Scherrer, Bernard (1807–1892)

By: Julia Collins

Type: Biography

Published: July 1, 1995

Updated: February 19, 2019

Bernard Scherrer, one of the first three settlers in the Biegel Settlement, the second German settlement in Texas, located in Fayette County, was born in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on August 20, 1807. He was educated there but left at the age of twenty-two and moved to America, arriving in New York. He then went to St. Louis and down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. There he joined Detlef Dunt, a German traveler and writer, and sailed to Texas. Arriving in Brazoria, Scherrer received a passport from the Mexican alcalde, Henry Smith, on April 29, 1833. From Brazoria he traveled on foot to San Felipe, where he applied for a headright and rejoined Dunt. From there, they traveled to Mill Creek, later called Industry. Scherrer stayed for a while with Johann Friedrich Ernst, and while there he taught Ernst how to roll cigars, since tobacco was a major crop. Ernst then began a cigar business. Scherrer received a headright Certificate Number 27 in Colorado County for one-third league of land. Joseph Biegel had received a land grant from the Mexican government and persuaded Scherrer to buy one-quarter of a league of land from him and settle in what was later called Biegel Settlement. Since neither Biegel nor his wife could read or write, Scherrer was an asset to them and the community. He owned a freighting business and was a successful farmer and a leading citizen. During the Texas Revolution Scherrer served as a soldier in the John York Company of Edward Burleson's Regiment. Also, he served in the volunteer unit of the "Dixie Greys" during the Civil War. It was organized on June 8, 1861. After the republic was formed, Scherrer was appointed justice of the peace of Precinct Number 3 in Fayette County by President Sam Houston. Also, he served as county commissioner in charge of roads and bridges from Biegel to Rutersville along the La Bahia Road. He was appointed commissioner in 1842 and 1847. On February 3, 1845, Bernard Scherrer and Gesine Eliza Margarete Koch were united in marriage at Industry by his good friend, Friedrich Ernst. They had seven children. Bernard Scherrer lived on his farm in the Biegel Settlement until his death on November 15, 1892. All that remained of the Scherrer estate in 1990 was a little log cabin in Henkel Square in Round Top. The cabin was his first home in Texas. The land he owned is now covered by the waters of the Fayette Power Plant.

Emily Suzanne Carter and Crystal Sasse Ragsdale, Biegel Settlement: Historic Sites Research, Fayette Power Project, Fayette County (Texas Archeological Survey Research Report 9, University of Texas at Austin, 1976). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).


  • Peoples
  • Swiss
  • Business
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Politics and Government
  • Military
  • Soldiers

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

Julia Collins, “Scherrer, Bernard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022,

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July 1, 1995
February 19, 2019