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STUBENRAUCH, JOSEPH W.

STUBENRAUCH, JOSEPH W. (1852–1938). Joseph W. Stubenrauch, horticulturalist, was born in Bavaria on February 7, 1852. He came to America to avoid compulsory military service in Germany, spent four years in New York, and in 1877 settled near Mexia, Texas, where he bought a small tract for six dollars per acre. His fencing, consisting of four planks and a wire, cost more than the land. His first contribution to American horticulture was the Carman peach, a chance seedling, which he named for the editor of the Rural New Yorker. Discovering that the standard varieties of peaches (mostly of Persian and North China strain) then extant were not adapted to Central Texas conditions, Stubenrauch began to experiment with hybridization. About this time Gilbert Onderdonk of Victoria County, Texas, worked out the scientific classification of the peach families that was adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture. For his own subtropical region Onderdonk leaned heavily on the Peen-to or South China peach family, while Stubenrauch desired the hardiness of the red Indian (Spanish) peach in combination with the market qualities of the Elberta. Stubenrauch raised a large hybrid population of an Elberta-Bell's October cross, which combined the blood of the North China, Persian, and Indian families. Budding these into mature trees for quick fruiting, he selected a number of the most promising for future propagation and testing. The result was six varieties, ripening in succession from June 15 to August, all well adapted to Central Texas conditions, the Carman making seven. In order of ripening they are: Anna (freestone), Carman, Tena (freestone), Liberty, Frank, Barbara (freestone), and Katie (freestone). The Frank, a semi-free, was first called the Farmer's Friend for its heavy and sure bearing. At the Farmers' Congress a facetious critic objected that a variety which fruited so heavily as to require thinning was no "farmer's friend," and Stubenrauch renamed it in honor of his friend Frank P. Holland, Sr., of Farm and Ranch. The others (except Liberty) were named for members of his family. His Carman peach was given national recognition with a color plate in the Department of Agriculture Yearbook and was widely planted around 1900. The Frank proved to be highly adapted in Texas, Louisiana, and as far north as Missouri. Stubenrauch's peaches are the basis of a considerable local fruit industry in Central Texas. A creator rather than a salesman and an orchardist rather than a nurseryman, he, therefore, assigned the propagation rights of his varieties to commercial nurserymen on a royalty basis and confined his attention to growing fruit for the local market and to the study of cultural and breeding problems for his locality. As a result his work brought him little pecuniary reward, but shortly before his death he expressed his satisfaction with having done "something of lasting benefit to my neighbors and my adopted state." He died in Limestone County, Texas, on September 21, 1938.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

S. W. Geiser, "A Century of Scientific Exploration in Texas," Field and Laboratory 7 (January 1939).

T. C. Richardson

Citation

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

T. C. Richardson, "STUBENRAUCH, JOSEPH W.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst83), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 28, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.