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SERBIN, TX

SERBIN, TEXAS. Serbin is on Farm Road 2239 seven miles southwest of Giddings in southwestern Lee County. In 1855 Carl Lehman and John Dube purchased 4,000 acres of the Absolem C. Delaplain league on behalf of the group of more than 500 Wends, who under the leadership of Pastor John Kilian, immigrated from Lusatia to Texas in 1854, forming the mother colony of Wends in Texas. They subdivided the tract into farms and town lots which they sold to individuals. Kilian Lutheran congregation bought ninety-five acres for a church and school. The community on the old Gotcher Trace was called Low Pin Oak Settlement, and by 1857 fifty families were reported living in the vicinity. When the town received a post office in 1860 the name was changed to Serbin (Wendish Land). The principal crops grown were corn and cotton; during the Civil War farmers in the Serbin area hauled cotton to Matamoros and Houston and returned goods and gold. In the late nineteenth century Serbin had two general stores, three blacksmiths, two wheelwrights, a meat market, a carpenter, a physician, and two churches and parochial schools. St. Paul Lutheran Church was the first congregation of the Missouri Synod in Texas. The church, its parochial school, and the town held a prominent place in the history of Lutheranism in Texas and was the site of synodical conventions. In 1890 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway laid tracks through Lee County two miles east of Serbin. Many businessmen moved nearer to the railroad tracks and called the community New Serbin or Serbin Switch. This name was changed to Northrup when a station was established in 1892. The post office in Serbin was closed by 1909. Although Serbin declined with the rise of Giddings in the twentieth century, a community of fifty persons still existed by 1930. This figure remained relatively stable for the next two decades. From the 1960s to 2000 Serbin had a population of ninety. In 1990 St. Paul Lutheran Church, situated halfway between Serbin and Northrup, had 555 members; seventy-eight students were enrolled in its parochial school. In 1980 the church donated the 1915 parochial school building to the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and leased them an acre of land. The society founded the Texas Wendish Heritage Museum, now a complex of several buildings, including a log home built in 1865 by an original settler. The museum research library and archives preserve, interpret, and make available for study the history of the Wends. Visitors may tour the museum, cemetery, and the church built in 1871. Serbin Homecoming is held on Memorial weekend, and a Wendish Fest is held in the fall by the museum. In 2004 a series of events in Serbin commemorated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Wends in Texas and the formation of the church congregation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Anne Blasig Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Anne Blasig, The Wends of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rpt., Brownsville: Springman-King Printing, 1981). Lillie Moerbe Caldwell, Texas Wends: Their First Half-Century (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones Press, 1961). Sylvia Ann Grider, The Wendish Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1982). Lee County Historical Survey Committee, A History of Lee County (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1974). George R. Nielsen, In Search of a Home (University of Birmingham [England] Department of Russian Language and Literature, 1977; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1989).

Daphne Dalton Garrett

Citation

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

Daphne Dalton Garrett, "SERBIN, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hns33), accessed December 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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