Max Krueger, rancher and industrialist, was born at Greifswald in Pomeranian Prussia on December 27, 1851, the son of Carl Erdman and Dorathea (Bremer) Krueger. His father died when he was an infant, leaving the family in straitened circumstances. After studying at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gymnasium in Berlin and serving a year in the Prussian army, Krueger was apprenticed to a silk merchant at the age of fourteen. He contracted a lung disease and was advised by his physician to seek a warmer climate. Thus he followed his older brother, Carl, to Texas in 1868.
After working variously as a cowboy, stevedore, well-digger, photographer, and merchant, Krueger developed a large ranch, the Twin Sisters, in Blanco County. He married Emily Buergener, the daughter of Friedrich and Karoline (Gerlach) Buergener, on December 25, 1870. They had sixteen children, twelve of whom lived to maturity. The drought of the mid-1890s brought financial ruin to Krueger. Half of his livestock died for lack of water and forage, and eventually he lost his lands. As a middle-aged man with a large family, he started over again with little more than when he first arrived in Texas. His greatest financial success came after his ruin as a rancher. He became a sales representative for a company that manufactured farm machinery. After learning the business, he joined in partnership with Harry Gunther and Ben Stribling to found the San Antonio Machine and Supply Company in 1899. The company manufactured cotton gins, irrigation pumps, and other agricultural machinery. After the discovery of oil in Texas, the company also manufactured oil well equipment. Although Krueger fondly remembered his German heritage, he loyally supported the United States during World War I and took pride in the fact that his son, Carl, served as a major in the United States Army. In his later years, he traveled widely throughout the world and visited Europe almost every year.
At age seventy-four Krueger began writing his memoirs of his early days in Texas. He recalled vividly his adventures on the frontier and his experiences at San Saba, Fredericksburg, and other points. Overall, his memoirs picture the transformation of Texas from a frontier to an industrialized society. His book was published posthumously as Pioneer Life in Texas (1930) and, with a few additions, was republished in 1976 under the title Second Fatherland: The Life and Fortunes of a German Immigrant. Krueger's notable art collection eventually was donated to Texas A&M University. He died in Germany on September 28, 1927, after suffering a fall. His ashes were returned to Texas.