A Guide to the Von Rosenberg Family Letters, 1849-1951
Born to Johanna Dorothea (Frölich) and Peter Carl Johann von Rosenberg on their East Prussian estate, Carl Wilhelm von Rosenberg (1821-1901) entered military service in 1841, studying surveying and architecture in Berlin. Due to his outspoken democratic views, Rosenberg resigned his post in 1849, determined to leave the country. Accompanied by his family and new wife Auguste Franziska (Anders), Rosenberg arrived at Galveston, Texas, in December 1849. The family settled on Nassau Farm in Fayette County, where Wilhelm farmed, learned English, and became an American citizen, adopting the Anglicized name of William. In 1856, Rosenberg was appointed draftsman of the General Land Office in Austin and rose to the post of chief draftsman in 1861. During the Civil War, he served as a topographical engineer in the Confederate Army. Rosenberg formed a partnership with land agency operator Clement R. Johns after leaving the General Land Office during Reconstruction. The firm collapsed in 1876, prompting Rosenberg to open his own, which he operated until his death. Rosenburg was also a founding member of St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Austin and authored the book Kritik (1894), the first critical account of German immigration to Texas.
Rosenberg had twelve children, including Ernst, chief draftsman in the General Land Office, and William Jr., Travis County judge. His daughter Lina married fellow German immigrant Arthur Meerscheidt.
Louis E. Brister. “Rosenberg, Carl Wilhelm von.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 23, 2011.
Correspondence and a reminiscence compose the von Rosenberg Family Letters, 1849-1951, documenting the lives of the Rosenbergs and their life in Texas. The reminiscence of Wilhelm von Rosenberg includes a brief family history from 1150 to 1870 and the story of his life and work in Germany and Texas. Transcripts and translations of letters between Rosenberg family members in Texas and Germany describe the family’s decision to leave Germany, family activities and events, the Texas landscape, and life on Nassau Farm. Correspondents include Wilhelm von Rosenberg, his stepmother Amanda, and his half-sister Lina. The translations include a genealogy and notes on the letters as well as letters of the Meerscheidt family, primarily from Arthur to his mother still in Germany.
This collection is open for research use.
Von Rosenberg Family Letters, 1849-1951, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers