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Legislature establishes Gillespie County

February
23
1848

On this day in 1848, the Texas legislature formally marked off Gillespie County from Bexar and Travis counties. The first known residents of Gillespie County, in west central Texas, were the Tonkawa Indians. By the nineteenth century, Comanches and Kiowas had also moved into the area. The future county was first settled by Europeans in 1846, when John O. Meusebach led a group of 120 Germans sponsored by the Adelsverein to the site of Fredericksburg, which became one in a series of German communities between the Texas coast and the Fisher-Miller Land Grant. Fredericksburg and the surrounding rural areas grew quickly, and in December 1847, 150 settlers petitioned the legislature to establish a new county, which they suggested be named either Pierdenales or Germania. Instead, the legislature named it after Capt. Robert A. Gillespie, a hero of the recent Mexican War, and made Fredericksburg the county seat. Gillespie County originally included areas that today are parts of Blanco, Burnet, Llano, and Mason counties. The people of Gillespie County have always been proud of their German heritage and pioneer history. In 1896 Robert G. Penniger wrote a book in German marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Fredericksburg and, with it, Gillespie County. The people of Gillespie County marked this occasion with a gala celebration at which the fifty-five surviving original settlers were honored.

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