the 4th of July 1863. To quote from John C. Amsler's account:

On this occasion Grandmother, who was by no means a habitual toper, got gloriously lit up by way of celebrating the return of the boys, and that is why she always celebrated the 4th. of July ever after for two reasons.

Charles Conrad and Mary (Lowenberger) Amsler had five children, all born near or at

10th Generation CHARLES AMSLER, JR. 1.

1. Charles Amsler Jr., first son of Charles Conrad and Mary (Lowenberger) Amsler, was born 12 Jly 1836 in Austin County, Texas. He died 26 Mch 1891 at Hempstead, Waller County, Texas. On 11 Jly 1861 he married Julia Martha MEYER.

It was soon after his parents returned from "the Runaway Scrape" that Charles Jr. was born, probably in the hut which Charles Fordtran had made available to the young immigrants from Switzerland. When the baby was three months old, they moved into a cabin "on their own headright of land at

Cat Spring, Austin County, Texas. For details, see their respective names under the Tenth Generation.

1. Charles (b. 12 Jly 1836), 2. John Carl (b. 11 Feb 1839), 3. Samuel (b. 7 Oct 1841),4. Eliza (b. 5 Oct 1843; m. Charles WELHAUSEN), and 5. Louis Philip/Philippe (b. 25 Jly 1845).

(These dates are from the "Family Record" dictated by Mary L. Amsler on Christmas Day 1891).

[quotations terminated with text below image of Mary (lowenberger) Amsler on pg 37

Page 38 subtitle Civil War and pg 39 Post-war life .


Louis Philip Amsler: Philip, who was the youngest child of C. C. Amsler and Mary Amsler, was named Louis Philip for the French King reigning about the time of his birth. Philip without doubt was the genius of the family, although extremely unfortunate in the course of his life. When 16 he volunteered with his second oldest brother, John, and with him was captured at the fall of Vicksburg, and spent the balance of war time in Ft. Delaware. Here he made many trinkets and other articles of jewelry, selling them for some spending money. When he and his brother John were discharged, they reached home at Cat Spring on July 4, 1865. Grandmother celebrated their return with a great spree, very unusual with her. In 1867, he married Miss Sophia Flato of Flatonia, and took up his abode at the Saw Mill in Montgomery Co. for about 2 years, then he moved to Hempstead where his father established a planing mill and lumber yard for him. The planing mill failed to be a success and the building was fitted up and opened as the St. Charles Hotel; at this time the writer was about 9 years old. Waller County had just been organized, Mrs. Mary Smith, nee Werner had just arrived from Kentucky as the bride of C. F. Smith, and made her home with Aunt Sophia and Uncle Philip. Neither the lumber yard nor the hotel kept Uncle Philip interested long. Among other things he started a broom factory. About the year 1874, grandfather died in his home in Hempstead, recompleted. Grandfather had bought an Iron Safe in Galveston, and when the lumber and hotel business failed to make speed, he sent the safe to Montgomery Co. to the Saw Mill where the writer saw its arrival and use for many years, and now has the safe. Uncle Philip now moved from Hempstead to Flatonia, where he operated beer brewing for a while. Later he discovered bed of Kaolin and attempted to manufacture pottery. Later he discovered mineral water on this land and established a health resort. He generally worked as a carpenter when his enterprises went bad.

About 1880 he went to McGregor, Texas and worked for his brother Sam Amsler for a number of years. About this time father was making arrangements to move to Hempstead and Uncle Philip bought the Montgomery Co. 200acre Homestead and decided to go into the apiary business. However it was not satisfactory and he had the misfortune to suffer a compound fracture of his thigh bone which shortened his limb and made him a cripple for life. At this time he had one daughter and two sons, Lilly, Charles and Tell. He left the homestead before father moved to Hempstead, and moved to Plantersville and worked at the carpenter trade and sent his children to school. From Plantersville he moved to Shiner where another daughter Sophie was born. His health failed and he died in January, 1891, having, during all these years, had the most patient and loving wife I have ever known, who survived him many years.

