Wolfenberger, Samuel (1804–1860)

By: Deed L. Vest

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: March 30, 2019

Samuel Wolfenberger, soldier, public official, and rancher, was born in Wytheville, Virginia, on April 8, 1804, the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Mueller) Wolfenberger. From 1821 to 1824 he worked in various communities in Virginia, including Amsterdam, where he learned the trade of wagonmaker and wheelwright. In 1825 he was in Tennessee, where in Hawkins County in 1827 he was married to Caroline Fleshheart (or Fliesart); they became the parents of eight children. In 1830 the Wolfenbergers moved to Marion County, Missouri, and then to Texas in 1831, settling in the area that was to become the Mina Municipality and in later years Bastrop; there he worked as a wheelwright. He fought under Lt. William Jarvis Russell's command in the battle of Velasco in June 1832. In 1834 he was named alcalde of Mina Municipality and helped form the first Committee of Safety and Correspondence on May 8, 1835. On November 28, 1835, at San Felipe de Austin he was named one of the commissioners responsible for the organization of the Texas militia within the jurisdiction of Mina. Earlier that month, on November 17, he had enlisted in the Mina Volunteers for the campaign in San Antonio de Bexar and took part in the siege of Bexar in early December 1835. He was discharged from the Texas army in San Antonio on December 13, 1835. There is no record of Wolfenberger having served in the Texas army during spring 1836, although within a year after that he served as second sergeant in Robert M. Coleman's company of rangers (forerunner of the Texas Rangers) with headquarters at Coleman's Fort on the Colorado. During this time he also served as coroner and as assessor and administrator for the probate court of Bastrop County. In 1839 he was named county tax collector. In 1836 he received a league and labor of land on Bastrop County on Walnut Creek. Wolfenberger had registered his SW cattle brand as early as 1838, when he began ranching. In 1845 he served as financial director to the county. From 1848 until the time of his death he raised cotton and with his sons was engaged in freighting goods on the Old San Antonio Road. In August 1854 Wolfenberger, C. Meriday, and W. E. Stone were designated trustees for school district 19, later called Wolf Ridge; they located the school on land purchased on Cedar Hollow Creek. Samuel Wolfenberger died on April 10, 1860, and was buried ten miles southwest of Bastrop in the Wolfenberger cemetery, which was still maintained by members of the family in the 1970s. The state of Texas placed a marker at his grave in 1957.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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

Deed L. Vest, “Wolfenberger, Samuel,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wolfenberger-samuel.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 30, 2019