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Adolph Albert von Reichenau Historical Marker Dedication
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 • Posted September 30, 2009

Adolph Albert von Reichenau, adventuresome youth, soldier, Indian fighter, Texas Ranger, rancher, friend, father, and citizen of Texas was born in the Frankfurt, Dillenburg, Nassau area of Germany November 16,1822 or 1824. St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Mason shows his birth as November 16, 1822 which I think is the right date.

His father was in the military, probably in the Prussian Army, and when he died his mother remarried. Adolph didn’t get along with his stepfather. At that time all the young men were required to serve in the military for 5 years. The conditions and his dislike for his stepfather prompted young Adolph to seek a new life in America.

Adolph sailed from Bremen to New York in 1836 when he was about 14 years old. He told people he was 16 and I think that is why we have two different ages for him. Adolph had a bachelor uncle living in New York who aided Adolph in financing his passage to America. Adolph lived with his uncle about two years and concentrated on learning to read, write, and speak English.

When he was about 16 or 17 he got “Texas Fever” and could not resist the beckoning call of the new republic of Texas. He took a ship to New Orleans and worked near the wharves as a bartender, waiter, or worker in a hotel. He contracted yellow fever while he was there and almost died.

I think Adolph moved to Nacogdoches, Texas by 1840 because Adolph Riemann was listed on the tax roll with a saddle horse and a silver pocket watch. I think Adolph joined the volunteers from the Nacogdoches area and went to Brownsville and fought in the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Resaca de la Palma.

Adolph’s pension application statement for the Mexican War was filed on July 25, 1887 when he was 64 years old. He stated he fought in the Battle of Palo Alto, the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. On his papers the word Nacogdoches was marked through and Carmago was left as his enlistment place.

The Louisiana Grays arrived too late for the battles and were camped at Matamoros. Adolph joined them later. Louisiana military records show that Albert Reichener was 22 years old and enlisted with the volunteers as a private in 3rd Company D commanded by Capt. Dippacher part of the 4th Regiment of Colonel Horatio Davis, part of the 2nd Battalion of Louisiana Volunteer Artillery known as the Louisiana Grays for three months.

Eighty men under the leadership of Captain Albert G. Blanchard formed the Independent Company of Louisiana, known as the Phoenix Regiment of Louisiana Volunteers on July 28, 1846 after the Louisiana Brigade disbanded. Adolph’s records show he served with Blanchard’s Phoenix Regiment.

On August 6th, 1846, General Persifor F. Smith’s Brigade, now composed of the 5th and 7th Infantry of the 2nd Division of the regular U.S. army, and Captain Blanchard’s Phoenix Regiment of Louisiana Volunteers came up to Comargo. This group joined the advance on Monterrey by General Taylor’s army. They reached Monterrey on September 19, 1846.

General Worth troops attack Federation Ridge, 380 feet high, with steep slopes covered with thorny chaparral. Earthworks were built on the northwestern edge and on the other end was a fort called El Soldado or Devil’s Fort. Their objective was won.

General Worth next objective was Independence Ridge. It had fortifications on the east end and Bishop’s Palace on the west end of the ridge.

On September 22, 1846, at three in the morning in a misting rain, the attacking force reached the base of the ridge and divided into two groups. One group to attack the northwest slope and the other group moved up the southwest slope. The attackers found the going very difficult. The ridge was 700 to 800 feet high, and the sides were in places almost perpendicular. The men silently crept and climbed up the steep cliff in the dark. When they were within twenty yards of the crest they fired a volley and charged.

Adolph told his son Hugo, that they were all scared until the first shot was fired. Then the blood thirsty Rangers started screaming “Remember the Alamo”, Remember, La Bahia”. All of the troops joined in the yells. The Mexicans fled in confusion toward the Bishop’s Palace and down the hill to the city.

The Americans opened fire on Bishop’s Palace with a twelve-pound cannon that had been dragged to the top of the hill by fifty men. The Mexicans returned fire. The Americans advanced down the hill and took cover. The Rangers took concealed positions on the right and left slopes and behind them were several companies of regulars.

