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Leyendecker, Johann Friedrich (1838–1908)

Aragorn Storm Miller Biography Entry

Johann Friedrich Leyendecker, also known as John F. and Fritz, Confederate officer, county official, horticulturalist, and state representative, was born in Neuausel, Germany, in 1838, the son of Johann and Margaret (Zimmerscheidt) Leyendecker. The Leyendecker family immigrated to the United States in 1843, arriving in New York before embarking by boat for Texas. The family landed at Galveston, Nueces County, and soon joined relatives in Colorado County. Leyendecker was raised in the area and married Frances Stanger. This couple had six sons and six daughters. He attended Baylor University at Independence and showed a strong interest in agricultural innovation. At the outbreak of the Civil War Leyendecker sided with the German Unionists but served with the Confederacy, rising to the rank of second lieutenant in the Seventeenth Texas Infantry Regiment.

After the war Leyendecker became involved in the public affairs of Colorado County. Now with Democratic or moderate Republican tendencies, Leyendecker won election as county tax assessor in August 1868, as county commissioner in 1870, and as representative for District Twenty-five—comprised of Colorado and Lavaca counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature in 1872. In the later 1870s and early 1880s Leyendecker also served as a justice of the peace. During this time Leyendecker resumed his interest in agriculture. He owned and operated a nursery and conducted ongoing experiments in pecan and pear breeding. In 1904 he received a bronze medal for his LeConte, Smith, and Kiefer pears, at the Louisiana Purchase Expo. Leyendecker was a member of both the South Texas Horticultural Society and the Texas State Horticultural Society. He won election as president of the former society in 1890 and served as chairman of the Committee on Entomology for the latter society in 1892. During the late 1890s and early 1900s he was president of the Colorado County Farmers' Union. Leyendecker died in 1908.

Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles from the Beginning to 1923 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1986). Leyendecker Family Papers (, accessed July 12, 2007. Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin, Texas Legislature, 1939).


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Politics and Government

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Leyendecker, Johann Friedrich,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2021,

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