Emil Kriewitz

Emil Kriewitz

Birth
Potsdam, Stadtkreis Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany
Death 21 May 1902 (aged 80)
Castell, Llano County, Texas, USA
Burial Llano, Llano County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 42266320 · View Source
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Emil von Kriewitz de Czepry was an adventurer, soldier, and settler. He was born in the Thüringen district of Germany near Potsdam. A group of German nobles formed the "Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas" which was commonly called the "Adelsverein." Emil emigrated under the sponsorship of that organization in October of 1845 and arrived in Galveston on February 5, 1846. His first stop was the Adelsverein landing site on Matagorda Bay called Carlshafen and known today as Indianola, Texas. Because of heavy rains the road to New Braunfels was flooded and he was stranded under extremely deplorable conditions. The Mexican War broke out and all wagons that could be used for transportation were confiscated for General Zachary Taylor's army. Kriewitz and about eighty other young men formed a company under Captain August Buchel and volunteered for the United States Army. They served in Company H, First Texas Rifle Volunteers, under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. With Kriewitz as First Sergeant, the regiment first serves as garrison duty at Matamoros and then transferred to Camargo, Mexico. An unhealthy climate and poor living conditions soon depleted the regiment so badly most of the men, and all the Germans, were discharged.

Emil returned to Carlshafen and was hired by the Adelsverein to form a company to guard John O Meusebach on his journey into Comanche territory to make a peace treaty. They arrived in New Braunsfel too late to accompany Muesebach, but after a forced march they met him on the return from his successful peace negotiations. As a part of the treaty with the Comanches, one German was to among the Indians to serve as a mediator of trade and further understanding between the two peoples. In Kriewitz's words he was also "a guarantee of the peaceable intentions of the Germans." Kriewitz accepted the dangerous assignment and went to the camp of the Comanche chief Santa Anna with a large supply of sugar and coffee, as further payment agreed to under the treaty. He did not receive a warm welcome. He adopted their dress and behavior and became a friend of Santa Anna. In August 1847 the chief decided more gifts were due to him and desired to pay a visit to Meusebach. A small party, including Kriewitz, journeyed to New Braunfels, where they met with Meusebach. The Indians treated Kriewitz with great suspicion at this meeting, due to their being so far from their homeland. He was virtually held a prisoner and permitted to speak to no one. To make matters worse, he had so completely assumed the appearance of the Indians that he could not at first be told apart from the others in the party. Finally he was recognized and made secret contact with another German colonist. He later was able to slip away and visit with friends, but returned to find the Comanche party very unnerved by his absence. He pacified the others in the party, and they stayed for two more days before returning home. On the return journey, the party stopped outside of Fredericksburg, where they were supplied with meat by an agent of the Adelsverein. While they cooked and packed the meat, Kriewitz asked permission to visit a friend in Fredericksburg, stating he would join them later that evening in camp on Seven Mile Creek. He visited his friend Dr. Wilhelm Keidel, who had served with him in the Mexican War. He did not depart for the Indian camp until nearly midnight and arrived to find that the Comanches had become suspicious at his long absence and, fearing treachery had fled. Despite his efforts, he was not able to rejoin the party.

Kriewitz returned to Fredericksburg and was given the assignment of building a road and leading the first colonists into the Fisher-Miller Land Grant. The first party was a group of scholars and artisans who founded the communal colony of Bettina in September 1847. That same fall he led three more parties to establish the colonies of Castell, Leiningen, and Schoernbuerg. Of these, only the community of Castell exists today. Kriewitz continued to live in the area of New Braunfels and Fredericksburg and signed the petition to establish Gillespie County in December 1847. He returned to Castell in 1852 and opened a store in partnership with Franz Kettner. In 1857 he married Amelia Markwordt at Cherry Springs; they eventually had eight children. Kriewitz was elected justice of the peace for Precinct Four of Llano County in June 1870 and served as a judge of elections in 1871. He was postmaster of Castell from 1876 to 1883. He continued to ranch and speculate in real estate until his death.

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/KK/fkr12.html (accessed September 22, 2009).


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  • Created by: Tom Todd
  • Added: 22 Sep 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 42266320
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Emil Kriewitz (18 Jan 1822–21 May 1902), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42266320, citing Llano City Cemetery, Llano, Llano County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Tom Todd (contributor 46900975) .