Christian Gotthelf Wertzner, early German settler and soldier in the battle of San Jacinto, was born at Wolkenstein, Saxony, on March 7, 1800, the son of Karl Wertzner, a notions merchant. He was educated in the public school of Wolkenstein and worked as a tailor. In February 1830 Wertzner moved to Texas and became a member of Stephen F. Austin's colony. He was one of the earliest German immigrants to Texas and was living in San Felipe when Friedrich Ernst and his family arrived in 1831. In the battle of San Jacinto, Wertzner fought along with other Fayette County recruits in Company F, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, under the command of William J. E. Heard. He served in the Texas army from February until May 10, 1836, and in Capt. John York's Ranging Corps from July 20 to November 20, 1836. Wertzner served on the first grand jury in San Felipe in October 1837 and located his headright, one-third league, in Fayette County. He lived, however, on Joseph Biegel's league and was instrumental in developing the Biegel settlement, which, founded in 1832, was the second German settlement in Texas. In 1839 he bought 1,872 acres from Biegel and sold parcels to other settlers. Also in 1839 he received a donation certificate for 640 acres from the Texas Secretary of War for his services in the battle of San Jacinto; by 1848 the 640 acres had been surveyed and patented to him in Live Oak County. He was joined by his sister Christiane and her daughter and son-in-law, Agnes and Carl Wolle, in 1848. The Wolles and their descendents helped populate the Biegel settlement, and their home still stands near Wertzner Creek. In 1840 Wertzner married Caroline Gosiken; the couple had no children. Christian Wertzner's homestead, near Wertzner Creek on the Biegel league, was purchased by the Wolle family after his death. Wertzner died the first week of June 1852, while working with a surveying party at Shaw's Bend on the Colorado River near Columbus. Wertzner's relatives were not known to the surveyors, so he was buried by his companions, presumably in the Gay family cemetery at Gay Hill, a short distance from his homestead. A state historical marker was placed in 1936 over this unmarked grave near Ellinger about six miles southeast of La Grange; the marker honors Wertzner as the first permanent German settler of Fayette County. His nephew and heir, Carl Wertzner, emigrated from Saxony in 1855 and served as postmaster of Bastrop from 1865 to 1885.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Thomas L. Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835–1888 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Harold Schoen, comp., Monuments Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Centenary of Texas Independence (Austin: Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, 1938). Moritz Tiling, History of the German Element in Texas (Houston: Rein and Sons, 1913). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).
Founders and Pioneers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Daphne Dalton Garrett,
“Wertzner, Christian Gotthelf,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 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.