Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Contents note

Arrangement note

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Sources

Description of Series

Colonization Contracts and Court Documents, 1842-1856

Transfer Agreements, 1846-1849

Certificate Reports and Indexes, 1848-1855, undated


Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records

A Guide to the Fisher-Miller Colony Records, 1842-1856



Overview

Creator: Adelsverein. (German Emigration Company).
Title: Fisher-Miller Colony Records
Inclusive Dates: 1842-1856
Abstract: Henry Fisher and Burchard Miller received a colonization contract to introduce colonists from Germany to Texas 1842-1855. The Fisher-Miller Colony Records contain original documents and original (handwritten) copies of documents associated with the creation and distribution of German emigrant land contracts from Henry Fisher and Burchard Miller to the Society to Protect German Immigrants in Texas (Later incorporated as the German Emigration and Railroad Company).
Identification: AR.47
Quantity: 8.15 Linear feet, (15 document boxes, 1 oversized box)
Location: File Vault
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records

Historical Note

Henry Fisher, Burchard Miller, and Joseph Baker* received a colonization grant on June 7, 1842 that gave them three years to bring in 600 families from Germany. Because they got a late start, they took the added measure of obtaining the same contract in September 1, 1843 thus buying them an extra year to fulfill the contract. In 1844, Fisher and Miller secured a third contract with the option to bring up 6000 families.

Fisher was able to bring 96 immigrants to Texas himself before selling part of his (and Miller’s) interest in the colonization contract to the Adelsverein ("Nobles Society") aka the German Emigration and Railroad Company aka the German Emigration Company. The German Emigration Company was incorporated in Germany and founded by 40 wealthy noblemen with the philanthropic goal of fostering responsible emigration from Germany to Texas. Their intent was to create a German colony in Texas that would continue German values and traditions in foreign lands. Henry Fisher became their representative in Texas.

The Fisher-Miller Grant was far from the coast and (at the time) deep into Comanche territory. These and other unforeseen circumstances caused delays and led Henry Fisher to continually secure extensions through the Texas Legislature. He secured many extensions directing the Commissioner of the GLO to continue the issuance of certificates to colonists until 1855. From approximately 1846-1850, the colonists were required to sign contracts transferring half of the acreage they were entitled to over to the German Emigration Company to pay for roads, plows, livestock, etc. These contracts were deposited with the General Land Office though they were rendered invalid by an 1848 law. The colonists received the full amount of land that they were entitled to by the State land laws that governed 3rd class headright certificates (640 acres for a family, 320 acres for a single man).

In 1847, the commissioner-general for the German Emigration Company, John O. Meusebach secured a treaty with the Comanche. While this opened up the land grant area to colonization, many of the immigrants had already settled in the areas in and around New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, both outside of the Fisher-Miller land grant.

Over the next 6 years, 1849-1855, 3488 certificates for land were issued to colonists. But because many had settled outside the land grant area, the vast majority sold their certificates to other parties.

By 1851 the German Emigration Company was being sued by its many creditors, including Fisher and Miller. In 1851, the owners of the German Emigration Company gave up all of their interests in the Company to their creditors. Fisher and Miller were compensated with 160 certificates for 640 acres and 100 certificates for 320 acres. The remaining creditors constituted in-name-only the German Emigration Company and received 20 certificates for 640 acres and 40 certificates for 320 acres.

*Baker's name appears on the application for the colonization contract, but does not appear on the contract itself, nor does it appear on subsequent contracts.

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Scope and Contents note

The Fisher-Miller Colony Records contain original documents and original (handwritten) copies of documents associated with the creation and distribution of German emigrant land contracts from Henry Fisher and Burchard Miller to the Adelsverein, aka the Society to Protect German Immigrants in Texas (Later incorporated as the German Emigration and Railroad Company).

