Dresel, Gustav (1818–1848)

By: Max Freund

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: December 14, 2016

Gustav Dresel, writer, businessman, and first German consul in Texas, the son of Johann Dietrich and Maria (Morrien) Dresel, was born on January 26, 1818, at Geisenheim, Rheingau. He attended high school in Weilburg and later went to business school. After travel in Europe, he came to the United States in 1837 and, when plans for a sawmill or distillery failed to materialize, set out westward. Eventually, he gathered a stock of goods and moved to Houston, where he served as bookkeeper and salesman in a general store, managed a warehouse on Buffalo Bayou, and bought and sold dry goods, grain, and land. Between 1838 and 1841 he traveled in parts of Texas (particularly the area around Houston), Louisiana, and Mississippi, and was involved in a cotton-export business in New Orleans. From 1842 to 1846 Dresel helped in the family wine business in Europe. On his return, he served as business manager in Texas for the Adelsverein in Galveston.

He served as first German consul in Texas for Duke Adolph of Nassau, from whose country many German immigrants came. He kept extensive accounts of his experiences and impressions in a diary called "Texanisches Tagebuch," first published in the 1920–21 yearbook of the German-American Historical Society of Illinois and published in translation in 1954 by the University of Texas Press as Gustav Dresel's Houston Journal. Dresel is credited with inspiring poet A. H. Hoffmann von Fallersleben's Texanische Lieder. While conducting business for the Adelsverein, he died of yellow fever on September 14, 1848, at Morris Farm near Victoria while he was traveling from Galveston to New Braunfels. He is buried at the place where he died.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Authors and Writers
  • Literature
  • Memoirs, Diaries, Letters, and Travel
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines
  • Business
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Politics and Government

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

Max Freund, “Dresel, Gustav,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 06, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dresel-gustav.

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December 14, 2016