Adolph was serving under Captain Samuel C. Scott in Albert C. Blanchard’s Regiment which occupied the center of the ridge, facing the Palace. They were the only Americans visible to the Mexicans. The Mexicans were reinforced with infantry and cavalry from the city. Bugles sounded and the Mexican force advanced. Blanchard’s company fell back to the rear. The Mexicans followed them and were greeted by the roar of guns from the Texans and then the regulars. The Mexicans fled to the Palace, the fort, and into the city. The American artillery opened up on the Palace and it was soon captured about four in the afternoon.

Adolph told his son Hugo, they took one building and chased the Mexicans to another building. The Americans had little ammunition and ran out of cannon balls. They put horseshoes, rocks, chains, glass, nails, and anything else they found into their cannon and shot it at the Mexicans. This did a lot of damage and the fort was taken.

Adolph told his son Hugo, that he was wounded in his right knee but fought on until the battle was over. He said there was so much excitement that he didn’t even realize he was wounded until another soldier told him he was shot. He said that when he looked down and saw all of the blood on his knee he passed out.

General Taylor’s troops were also in battles at Saltillo and Buena Vista in February 1847. It is thought that Adolph received his second wound from a lance in his upper chest or shoulder at Buena Vista when their mounted lancers made attacks on the Americans. The pack that he wore in front prevented the lance from penetrating too deep and killing him.

Military records reveal that Captain Blanchard’s Independent Company of Louisiana Volunteers was discharged at Comargo, Mexico at the U.S. Army Deport in May of 1847.

Colonel Jack Hays organized a new regiment of Rangers, called the 1st Texas Mounted Volunteers. Five companies stayed in Texas and five went to Comargo.

Albert Richeno appears on the muster rolls of the Texas Mounted Volunteers as being enrolled at Comargo July 1, 1847 in Colonel John C. Hays’2nd Regiment, in Major Michael Chevallie’s Battalion, in Captain Bayor Reed’s Company as a Private Farrier meaning he took care of the horses.

General Winfield Scott’s troops landed at Veracruz and quickly muscled their way into Mexico City. The troops faced a wild, rugged country infested with guerrilla fighters.

Jack Hays new regiment of Rangers joined General Scott in Vera Cruz and launched their own campaign of terror while keeping communication and supply lines open between Veracruz and Mexico City for the troops. They continued scouting and military duties throughout the balance of the Mexican War. Adolph served under Captain Reed and Chevallie during engagements with Mexican guerrillas at Teotihuacán, Zacualtipán, Encarnation, Salado, and Vera Cruz. The rangers were so ruthless and lethal against Mexican guerrillas that the people called them “los diablos Tejanos” or the Devil Texans.

General Santa Anna was captured and transferred by carriage to Vera Cruz, where he was to be sent to the United States. Adolph was among the men who lined both sides of the road to see him in defeat. Observing the defeat of the Napoleon of the West had a lasting impression on the young Adolph Reichenau. Adolph remained with the rangers until the company was mustered out on June 29, 1848 at Camargo. He headed to San Antonio with many of the other rangers.

Colonel Hays formed a Ranger company of about 60 men who were paid by the United States. Each man had to furnish his own horse and weapons. The duties of the Rangers were to keep the Indians in check. Upon news of an Indian raid, or other acts of violence, they went in pursuit of the enemy immediately and meted out punishment.

Adolph was stationed with Captain Samuel Highsmith’s Ranger Company at Castell for the protection of Castell and other German settlements north of the Llano River.

In 1848 Colonel Jack Hays organized an expedition to establish a trade route from San Antonio to El Paso. Hays organized a party of 72 men some were citizens from San Antonio and Fredericksburg and 35 Rangers under Captain Highsmith. They followed the Llano River to its source on the South Fork. They got past the caverns and tall cliffs of the Pecos getting lost several times. They finally drag themselves and what was left of their wagons to the San Pedro River. They renamed it Devil’s River after spending three days trying to cross it. They were in very poor condition when the reached Presidio. They were re-provisioned and decided to return to San Antonio.

Adolph told his son, Hugo, many stories of the hardships of this expedition. They got lost in the Big Bend area and suffered greatly. They had to spend days getting across a river. They nearly starved and eat their pack mules, panther, snakes, skunks, any other small game available, and they even ate grass. They ran out of water and that was terrible until they found a partially dried up mud hole. One man let his horse go into the mud and the captain threatened to shoot the horse if he didn’t get it out. He said that horses were not as important as human life. The men squeezed the mud to get water out of it in order to survive.