The first set of documents includes original copies of the following:

- the first two colonization contracts, dated 1842 and 1843,

- court documents from a suit against the German Emigration Company by its creditors, which included Fisher and Miller,

- copies of the injunction against the GLO to prevent the issuance of certificates to colonists brought by the German Emigration Company's creditors.,

- reports listing land certificates issued to colonists.

The oversized set of documents contains lists of certificates given to colonists, a surname index of certificates given, a surname index of certificates given to heirs of deceased colonists, and a register of surveys made in the colony districts.

The bulk of the records are the Fisher-Miller Transfer Agreements. From approximately 1846-1850, the colonists were required to sign contracts transferring half of the acreage they were entitled to over to the German Emigration Company to pay for roads, plows, livestock, etc. They are indexed by surname of transferee. These contracts were deposited with the GLO but never honored or enforced by the Commissioner.

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Arrangement note

The Records are arranged into three series:
1. Colonization Contracts, Court Documents and Certificate Reports, 1842-1856.
2. Transfer Agreements, 1846-1849.
3. Certificate Reports and Indexes, 1848-1855, undated.

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Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access note

Unrestricted access.

Conditions Governing Use note

Materials may be under copyright protection. US copyright law does allow for reproduction of materials under copyright for uses such as critique, criticism, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form.

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Index Terms

Baker, Joseph, 1804-1846
Fisher, Henry Francis
Meusebach, John O., 1812-1897
Miller, Burchard
Emigration and immigration--Texas
German Immigration
Indexes
Land Certificates
Land Grants
Land Patents
Legal documents
Legislative Documents
Public Lands—Texas.
Republic and State Land Grant Programs
Texas General Land Office

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Related Material

Archiv des Vereins zum Schutz deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, 1840-1957 (WA MSS S-1291). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Friedrich Armand Strubberg Collection, 1835-1962 (WA MSS S-1316). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Solms-Braunfels Archives, 1842-1957. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, 1842-1858. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Wied Archives, 1839-1881. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Fisher-Miller Colony Records (AR.47). Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin.

Existence and Location of Copies note

The Transfer Contracts have been digitized. Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database Input: Class: Fisher.

The colonization contracts, court records and certificate reports have been microfilmed. Original reels are stored at TSLAC records center, and duplicate reels are available at TGLO.

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Sources

Loving, Solon Ollie. "History of the Fisher-Miller land grant from 1842-1860." Master's thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1934.

"An Act to secure to the Colonists of Fisher and Miller's Colony the lands to which they may be entitled." Acts 1848, 2nd R.S.,ch. 118, General Laws of Texas

"An Act to secure to the German Emigration Company and their Colonists the Lands to which they are entitled, and to adjust the liabilities of said company." Acts 1850, 3rd R.S.,ch. 52, General Laws of Texas

An act supplementary to an act to secure to the German Emigration Company and their Colonists, the lands to which they are entitled, and to adjust the Liabilities of said Company, approved January 21st, 1850." Acts 1850, 3rd R.S.,ch. 137, General Laws of Texas.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Colonization Contracts and Court Documents, 1842-1856

Box Folder
G055 1 Colonization Contract, June 7, 1842
2 Colonization Contract, September 1, 1843
3 Correspondence by Henry Fisher, 1844-1845
4-7 Court Documents, 1853-1856
8 Answers to Interrogatories, James Armstrong, undated
9 Immigration Contracts Translations, 1845-1846

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Transfer Agreements, 1846-1849

Box
G302-G315 Transfer Agreements, 1846-1849

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Certificate Reports and Indexes, 1848-1855, undated

Box Folder
OS 112 2-4 Reports of Certificates, 1848
5-6 Reports of Certificates, 1849
1 Complete list of Certificates, 1849
Box Folder
G055 10 Reports of Certificates, 1850
11 Reports of Certificates, 1851
12 Reports of Certificates, 1854-1855
Box Folder
OS 112 7 Register of Certificates for heirs of deceased, undated
8 Register of Surveys for Colony Districts, undated

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