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OCHS, HEINRICH (1821–1897). Heinrich Ochs, pioneer Gillespie County schoolteacher, was born in Irmenach, Germany, on October 19, 1821. He was a schoolmate of John Peter Tatsch and taught for ten years in Germany before sailing for Texas from Koblenz with his grandfather and two brothers. He went first to New Braunfels and then to Fredericksburg, where he replaced Gottlieb Burchard Dangers as teacher on January 1, 1852. Ochs married Elizabeth Otto of Westphalia, Germany, on July 23, 1854. They eventually had six children, of whom only two lived to adulthood. Ochs taught in the Vereins-kirche until 1856, when the first public school in Fredericksburg was established. He became an American citizen in 1858 and taught at the Meusebach Creek community school until the next year, when he was elected Gillespie county clerk. He was county clerk for ten years and in 1867 was among the first ten recipients of state teaching certificates in Gillespie County. He later opened a saloon. Ochs was a prolific writer who continued to teach in Fredericksburg until his death. In 1896 Ochs served as honorary president of Fredericksburg's fiftieth anniversary celebration and wrote an introduction for Robert Penniger's history of the town. When he died he left manuscripts of some 350 poems, most with patriotic themes. Ochs died on February 6, 1897, and was buried in Fredericksburg.


Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974). Ella Amanda Gold, The History of Education in Gillespie County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1945). Robert Penniger, ed., Fredericksburg, Texas (Fredericksburg: Fredericksburg Publishing, 1971).

Martin Donell Kohout


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

Martin Donell Kohout, "OCHS, HEINRICH," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.