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STEINERT, W.

STEINERT, W. (?–?). W. Steinert was a schoolmaster in Luckenwalde, Mark Brandenburg, a few miles south of Berlin, in what is now Germany. Together with five official delegates or prospective settlers from the Craftsman's Guild of his hometown, he made a trip in 1849 to North America and spent about three months in south central Texas and another month in the northern and eastern parts of the country, seeking and evaluating possible settlement sites. Like many German immigrants of the 1800s, he went from Galveston to Indian Point or Indianola and on to New Braunfels. He subsequently made various visits to German settlements, such as Seguin, Fredericksburg, Castroville, Nassau Farm, and Cat Spring; he also spent time in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Steinert and his traveling companions were at first tempted to stay in Texas, and some of the party did remain, but Steinert, after seeing the conditions in the state, returned to Europe by way of New York. He never came back to Texas. After his return home, he wrote a report of what he had seen, based in large part on the letters he had written in Texas, and published the account as Nordamerika, vorzüglich Texas, im Jahre 1849 (Berlin 1850). This work gave an accurate, though sometimes rather negative, account of conditions in Texas and the rest of the United States. Whereas most writers of the 1840s praised Texas as an earthly paradise for settlers, Steinert produced a more objective report on conditions in the state. He took exception to the rosy statements made by such writers as Victor F. Brachtqv, who had preceded him to Texas by one year, and specifically refuted many of Bracht's favorable comments concerning Texas. He was particularly critical of the harsh conditions faced by settlers and of slavery. Steinert stands almost alone in his views and descriptions of conditions in the state in the mid-nineteenth century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Viktor F. Bracht, Texas im Jahre 1848 (Iserlohn, Westphalia: J. Bödeker, 1849; trans. C. F. Schmidt, San Antonio: Naylor, 1931). Gilbert J. Jordan, ed. and trans., "W. Steinert's View of Texas in 1849," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 80–81 (July 1976-July 1977).

Gilbert J. Jordan

Citation

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

Gilbert J. Jordan, "STEINERT, W.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst99), accessed October 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.