BERLIN, TEXAS. Berlin is on U.S. Highway 290 about three miles west of Brenham in central Washington County. The area was first settled in 1848 by the Valentin Hoffmann family, who emigrated from Hesse, Germany, in 1846. In 1851 Hoffmann purchased 156 acres of land. Three of his sons served in the Confederate Army, and after the war two of them established a cotton gin-gristmill in Berlin. Among the early settlers were F. W. Schürenberg, who came to Washington County from Germany in 1848 and engaged in farming and blacksmithing in Berlin, and Herman Knittel, born in Silesia, who operated a mercantile business and served as postmaster of Berlin after his return from Confederate service. On December 24, 1854, Rev. Johann G. Ebinger, a Lutheran pastor, came to preach to the German settlers in the county at Berlin and held the first Lutheran services in the county. Ludwig Lehmann, who was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1794, and emigrated from Brandenburg, Prussia, in 1849, donated eleven acres for a school and church building, and plans to organize a congregation were made. The first church in Berlin was built of logs in 1855, the second was a frame building, and another frame building was erected in 1880. A county public school formed the nucleus of this German settlement until it was consolidated with the Brenham Independent School District in 1956. In the late 1980s the site of Berlin was marked by a church building constructed in 1955, a parsonage, and the cemetery, which dates to the late 1850s. A three-community (Berlin, Zionsville, Mill Creek) fire-department building in the vicinity was used for community gatherings. Eben-Ezer Lutheran Church received a state historical marker in 1974.
Annie Maud Avis, ed., History of Burton (Burton, Texas, 1974). Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Elizabeth A. J. Lehmann, From Hesse, Germany to Texas, 1846: The Valentin Hoffmann Family (Brenham, Texas, 1981). Mrs. R. E. Pennington, History of Brenham and Washington County (Houston, 1915). Charles F. Schmidt, History of Washington County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1949).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Elizabeth Lehmann, "BERLIN, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrb26), accessed February 11, 2016. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on August 20, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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