Boos-Waldeck, Count Ludwig Joseph von (1798–1880)

By: Louis E. Brister

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: April 25, 2019

Count Ludwig Joseph von Boos-Waldeck, cofounder of the Adelsverein and one of its first representatives in Texas, the son of Count Clemens of Boos-Waldeck and Montfort and Lady Johanne of Bibra, was born in Koblenz, on the Rhine River in what later became Germany, on November 26, 1798. He was descended from a line of Rhenish knights and nobles dating back to the thirteenth century. Little is known about his youth and education, but he began his military career in the Prussian army. He left that service in 1832, however, to become aide-de-camp, with the rank of major, to Duke Adolf of Nassau. In 1837 the duke promoted him to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In April 1842 Boos-Waldeck and a few other nobles met at Biebrich on the Rhine, near Mainz, to organize a society, which they called the Adelsverein, to promote German emigration to Texas. In Mainz, on May 19, Boos-Waldeck was appointed the society's authorized agent and was ordered to proceed to Texas in the company of another member, Count Victor August of Leiningen, on a mission to obtain land for the society in Texas. Shortly after their arrival in Galveston in late August 1842, the two visited President Sam Houston briefly in Houston and presented to him the society's plans. In October the two agents traveled to Columbia, to San Felipe de Austin, to the German settlement of Rödersmühl (now Shelby), on Mill Creek in Austin County, and finally, in November, in the company of Secretary of State Anson Jones, to Washington-on-the-Brazos, where the Congress of the Republic of Texas was in session. In the temporary capital Boos-Waldeck and Leiningen met a second time with Houston and Jones to discuss a land grant to the society for the settlement of German emigrants. Although Houston and Jones offered to extend the society such a grant, Boos-Waldeck and Leiningen declined the offer when they learned that the grant would be in territory west of Austin that was still subject to Indian depredations. Mindful of the expenses to the society of settling immigrants on a large and distant grant, Boos-Waldeck conceived the plan of establishing, in the more settled region near Austin's colony, a limited settlement that could serve later as a base for colonization farther to the west. In January 1843 he purchased a tract of land now in Fayette County, the William H. Jack league near Industry, the home of Friedrich Ernst. Boos-Waldeck named the land Nassau Farm in honor of his friend and sovereign and the protector of the society, Duke Adolf of Nassau. For a year after its purchase Boos-Waldeck worked to develop the plantation's resources and its value to the society as a center for future German settlement in Texas. In his first written report to the society, presented at a general meeting in June 1843; in his correspondence with the society's business manager and secretary, Count Carl Frederick Christian of Castell-Castell; and finally upon his return to Germany in March 1844, Boos-Waldeck counseled resolutely against immediate colonization on a large scale. His views were supported by Duke Adolf, but the other members failed to heed his advice and warnings. Consequently, in April 1844 Count Joseph and his brother, Count Anton of Boos-Waldeck, withdrew from the society.

In April 1843, during his visit to Texas, Boos-Waldeck was promoted by Duke Adolf to the position of chief equerry, which he assumed upon his return to Germany, in addition to his former post as the duke's aide-de-camp. In 1846, at his own request, he was retired from active military service. In 1850 the duke awarded Boos-Waldeck a lifetime annual pension of 4,000 gulden, in recognition of the count's faithful and superior service. During the 1860s Boos-Waldeck maintained a lively correspondence with Duke Adolf from his home in the Bavarian town of Pielenhofen, near Regensburg. On October 1, 1880, he died at Aschaffenburg, a Bavarian city on the Main River east of Frankfurt.

Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Solms-Braunfels Archives (transcripts, Sophienburg Museum, New Braunfels, Texas; Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Founders and Pioneers

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

Louis E. Brister, “Boos-Waldeck, Count Ludwig Joseph von,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

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November 1, 1994
April 25, 2019