Friday, February 4, 2011

Texas Tidbits: Hill Country Immigrants, A to Zink

I love the Hill Country of Texas. That comes as no surprise to regular readers of this blog. Take a trip through the blog archives and you'll see what I mean. Today, I return to the Hill Country by way of the written word. This time I actually have a specific reason for doing so other than fishing. I return to learn about my people - German immigrants to whom I may be related. Seriously.

A man whose name I'd never heard until a few minutes ago, had as much to do with settling Central Texas as anyone in the state's history. His name is Nicholas Zink. It was in 1844 that Herr Zink, a Bavarian native, was selected to head an effort to colonize the area around Austin with immigrants from Germany. In late 1844 when Zink and the new colonists arrived at the land grant designated for them, he quickly learned that the grant was smack dab in the middle of Comanche territory. He persuaded Prince Carl, who was the main man behind the grant, to relocate the new Texans to another place. The Prince agreed and Zink settled the area which became New Braunfels. Soon thereafter, Zink was put in charge of more than half the German immigrants headed for New Braunfels. After 1847, he built houses throughout the area and would in 1868 acquire the land they were built on, donating much of it to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad. Nicholas Zink married three times, but sadly fathered no children. Thus, his legacy to Texas are the German American communities in the Hill Country. While few people, myself included, have ever heard of Nicholas Zink, he left a giant footprint on Texas and its German immigrants. I am cautiously optimistic that Herr Zink brought some my ancestors to Texas during his lifetime. At the very least, I have a clue as to where I can begin looking for some of my forebears. And that starting point begins with Nicholas Zink.

Excuse me while I head over to Herr Zink beckons.

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