Fordtran, Charles (1801–1900)

By: Carolyn Hyman

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: September 27, 2019

Charles Fordtran, early settler and surveyor, son of John H. Fordtran, was born in Minden, Westphalia, on May 7, 1801. He immigrated to America in 1830 and in January 1831 joined Friedrich Ernst to move to Texas, where they began the settlement that developed into the town of Industry. Fordtran surveyed Ernst's grant in Stephen F. Austin's colony for one-fourth of the land. He marked the boundaries of Samuel M. Williams's land. Fordtran was in poor health and spent some time with Henry Austin at Bolivar Point and some time in Mississippi before he purchased a half headright now in Austin County in 1833. He made a contract to secure 800 families for Austin's colony but became discouraged and gave up the idea. In 1835 and 1836 he was a member of Capt. James Bird's company of Spy Rangers and, as such, helped move Texas families out of reach of the Mexicans and protected the communities from Indian attacks. Fordtran married Almeida Brookfield on July 4, 1834, and they had nine children. The family home was in Austin County, where Fordtran died on November 1, 1900.

History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of the Cities of Houston and Galveston (Chicago: Lewis, 1895). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Exploration
  • Surveyors and Cartographers

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

Carolyn Hyman, “Fordtran, Charles,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

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September 27, 2019