REISDORFF, JOSEPH (1840–1922). Joseph Reisdorff, Catholic priest and colonizer of German settlements in Texas, was born on October 4, 1840, in Nievenheim, Rheinprovinz, Germany. He immigrated to the United States, studied at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was ordained a priest on March 16, 1872. He was assigned to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, before he moved to Texas in search of a more healthful climate. He arrived at the north central town of Windthorst in Archer County on December 31, 1891. Reisdorff traveled west through the Panhandle and established several towns in that area. In 1895 he was in Rhineland in Knox County, in 1902 he was in Nazareth in Castro County, and by 1907 he was in Umbarger in Randall County. Reisdorff encouraged his German countrymen to buy land at low prices and build homes. In each town he helped establish a Catholic parish with a resident priest and left to work in another settlement only after the community showed it was growing. Very often he would place ads in German-American newspapers, particularly in the Midwest, in order to attract settlers to the region. After a career of moving from place to place, he settled in Slaton, Lubbock County, on December 8, 1911, where he was parish priest until 1917, when he went on sick leave. He remained in Slaton until his death, on January 28, 1922. He was buried in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Castro County Historical Commission, Castro County, 1891–1981 (Dallas: Taylor, 1981). Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin. Charles P. Flanagin, The Origins of Nazareth, Texas (M.A. thesis, West Texas State College, 1948).
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