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Goeth, Ottilie Fuchs (1836–1926)

Glen E. Lich Biography Entry

Ottilie Fuchs Goeth, writer, was born on February 27, 1836, in Koelzow, Mecklenburg, the daughter of Pastor Adolf Fuchs and Louise (Ruemker) Fuchs. She moved to Texas with her parents and siblings in 1845–46, grew up in the Hill Country northwest of Austin, married Carl Goeth (a rancher and, later, politician), and had eight children, of whom six lived into adulthood. She mothered a family of distinguished agriculturalists, public servants, physicians, lawmen, linguists, writers, and musicians. Goeth's autobiography, entitled Was Grossmutter erzählt (San Antonio, 1915), was translated in 1969 by Irma Goeth Guenther and published twice as Memoirs of a Texas Pioneer Grandmother (1969 and 1982). It is one of the most significant pieces of Texas-German literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Goeth's narrative, written in the style of a classical German bildungsroman, is literate, nuanced, and philosophical. As much literature as history, her text interprets the experience of migration and cultural transmission from shifting viewpoints. The past, she suggests, continues ever-changing and almost forever. With her husband, Goeth returned to Germany for an extended tour late in her life. During this trip she reacquainted herself with the settings of her and her husband's pasts and with the lively liberal and literary tradition to which the Fuchs and Goeth families belonged. She died on May 23, 1926, at her ranch home at Cypress Mill in Burnet County and was buried nearby in the Goeth-Wenmohs Cemetery.

Glen E. Lich and Dona B. Reeves, eds., German Culture in Texas (Boston: Twayne, 1980). Glen E. Lich, "Survival and Succession: Immigrant Autobiography as Cultural Legacy," Yearbook of German-American Studies 24 (1989). Crystal Sasse Ragsdale, ed., The Golden Free Land: The Reminiscences and Letters of Women on an American Frontier (Austin: Landmark, 1976).


  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Memoirs, Diaries, Letters, and Travel
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Authors and Writers
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines
  • Women

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

Glen E. Lich, “Goeth, Ottilie Fuchs,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed February 25, 2021,

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