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HUTH, AUGUST FERDINAND LOUIS

HUTH, AUGUST FERDINAND LOUIS (1813–1892). Louis Huth, entrepreneur, merchant, and public official, was born on January 3, 1813, in Baden, presumably in Neufreystadt, to Ludwig and Catherine (Leicht) Huth. The elder Huth was a wine merchant and insurance agent, and his wife was an Alsatian. While in Paris on business in 1842, Huth met Henri Castro and was persuaded to immigrate to Texas. He induced his father to invest in the venture. The three made an agreement in which Castro was to furnish ships, the senior Huth was to put up 12,000 francs' worth of merchandise, and Louis, in Texas, was to be in charge of the sales of the merchandise and to obtain hides and cotton for shipment to Europe. Operating under the name of Huth and Company, the Huths also helped in the actual colonization. Castro gave Louis his power of attorney to act for him when he was out of Texas. On October 25, 1843, Louis, with 2,000 francs, boarded the ship Jean Key, set sail from Antwerp for Galveston, and eventually reached Port Lavaca in early January 1844. He found that Castro's agents there had quit because they had not been paid, leaving the colonists already at Port Lavaca abandoned and in desperate circumstances. He thereupon gathered those remaining and, apparently with his own money, hired oxcarts and led the way to San Antonio, where he arrived in March 1844.

Huth was elected a justice of the peace in Castroville's first election on September 12, 1844. He held several county offices after Medina County was organized in September 1848: tax assessor-collector, 1848–49; county treasurer, 1849; county clerk, 1849–58; and chief justice, 1860–62. He and George Louis Haass opened a store in Castroville during the latter half of the 1840s, and Huth had a brewery and operated a gristmill there. In March 1845 he led ten families to found Quihi at a site that had been located by Castro in October 1844. Castro's financial collapse left the Huth family desolate, both in Europe and in Texas. Huth moved to San Antonio in 1863. There he opened a successful store that dealt in hardware, implements, and seeds. He continued his membership in the Turner Verein (see TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT), the Kranken Kasse Verein, the Arbeiter Verein, the Order of Sons of Hermann, and the Alamo Masonic Lodge No. 44.

He was married twice, the first time to Rosalie Rhin (Rihn) on July 15, 1846. They had two sons. Rosalie and the youngest son died in 1849 during a cholera epidemic. Huth was married to Sophie Louise Kühnen on February 15, 1851, by justice of the peace John M. Carolan at the Castroville Zion Lutheran Church, of which Huth was a charter member. They had four children. Huth died at his home on Market Street in San Antonio on December 24, 1892, and was buried the next day, Christmas Day, in the Alamo Masonic Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). Cornelia E. Crook, Henry Castro (San Antonio: St. Mary's University Press, 1988). Ferdinand Louis Huth Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907).

Martin O. Noonan

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Martin O. Noonan, "HUTH, AUGUST FERDINAND LOUIS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu56), accessed September 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.