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Logo for Adelsverein
The logo for the Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, otherwise known as Adelsverein. Image available on the Internet. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
De Cordova’s Map of Texas, updated by Karl Pressler
Illustration, Jacob De Cordova’s Map of Texas, updated by Karl Pressler. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
German Free School
Photograph, German Free School building in Austin. Image courtesy of the German Texas Heritage Society. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

PRESSLER, KARL WILHELM (1823–1907). Karl Wilhelm Pressler (Presler), surveyor and cartographer, was born on March 26, 1823, at Kendelbrück in Thuringia, Prussia. Upon graduation from the Luthergymnasium in Eisleben on April 1, 1841, he entered a surveyor's school at Weissensee; he passed the surveyor's examination in 1844, when he entered the Prussian state service. Dissatisfied with political and religious conditions, he left Prussia in 1845 as a member of the Adelsverein and landed in Galveston, Texas, about February 1, 1846. His name gradually became anglicized to Charles William. He moved to Austin and was employed by Jacob De Cordova, who made him the head of surveying expeditions in 1846 and 1847. Pressler checked the details of De Cordova's first map of Texas, issued in 1849. He surveyed in Guadalupe County in March 1848 and that summer returned to Germany. On June 18, 1849, he married Clara Johanna Doerk in Eisleben. They returned to Texas, where Pressler purchased a farm near New Ulm in Austin County. After moving to Austin in December 1850 he became a draftsman in the General Land Office. He became principal draftsman in 1858 and chief draftsman in 1865 and, except for short periods of service elsewhere, served until his retirement on January 16, 1899. In 1851 he and W. Voelker issued a map of Texas that was published in Germany and appeared in George M. von Ross's Der nordamerikanische Freistaat Texas (1851), a descriptive book on Texas for the use of immigrants. Pressler was one of the incorporators of the German Free School Association of Austin in 1858. He computed the area of the counties in Texas for De Cordova's Texas: Her Resources and Her Public Men (1858), revised and corrected De Cordova's 1856 map of Texas, and in 1858 published his own map of the state. He worked for the engineering department of the Confederacy before receiving his captaincy on June 30, 1864, in the Texas Infantry. During the summer of 1867 he was city engineer for Galveston, and the same year his 1858 map of Texas, revised in 1862, was again revised and issued as the Traveler's Map of the State of Texas. In 1870 he was employed by the United States commissary service, for which he compiled a map showing a new route from Austin to Fort Yuma, Arizona. From June 26 to October 22, 1869, he accompanied Capt. L. C. Overman of the United States Engineering Corps on an expedition to survey and inspect forts Richardson, Griffin, Concho, McKavett, Clark, Duncan, and McIntosh. In 1879 Pressler and Langermann issued a map of Texas in three sizes, and in 1889 Pressler prepared a map of Texas that was never published. He is also credited with the preparation of thirty-eight Texas county maps. Pressler died on February 6, 1907, in Austin and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery; he was survived by his wife and four children.


Austin Statesman, February 7, 1907. Dallas Morning News, February 25, 1906. Galveston News, February 26, 1906.

Charles A. Pressler

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Charles A. Pressler, "Pressler, Karl Wilhelm," accessed October 24, 2016,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 2, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.