Rev Gustav Elley

Rev Gustav Elley

Death 13 Nov 1897 (aged 81)
Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas, USA
Burial McQueeney, Guadalupe County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 54784900 · View Source
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ELLEY, GUSTAV (1816-1897). Gustav Elley, soldier and Methodist preacher, only son of Christine Wilhelmine Weisbach and Joachim Gustav Ferdinand von Elterlein, was born Gustavus von Elterlein on June 10, 1816, in Mittelschmiedeberg in the kingdom of Saxony. As far back as 1500 the family owned iron works in the Erzgebirge region.

Elley was orphaned at an early age and reared by his grandparents and his uncle, Julius Weisbach, a mathemetician at Freiberg Academy of Mines. While still in his teens Elley immigrated to the United States. He traveled by way of New Orleans to Texas in 1836 with George H. Burroughs's Zanesville volunteers, Company G. Upon arrival he dropped his title of "baron" and anglicized his name to Elley, the name of his English governess. He was one of the few Germans to arrive in Texas as early as 1836.

He was in the Army of the Republic of Texas from October 1, 1836, to December 21, 1837. In 1837 he headed west in search of the lost "San Saba Mine." In 1838 and 1839 he surveyed lands in many counties northwest of San Antonio.
He joined the Texas Navy in 1840 and was a fireman on the steamship Zavala.

On June 1, 1842, he enlisted in Capt. John C. Hays's Texas Ranger Volunteer Spy Company, with headquarters in San Antonio. He was on special detail guarding the District Court as a member of Capt. Chauncey Johnson's company when he was captured by Gen. Adrián Woll's invading army on September 11, 1842. His occupation was listed as "miner." With his fellow prisoners he reached Perote Prison on December 22, after traveling a distance of more than 1,000 miles on foot. In July 1843 sixteen of the Perote prisoners escaped, Gen. Thomas J. Green and Elley among them, but Elley was recaptured and held until March 24, 1844, when he was released with all of the remaining San Antonio and Dawson Massacre prisoners to Waddy Thompson, United States minister to Mexico.

Elley returned to the vicinity of San Antonio and was influenced during this time by a Methodist missionary preacher, John Wesley DeVilbiss. Along with seven other people he and DeVilbiss began a church that eventually became Travis Park Methodist Church.

In 1854 Elley was accepted on trial as a Methodist Episcopal minister and assigned to the New Braunfels and Castroville Circuit. In 1859 he was a charter member of the Rio Grande Methodist Episcopal Conference. He was appointed to the New Fountain and New Braunfels missions. In 1868 he transferred to the Methodist Episcopal Church (North) and was accepted as an elder. He was a charter member of the Southern German Conference and a pastor at Industry and Rabbs Creek. In 1870 he was presiding elder in the Guadalupe Circuit, which included Fredericksburg and Mason. He was subsequently appointed to San Antonio, where he organized the Little Church of La Villita, which is now included in the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. As a charter member of the Southern Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (North) in 1874, he supplied the La Grange mission.

Elley was described as a quiet, discreet man who accepted whatever appointments his church assigned him to on the frontier. In 1847 he married Henriette Blumberg, and they raised 13 children to adulthood.

"Through the years he rode endless miles on many missionary circuit trails, through bitter cold and terrible heat, from Fredericksburg as far south as Goliad and across the Colorado to the settlements on the Brazos, sleeping on the ground with his saddle for a pillow. He would stake his horse beside him at night to prevent the Indians from stealing his faithful animal, his only link to civilization…When preaching on the frontier, the Reverend Gustav Elley would lay his Sam Walker Colt pistol beside his Bible, ever alert for Indian raids...Elley was a popular preacher. He preached short and fiery! Everyone liked him, and children were delighted when he entered the pulpit." Forward to the Past, Pearl Elley Bethune, pp. 236 – 237.

Gustav and Henriette retired to Seguin after he had served the church for 50 years. The Reverend Gustav Elley died November 13, 1897, and Henriette Elley died May 31, 1906.

Family Members


English translation: You were so full of piety. With you escaped our living joy.




  • Created by: Susan C.
  • Added: 11 Jul 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 54784900
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Gustav Elley (10 Jun 1816–13 Nov 1897), Find A Grave Memorial no. 54784900, citing Blumberg Cemetery, McQueeney, Guadalupe County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Susan C. (contributor 47309785) .