His brother, John, never married and died in 1878. His sister, Aunt Eliza, the only
daughter, who legend said rode mustangs that her brothers feared to ride, married Chas.
Welhausen about 1867, who was a successful business man all his life. There were three
sons, Charley B., Philip and Peck, one daughter Marion. Charles and Peck are still successful
business men at Shiner. Philip grew very wealthy handling real estate. He established the
tannery at Yoakum which has since grown to be one of the major industries of Texas, now
operated under the management of a son, Charles, of Chas. B. Welhausen, who was able to
save his brother Philip's business from total wreck, although his health failed and he crossed
the great divide early in life leaving several children. Daughter Mamie married Dr. Gentard,
[Guittard] long connected with Baylor University; she died leaving an only son.

Break at

Amanda (Howze) Amsler



AOAC PG 92-96

11 th Generation
"At Age 17" [Taken by Pannewitz in
Shiner at a Total Cost of $24 for 8

William Tell Amsler and decendants: 5. William Tell, second son of Louis Philip and Sophia (Flato) Amsler, was born 1 Jly 1880 and died 31 Mch 1952 in Lavaca County, Texas. He was buried in the Flatonia Cemetery. Tell married Cora Elizabeth WEST (b. 25 Apr 1882; d. 1 May 1952 in Lavaca County).

[stories of William tell including the indians with cupped hands gift of transella..

Their son Phil says that William Tell Amsler was a cattle man and worked in the Oklahoma Territory as a youth for Charles Flato who at that time had thousands of head of cattle on open range. Later Charles Flato was head cattle buyer for the King Ranch.

Tell Amsler For many years managed the big Ray-O'Connor Ranch and the Fitzpatrick ranches in South Texas.

Tell's wife Cora EI izabeth was a niece of George West who owned a large ranch in South Texas and for whom the town George West was named. Cora's parents were David Marion and Katie (Fairchild) West.

William Tell and Cora Elizabeth (West). Amsler had five children: 1. Louis Philip II, 2. David West, 3. Lillian E., 4. William Tell Jr., and 5. Charles Conrad. 92 "Cora ELizabeth West at Age 16" Louis Philip Amsler II reveals this amusing bit: "It seems that all the kids in my family were nicknamed after some kind of food. West was hash, Lillian was tea, Charles was chili, William was corn willie, and I [Philip] was lippy."

12th Generation



Phil and Lorena in 1945

1. Louis Philip II, first son of William Tell and Cora Elizabeth (West) Amsler, was born in 1901. He married Lorena Derinda

pg 92

[family photo]

Louis Philip Amsler III Some Louis Philip Amsler Descendants in 1939. L to R Standing: 1. Philip Amsler, 2. Leon Kurc, 3. Lillian (A.) Kurc, 4. Dana (Hawkins) AmsleT, S. Cora (West) Amsler, 6. Louis Philip III, 7. Sammy Gene, 8. Lula, 9. William Tell Jr.; Seated: 10. David West, 11. Henry William, 12. Mmjorie Kurc, 13. Charles Conrad

KEY: 2 = husband of 3; 4 = wife of 10; S = mother of 1, 3, 9, 10, 13; 6 & 11 = sons of 1; 7 = son of 10; 8 = wife of 13; 12 = daughter of 2 & 3.

TYREE (b. 1907; d. 12 May 1973, Travis County, Texas).

Phil was an agent telegrapher during his active business life, starting in 1918 at Galveston for the Santa Fe Hailroad. He worked quite a long time for the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Ra il road until it was taken over by the Southern Pacific, by which line he was employed during the majority of his career. As a sideline Phil opera ted an archery range and supply store (first in Brownsville, then at Llano); since his retirement from telegraphy he and his son Louis have developed that sideline into a pros" perous business in Austin.

Louis Philip II and Lorena Derinda (Tyree) Amsler were the parents of two sons: 1. Louis Philip III, and 2. Henry William. 93

13th-15th Generations


1. Louis Philip III, first son of Louis Philip II and Lorena Derinda (Tyree) Amsler, was born 30 Jly 1925 in Galveston, Texas. He married Kathryn Ann LAMBERTH (b. 1930).

Louis is a 1952 graduate of Texas A&M College and served in the Navy during World War II. For some years he was county agent, located first at Bryan and then at Llano, where he decided to change to a commercial career when his fatl1Pr's part-time archery enterprise proved so successful. Louis is now operating an archery range and supply store with his father in Austin.

