A Guide to the Jacob Kuechler Papers, 1840-1907
Born in Schoellenbach, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, Jacob Kuechler (1823-1893) graduated from the University of Giessen with a degree in civil engineering and forestry before immigrating to Texas in 1847 with the Darmstadt colony. He settled in Fredericksburg following the collapse of the Fisher-Miller Land Grant in Bettina. In 1853, Kuechler gained citizenship and married Marie Petri three years later. He farmed and surveyed for Gillespie County until the outbreak of the Civil War. Kuechler also pioneered the study of dendrochronology.
Following the secession of Texas from the Union, Kuechler was appointed by Sam Houston to enroll state militia troops in Gillespie County. After signing up only German Unionists for his company, Governor Francis Lubbock disbanded it. Kuechler then survived the Battle of the Nueces while serving as a guide for German Unionists attempting to flee to Mexico. Kuechler escaped to Mexico, where he surveyed in the North until his return to Texas in 1867. Kuechler was then appointed deputy collector of customs in San Antonio and became a leading spokesman for Republican Germans during Reconstruction. In addition, he was elected to the state Constitutional Convention of 1868-69, appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office from 1870 to 1874, and surveyed land for various railroads in the state.
McGuire, James Patrick. "Jacob Kuechler."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed July 1, 2011.
Consisting of letters, field notebooks, legal documents, land grants, financial records, orders as well as sundry other documents, the Jacob Kuechler Papers, 1840-1907, chronicle the life and work of the surveyor, political leader, and public servant. The bulk of the collection dates to the 1870s, when Kuechler was active in Reconstruction era politics. Field notes, legal documents and survey reports document Kuechler’s career as a surveyor and Commissioner of the General Land Office while his financial condition is illustrated by accounting sheets, receipts, and financial notes. Other materials include school papers of Kuechler and his son, Customs Office reports, Legislative items, orders from the government, and a diploma for his son from the Texas Military Institute.
This collection is open for research use.
Jacob Kuechler Papers, 1840-1907, 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