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Prussian mapmaker retires from General Land Office


On this day in 1899, Karl Wilhelm Pressler (Presler), surveyor and cartographer, retired from the General Land Office in Austin. Pressler was born in Thuringia, Prussia, in 1823 and was educated as a surveyor. Dissatisfied with political and religious conditions, he left Prussia in 1845 as a member of the Adelsverein and landed in Texas in 1846. He moved to Austin and was employed by Jacob De Cordova, who made him the head of surveying expeditions in 1846 and 1847. Pressler checked the details of De Cordova's first map of Texas, issued in 1849. After purchasing a farm in Austin County, Pressler returned to the city of Austin in December 1850 and became a draftsman in the General Land Office. He became principal draftsman in 1858 and chief draftsman in 1865 and, except for short periods of service elsewhere, served until his retirement. Among his noteworthy mapping efforts, Pressler computed the area of the counties in Texas for De Cordova's Texas: Her Resources and Her Public Men (1858), revised and corrected De Cordova's 1856 map of Texas, and in 1858 published his own map of the state. In 1879 Pressler and Langermann issued a map of Texas in three sizes, and in 1889 Pressler prepared a map of Texas that was never published. He is also credited with the preparation of thirty-eight Texas county maps. Pressler died in 1907.

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