Louis Philip III and Kathryn Ann

pg 93

Henry William Amsler DO David West Amsler

(continued).. Louis at Horne on Leave, World War II (Lamberth) Amsler are the parents of two sons:

a. Thomas Philip (b. 1951), who married Marilyn THOMPSON and lives in El Campo, Texas. Thomas Philip and Marilyn have the distinction of being the parents of an Eighth Generation Texas Resident (counting the matriarch, Barbara), a Sixth Generation Born Texan, and a Fifteenth (known) Generation Amsler:

i. Eric Thomas, born 27 June 1975. b. Ronnie Lee, the second son of Louis Philip and Kathryn Ann (Lamberth) Amsler, was born in 1955.


Eric Thomas Amsler, Eighth Generation Texan, & Great-grandfather Phil Amsler 94

13th & 14th Generations



Henry William Amsler in Front of a Navy Security Office in World War II

2. Henry William, second son of Louis Philip II and Lorena Derinda (Tyree) Amsler, was born 2 Aug 1927 in DeWitt County, Texas, and died 15 Nov 1964 in Harris County. He married Nona Marlene REED (b. 1931), who resides in Houston.

Henry attended Texas A&M and the University of Houston. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy. Henry held a position as chemist for Texaco at the huge laboratory in Bellaire near Houston until his tragically early death.

Henry William and Nona Marlene (Reed) Amsler had only one child, Debra Marlene, born in 1962.

12th & 13th Generations


2. David West, second son of William Tell and Cora Elizabeth (West) Amsler, was born 4 May 1904 in Lavaca County, Texas. He married Dana HAWKINS (b. 1906).

pg 94


Lillian Ema & William Tell Amsler Jr. 00 Kurc 00 Bates 00 Andes 00 Riley 00 Ganem

David West was a telegraph operator, first for the Santa Fe Railroad at Temple for some years, then he became a dispatcher for Mobil Oil Company at Luling and then Midland, Texas. H is now retired and living at Kerrville in the Hill Country of Texas.

[David West died in 1983 at 78 and Dana Died in 2001 at 93]

David West and Dana (Hawkins) Amsler had only one son, Sammy Gene (b. 1930) who married Larie FISHER (b. 1937). They have no children.

12th Generation



Lillian Erna (Amsler) Kurc and Her Brothers (counterclockwise): William Tell Jr., David West, and Louis Philip Amsler, in 1976

3. Lillian E., only daughter of William Tell and Cora Elizabeth (West) Amsler, was born in 1909 and married Leon KURC, who was born in 1912.

The Kurcs live in Yoakum, Texas, only about thirty miles from Flatonia, site of the annual family reunion which Lillian has attended every year since she was six years old. On the third Sunday of April (Decoration Day in Flatonia) there is a meeting of Amslers, Flatos, Welhausens and descendants at the cemetery. Afterwards they enjoy a picnic lunch or eat together in a cafe near by, the crowd ranging from 150 to 30 or 40.

See Supplement "Miscellaneous" for pictures of the most recent such gathering.

Leon and Lillian E. (Amsler) Kurc are the parents of three daughters:

1. Marjorie, 2. Donne Lynn, and 3. JeanninE. 13th & 14th Generations MARJORIE(KURC) BATES I. Marjorie, first daughter of Leon and Lillian E'. (Amsler) Kurc, was born in 1932 and married David BATES. They reside in Victoria and have three daughters: a. Melinda (29 Jly 1952), b. Marcie (7 Oct 1953), and c. Mona Gail (l Aug 1957). Jeff, son of David Bates by a previous marriage, was born 4 Nov 1957.

13th & 14th Generations


2. Donne Lynn, second daughter of Leon and Lillian E. (Amsler) Kurc, was born in 1946 and married Mike ANDES. They are the parents of four children: a. Shelly, born in 1963; b. Cindy, born in 1968; c. Wendy (twin), born in 1968; and d. Amy, born in 1972.

13th & 14th Generations JEANNINE (KUHC) HILEY 3. Jeannine, third daughter of Leon and Lillian E. (Amsler) Kurc, was born in 1948 and married, first, John RILEY. They had two children:

a. Lisa Gay, born in 1968, and b. John William, born in 1972. Jeannine married, second, Frank GANEM.

