Reisdorff, Joseph (1840–1922)

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: April 26, 2016

Joseph Reisdorff, Catholic priest and colonizer of German settlements in Texas, was born on October 4, 1840, in Nievenheim, Rheinprovinz, Germany. He immigrated to the United States, studied at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was ordained a priest on March 16, 1872. He was assigned to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, before he moved to Texas in search of a more healthful climate. He arrived at the north central town of Windthorst in Archer County on December 31, 1891. Reisdorff traveled west through the Panhandle and established several towns in that area. In 1895 he was in Rhineland in Knox County, in 1902 he was in Nazareth in Castro County, and by 1907 he was in Umbarger in Randall County. Reisdorff encouraged his German countrymen to buy land at low prices and build homes. In each town he helped establish a Catholic parish with a resident priest and left to work in another settlement only after the community showed it was growing. Very often he would place ads in German-American newspapers, particularly in the Midwest, in order to attract settlers to the region. After a career of moving from place to place, he settled in Slaton, Lubbock County, on December 8, 1911, where he was parish priest until 1917, when he went on sick leave. He remained in Slaton until his death, on January 28, 1922. He was buried in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Castro County Historical Commission, Castro County, 1891–1981 (Dallas: Taylor, 1981). Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin. Charles P. Flanagin, The Origins of Nazareth, Texas (M.A. thesis, West Texas State College, 1948).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Religion
  • Catholic

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

Anonymous, “Reisdorff, Joseph,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

April 26, 2016