Ernst, John Friedrich Meinhard (1820–1863)

By: Miriam York

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: April 5, 2016

John (or Johann) Friedrich Meinhard (Fritz) Ernst was born on September 11, 1820, in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, the son of Louise Gesine Auguste (Weber) and Johann Friedrich Ernst. He sailed to the United States in 1829 with his parents, among the first German settlers in Texas, and grew up in Austin's colony in what became the settlement of Industry. He married Maria Ann (Krumm) Brey, the widow of Ferdinand Brey, who died in the Mier expedition. They had four children. Fritz Ernst served as a guide and interpreter for Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels on his visit to Texas. He was a farmer and a justice of the peace as well as a soldier and pioneer. He served as a ranger for the Republic of Texas from July 20, 1836, to November 20, 1836. He also served in the Southwestern Army of the Republic of Texas, Company B, First Regiment, from October 3, 1842, to January 20, 1843. Although Ernst grew up at Industry, he later lived near Round Top and in 1861 served in the Round Top Guerrillas, a local militia group. During the Civil War he helped a Captain Creuzbaur organize a company from Fayette County. He served as first lieutenant in Creuzbaur's company of light artillery, Texas Volunteers, from October 12, 1861, until he died in Waco in October 1863.

Gilbert Giddings Benjamin, The Germans in Texas: A Study in Immigration (Austin: Jenkins, 1974). Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Paul C. Boethel, The Big Guns of Fayette (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1965). Caroline Von Hinueber, "Life of German Pioneers in Early Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 2 (January 1899). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Military
  • Soldiers

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

Miriam York, “Ernst, John Friedrich Meinhard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

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January 1, 1995
April 5, 2016