12th & 13th Generations


4. William Tell Jr., third son of William Tell and Cora Elizabeth (West) Amsler, was born 29 Nov 1914 in McMullen County,

Pg 95

Charles Conrad Amsler 00 Sophia Amsler

Contd..Texas. He married Bobby MEYER.

Bill spent the early part of his adult life in oil fields in the area around Corpus Christi. He now enjoys operating a store at Port Lavaca, Calhoun County, Texas.

William Tell and Bobby (Meyer) Amsler have the following children:

a. Sherry Ann (b. 1938), b. Robert Heed (b. 1941), and c. Tella Virginia (b. 1951).

12th & 13th Generations


5. Charles Conrad, fourth son of William Tell and Cora Elizabeth (West) Amsler, was born 16 Jan 1917 at Kingsville, Kleberg County, Texas, and died 14 Sep 1968 in Nueces County. He married Lula KALLICH (b. 1917).

Charlie was head of the instrument division of Christi until his untimely death at the age of 5O.

Charles Conrad and Lula (Kallich) Amsler were the parents of three children:

a. Connie Marie (b. 1937), b. Charles Conrad (b. 1957), and c. Monica (b. 1961). 96

[image]Antique Glass Stein Now Owned by Descendants of Louis Philip Amsler.

11 th Generation

6. Sophia, the fourth daughter of Louis Philip and Sophia (Flato) Amsler if the Alma
who died in infancy was older, was born 18 Jan 1886 and died 15 Nov 1917 at Shiner,
Lavaca County, Texas.

Sophia's first cousin, Lena May Amsler of McGregor, has written that Sophia never
married but taught school for some years. She died of tuberculosis in early womanhood
and was buried in-Shiner.

pg 96


[next section is III.Maria Amsler]

[note: Amslers of Austin's Colony was scanned and converted to on pdf file. In the process of character recognition omissions and misintrepration of characters are recognized. Some of these instances are corrected in this transcript. When copying from this pdf file to this web page, many discrepances were noted. We had opportunity earlier to correct by reading every word in the pdf file, but time would not permit. So if you notices such instances in the pdf file on CD, Corrections are not feasible at this point in time. The above exercise is attempt at consolidating related informaton in generations before my grandfather, William Tell Amsler (Papa) and Papa's and mama's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren..?(Sammy Amsler)


The Cat Spring Story - Cat Spring Agricultural Society in it's Roll Call describes each founding family identifying several Amslers as charter members: (Chas Amsler, M. Amsler, Friz Amsler were listed on page 4) Page 14 listed C. Amsler, C Amsler, Jr. M. Amsler, and F. Amsler in dividing the membership into sections for "distribution of seed."

One extract image of page 25 is illustration of content reflecting Ch. Amsler Jr participation:

April 25, 1858

Ch Amsler

April 1, 1860

The above page was the last recording of any Amsler family member as far as we could determine in scanning the book, It is interesting to note that during the civil war from April 14, 1861 to April 18, 1865 the book documented six meetings. The General Assembly, July 6, 1862.. Evidently, due to the Confederate War, which was in progress at that time, the Agricultural Society decided to suspend its meetings. Many of the members of the Cat Spring Society were called into service by the Confederate Army and others joined home defense units against bandits." and the minutes finished with statement, "Resumption of activities after the civil war," the next meeting was held July 23, 1865 and only few members were present at this meeting.


The following is extracted from The Cat Spring Story.




Complete listing of Carl Conrad Amsler children:

"Cat Spring, Austin County, Texas. For details,
see their respective names under the
Tenth Generation:
1. Charles (b. 12 Jly 1836),
2. John Carl (b. 11 Feb 1839),
3. Samuel (b. 7 Oct 1841),
4. Eliza (b.5 Oct 1843; m. Charles WELHAUSEN), and
5. Louis Philip/Philippe (b. 25 Jly 1845).
(These dates are from the "Family
Record" dictated by Mary L. Amsler on
Christmas Day 1891)." Citation from Amslers of Austin's Colony



The Roll Call

Return to Charles Amsler page

Continue on Amsler family page


Revised 12/16/2011 12/31/2011