On April 15, 2009, Heinrich “Henry” Leifeste was honored as a Citizen of the Republic of Texas. A Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) marker was placed on his grave at the Lower Willow Creek Cemetery. His great great granddaughters, Janice Olsen and Helen Kroh, both members of the DRT held the ceremony. Members of the Mason Historical Society attended. Janice’s mother, Helen Olsen, is also a member of the DRT but was unable to attend.
Heinrich “Henry” Leifeste left from Bremen, Germany in late 1845 on the Gerhard Herman. He arrived at Galveston on January 20, 1846. Both he and his brother, Friedrich are listed on the manifest (on file at the Texas Achieves in Austin). Family history reports their sister, Sophie, traveled with them.
After arriving at Galveston they continued on to Indianola, waiting for transportation to the Fisher Miller grant issued to the Society for the Protection of German Immigration in Texas. Because transportation was slow in coming, he volunteered for the US Army and served for several months traveling to Mexico.
He eventually made his way to Fredricksburg. On January 11, 1852 he married Margaretha Rheinhardt (Register Number 35, dated January 7, 1852, Fredricksburg). He declared his intention to become a US Citizen on April 30, 1852 (Case #211, District Court Minutes Volume A, page 98, Fredricksburg). He was granted citizenship on April 12, 1855 (District Court Minutes Volume A, page 175B).
Henry is listed as a laborer on Fredricksburg’s 1850 US Census. By the 1860 US Census the family, consisting of 4 children, is listed at Fort Mason (page 3). The family, with 8 children, is on page 2 of the Loyal Valley 1870 US Census. The 1880 US Census has the family (without Margaretha who died in 1875) under Commission Precinct 4, Mason County. Henry is last listed on a US Census in 1900 at Justice Precinct Number 6, Mason County. He was living with his daughter Maria Elizabeth who had married August Donop.
Henry and Margaretha raised 11 children. His oldest son, August Henry, also had 11 children. August’s oldest son, Robert, had 3 children. Robert’s oldest child is Annie Helen, the mother of Janice Olsen. His second child was Rachel, the mother of Helen Kroh.