Zink, Nicolaus (1812–1887)

By: Crystal Sasse Ragsdale

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: May 7, 2016

Nicolaus Zink, whose name was given to the Zinkenburg, the first German structure in New Braunfels, was born in Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany, on February 4, 1812. A civil engineer and former Bavarian army officer, he moved with his wife Louise (von Kheusser) Zink to Texas in 1844 along with other German settlers under the auspices of the Adelsverein and the leadership of Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels. From December 1844 to March 1845 Zink supervised the move of approximately half of the German immigrants bound for New Braunfels from Indianola, by way of Victoria, McCoy's Creek, and Seguin. On March 21, 1845, the immigrants' wagons and pushcarts under Zink's command arrived at the site that was to become New Braunfels on the east bank of Comal Creek. Here on the rise of land where Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church was later built, Zink supervised the erection of a palisade to enclose the first tent settlement. The site was called Zinkenburg, and the Germans lived there until houses could be built. Zink made the original survey for the townsite of New Braunfels, as well as adjoining farmland, and Zink Street was named for him. He was given twenty-five acres in New Braunfels and 100 acres of farmland outside the town, which he divided into tracts for sale. In 1846 he was hauling passengers and merchandise from Houston to New Braunfels. In the fall of 1847 he was divorced from his wife for "unhappy differences." That year Zink left New Braunfels with the intention of going to Fredericksburg, but instead settled on land on Sister Creek, where he built a large log house with an upper story, the first building in what was to be Sisterdale, the most famed of the Latin settlements of Texas. Zink gained the reputation of being a successful farmer, of holding his own against the Comanches, and of getting a good price for the wheat he sold to the quartermasters of the neighboring army encampments. In 1850 he and his second wife, Elisabeth, sold their house and several acres of land to Edward Degener and began operation of a gristmill on Baron Creek south of Fredericksburg. In 1853 Zink was living in the newly established town of Comfort. In the 1870 Kendall County census Zink was listed as a fifty-nine-year-old shinglemaker with an English wife, Agnes, who was thirty-four years of age. Zink then settled in Spanish Pass, between Comfort and Boerne. He died on November 3, 1887, and was buried on a knoll near his home at Welfare.

Rudolph Biesele, "Early Times in New Braunfels and Comal County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50 (July 1946). Guido E. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rev. ed. 1974). San Antonio Express, March 4, 1934. Moritz Tiling, History of the German Element in Texas (Houston: Rein and Sons, 1913). Adolf Paul Weber, Deutsche Pioniere: zur Geschichte des Deutschthums in Texas (San Antonio, 1894).


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers

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

Crystal Sasse Ragsdale, “Zink, Nicolaus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 23, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/zink-nicolaus.

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May 7, 2016