Rode, Diedrich Johann Gottlieb (1828–1905)

By: Garland Perry

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: April 26, 2016

Diedrich Johann Gottlieb Rode, rancher and businessman, was born to Karl Friedrich and Marie (Bousmann) Rode on July 8, 1828, at Koelzow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. He immigrated to Texas in 1846 under sponsorship of the Adelsverein, a corporation organized by a group of German noblemen in 1842. Records of the Gillespie County Historical Society show that Rode arrived in Galveston in January 1846 and was one of the first settlers of Fredericksburg. He married Katherina Phillippine Klaerner in Fredericksburg on July 27, 1851, and was a director of the original Zion Lutheran Church of Fredericksburg for several years. He moved to nearby Cherry Spring in 1852 to take charge of a section of land he purchased with a relative, Wilhelm Kothe, for twenty-five cents an acre. The Rodes raised three children.

As civic leader, minister, teacher, and rancher, Rode worked tirelessly to improve the lives of settlers in his area. He kept a diary and journal of his various business activities. He taught school in neighborhood homes at night, and through thrift and hard work he continued to expand his sheep and cattle ranching operation. He built a three-story limestone-block ranchhouse at Cherry Spring in 1879. The third floor was set aside for storage of baled cotton and wool, which was hoisted through a large side door by block and tackle fastened to a steel beam extending from the roof. The second floor of the house was used as a school and community church, where he practiced as a Lutheran lay minister. Rode later built a two-room rock schoolhouse in Cherry Spring, which was converted to a family residence many years later. He died on July 13, 1905, and was buried with his wife and other family members in a private cemetery on the ranch a half mile from his old ranchhouse, a majestic landmark in this small village.

Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Religion
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

Garland Perry, “Rode, Diedrich Johann Gottlieb,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 19, 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.

June 1, 1995
April 26, 2016