Nimitz, Charles Henry (1826–1911)

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: March 23, 2019

Charles Henry Nimitz, pioneering Fredericksburg hotelier, son of Karl Heinrich (Charles Henry) and Dorothea Magdalena (Dressel) Nimitz, was born in Bremen, Lower Saxony, on November 9, 1826. He joined the German merchant marine at the age of fourteen and followed his family to Sullivan Island, South Carolina, in 1844. The family operated a hotel in Charleston. Nimitz moved to Fredericksburg in 1846 with the first settlers and worked briefly as a bookkeeper for a lumber company. He built the Nimitz Hotel in 1852, and it soon became popular with travelers and local residents. Nimitz married Sophie Dorothea Mueller on April 8, 1848; they had twelve children, nine of whom lived to adulthood.

Nimitz joined the Texas Rangers on August 4, 1851, and served four months. When the Civil War began, he organized the Gillespie Rifles and was commissioned captain of that group by the Confederacy. Two months later, the Confederate government appointed him enrolling officer for the frontier district commanded by John S. Ford. Nimitz, a Catholic and a Democrat, was elected to the Twenty-second Texas Legislature in 1890 from District Eighty-nine, composed of Gillespie, Blanco, and Comal counties. He deeded the Nimitz Hotel to his son, Charles H. Nimitz Jr., on June 6, 1906, but continued to live there until his death on April 28, 1911. He was buried in Fredericksburg. He was the grandfather of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974). Sister Joan of Arc, My Name is Nimitz (San Antonio: Standard Printing, 1948). Elise Kowert, Old Homes and Buildings of Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Texas: Fredericksburg Publishing, 1977).

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

Martin Donell Kohout, “Nimitz, Charles Henry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022,

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March 23, 2019