Runge, Julius (1851–1906)

By: Henry Hauschild

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1995

Updated: July 26, 2021


Julius Runge, businessman, was born at New Braunfels, Texas, on February 1, 1851, the son of George and Dorothea (Spiegle) Runge, German immigrants who had come to Texas in 1850. After his father died in 1852, his mother returned to Germany to raise him. He completed his studies in Kassel, Germany, then continued his education at commercial schools in Saxony and Switzerland.

Julius Runge moved to Galveston in 1867. On starting out upon his business career, Runge inherited some money from his father and was materially aided by his uncle, Henry Runge, of Indianola and Galveston. Julius used his business talents to become a prominent merchant, financier, and public official. In 1874, at age twenty-three, he became a member of the firm of Kaufmann and Runge, which in 1884 attempted to corner the world cotton market. During his lifetime Runge was connected with almost every large enterprise inaugurated in Galveston. He served as officer or director for such companies as the Santa Fe, Galveston City, and Galveston Western railroads, the Galveston Deep Water Commission, Island City Savings Bank, the Texas Land and Loan Company, the Texas Guarantee and Trust Company, Southern Cotton Press, Texas Cotton Press, and Galveston Cotton and Woolen Mills Company. He served for many years as president of the First National Bank and the Galveston Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade. He was a member of the board of aldermen, city treasurer, and a leader in the first campaign for diversification of Texas agricultural crops. Runge was appointed consul to the German Empire, a position he occupied until his death. His friend, noted sculptor Elisabet Ney, presented Runge and his wife with twin busts of the couple in 1887 in gratitude for Runge's help to acquire Liendo Plantation near Brenham.

Julius Runge was a member of the German Lutheran Church. He married his cousin, Johanna Runge, daughter of Henry Runge, in 1876. She later started the first free kindergarten in Galveston. The couple had seven children: Julia, George, Margaret, Henry, Johanna, Julius, and Frank Runge. His brother-in-law, Louis H. Runge, and nephew, Forrest Runge, both of whom survived the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, later gained recognition for innovative operating procedures on the Las Moras Ranch, which was co-owned by the many family members, in Menard County.

Julius Runge moved his family to Austin, Texas, after the 1900 hurricane and traveled back and forth to Galveston to rebuild his business interests. Runge died in Galveston after a brief illness on February 6, 1906. He was buried near his son, George, in the Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

Austin Statesman, February 8, 1906. John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry (2 vols., St. Louis: Woodward and Tiernan Printing, 1894, 1895; rpt., with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie, New York: Antiquarian, 1959). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

Categories:

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business

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

Henry Hauschild, “Runge, Julius,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 25, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/runge-julius.

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November 1, 1995
July 26, 2021

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