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Juergens, Mary Theresa Hennecke (1809–1891)

Allen and Dawn Kibler Biography Entry

Mary Theresa Hennecke Juergens, early settler and Indian captive, the daughter of Anna Maria (Middike) and Joseph Hennecke, was born on June 18, 1809, in Entrup, Westphalia. On July 20, 1833, she married Conrad Juergens in the Catholic church at Steinheim, Westphalia. They left almost immediately for Texas. She, her husband, and two young sons were reported to be in Texas as early as 1833. They settled at Post Oak Point near Industry, now in Austin County. By late March 1836 most of their neighbors had fled to avoid the oncoming Mexican army. The Juergens family, however, chose to remain. A band of Karankawas raided their cabin at night, injured Juergens, and kidnapped Mary Theresa and the two small boys. While still a prisoner of the Indians and shortly before her release, she gave birth to her only daughter, Ann Margaret. The child was born in Oklahoma Territory several months after the kidnapping. In the fall of 1836 at Holland Coffee's trading post at Preston Bend on the Red River, Mary and her daughter were ransomed for $300. The Indians, however, refused to release the two boys. Conrad died shortly after Mary Theresa's return. As administrator of his estate, Mary was granted a league and a labor of land in southeast Colorado County. On September 27, 1838, she married George Grimes in Austin County; the ceremony was performed by John Wesley Kenney. On May 30, 1843, Mary Grimes married Samuel J. Redgate in Colorado County. This marriage was performed by Louis C. Ervendberg. Mary Theresa and Samuel Redgate lived near Frelsburg in Colorado County until 1871, when they moved to Dayton, Ohio. Mary died there on October 31, 1891. There is a monument at Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford honoring her and commemorating the centenary of Texas independence. A state historical marker was dedicated in 1992 at Post Oak Point in Austin County near the site of her kidnapping.

J. H. Kuykendall, "Reminiscences of Early Texans," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6–7 (January, April, July 1903). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin: Hutchings, 1889; rpt., Austin: State House, 1985).


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Native American
  • Captives and Victims of Attack
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Women
  • Native American Captives

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

Allen and Dawn Kibler, “Juergens, Mary Theresa Hennecke,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 08, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: