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Tatsch, John Peter (1822–1907)

Martin Donell Kohout Biography Entry

John Peter Tatsch, master cabinetmaker, son of Peter and Hanna Elizabeth Tatsch, was born in Irmenach, in the Hunsr├╝ck region of western Germany, on July 26, 1822. He married a distant cousin, Maria Elizabeth Tatsch, on January 26, 1847; they had two daughters. The family sailed to Texas in 1852 with Tatsch's brother and sister-in-law and with Heinrich Ochs, an Irmenach schoolmate of Tatsch's. In Fredericksburg Tatsch opened a workshop and began producing furniture made of a number of local woods, including cherry, oak, walnut, and hackberry. His wardrobes remain a desirable item for collectors of Texas primitive furniture. He built a barn and stone house, apparently the first such structure in Fredericksburg; the house featured an inside stairway to the attic, rather than the outside stairway that had been characteristic of Fredericksburg houses, and a huge fireplace and chimney in one corner. The house was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the United States Department of the Interior and its plans placed in the Library of Congress during the Texas Centennial in 1936; it was made a Texas historic landmark in 1965. In Fredericksburg Tatsch and his wife had three more children. They were educated at the Zion Lutheran Church school and in the Fredericksburg public schools. During the Civil War Tatsch served as a Minute Ranger. He later joined the Fredericksburg Workmen's Association, founded in 1874, and was a charter member of Terry Post No. 64 of the Grand Army of the Republic, founded in 1892. Tatsch's wife died on November 20, 1885; he died on May 1, 1907, and was buried in the City Cemetery, Fredericksburg.

Don Hampton Biggers, German Pioneers in Texas (Fredericksburg, Texas: Fredericksburg Publishing, 1925). Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974). Elise Kowert, Old Homes and Buildings of Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Texas: Fredericksburg Publishing, 1977).


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Visual Arts
  • Arts and Crafts

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

Martin Donell Kohout, “Tatsch, John Peter,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 08, 2021,

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