Adolph filed his paperwork for Naturalization with John Hunter the clerk of the court in Fredericksburg about a year and a half after the war. He was the second man to file his papers. Hunter was the clerk of the court and kept the record books in his store. Hunter killed one of the soldiers stationed there and Adolph’s papers were burned when some soldiers burned his store in revenge. Adolph thought he was naturalized and did everything a citizen would do. He took the oath after the Civil War, sit on juries, and was presiding judge of elections several times, and was also elected and served as Justice of the Peace for Precinct No.3 for Mason County.

Adolph met Emilie Katherine Hedwig Arhelger and her family at a dance in Fredericksburg that he attended with her brother also a Ranger at Castell. Katherine, born May 11, 1830, was the daughter of a Fredericksburg pioneer family, Johan Jacob Arhelger and his wife Elizabeth Mueller from Ritterhausen, Dillenburg, in Nassau, Germany. Adolph and Katherine married October 16, 1848 in Fredericksburg.

Adolph and Katherine settled in the Live Oak Creek settlement, situated west of Fredericksburg on Live Oak Creek, a tributary of the Pedernales River. Their first child, Matihilda was born November 17, 1849 and she lived less than a month. Their second child Adolph Jacob was born November 17, 1850. Gustav “Gus”, their third child was born February 23, 1852. Augusta was born November 22, 1854.

The family continued farming and raising cattle at Live Oak Settlement until late in 1856 or early in 1857. They sold out and bought 160 areas in Leiningen Community located on the Llano River a few miles from Castell. Adolph ranched and raised cattle and hogs on shares for other people. While living in Leinining they had three more children. Emma their fifth child was born February 3, 1857. Ida was born April 11, 1859. Their seventh child another son, Albert was born January 5, 1861.

Adolph is listed in the Confederate Index for his services with the Llano County Minute Men or Rangers, TST. His commanding officer was Captain C.W. Dorsey. Adolph enlisted April 6, 1861 until March 1, 1862.

The men could stay at home until there was a threat of Indians then they would form a group and take care of the problem leaving their family at home unprotected. Katherine with her small children was a very brave lady as most of the pioneer women were.

Adolph also cherished a longing for the frontier and regions far removed from civilization’s confines. About 1860 Adolph entered into an agreement with Aaron Crownover, son of Arter Crownover, a Llano and Burnet County rancher. Adolph would range cattle in the Big Saline Valley of Kimble County on shares. The good range conditions would insure fat beef and a good calf crop. Adolph purchased improvements from Frank Putman in 1860 and also bought 16 sections of land for 10 cents per acre. The original grantee for Section 167 and 37 was B. Humbinger. The improvements consisted of a cabin and some stock pens and land Putman bought 1850’s.

Adolph was already grazing the Crownover cattle in the Big Saline Valley while he was serving as a Minute Man. His family stayed in Llano County during that time.

Adolph sold his ranch in Llano County to C. & A. Evans on July 20, 1862 and the family moved between July and November of 1862 to the Saline Valley.

Adolph and some of his sons would leave the house and stay gone for several days looking for cows. They returned November 7, 1862 to find Katherine had delivered a stillborn baby boy. They buried the baby between the cabin and the creek.

The family lived in the cabin which was located near a spring on the south side on Big Saline Creek. The back of the house was toward the creek. A big oak tree stood near the house called the Reichenau’s Oak. The family added another cabin and a porch between them called a Dog Trot. They enclosed the yard with a heavy cedar picket fence. The poles were sharpened to a point at one end that was used for the top and stuck side by side into the ground and tied together. They cut some small holes in the fence so they could shoot through it when the Indians attacked them. Heavy wooden corrals were built, and barns were constructed. Their stock pens where located near the Junction-Mason highway between the Gap and the creek.

The land provided them with ample game and honey for food. There was plenty of watercress in the creek. The valley was full of beautiful, brush-clad grassland and good grazing land adjacent to the creek, which was more like a small river. The Saline Creek was a favorite home for beaver, and numerous dams were built along its length. Buffalo even drifted into the valley. Gus Reichenau told stories about shooting four buffalo in a day. The family lived mainly on meat that was cooked on a long stick over a fire, cornbread, and lots of honey.

The family started taking care of some cattle for Tom Gamel, which included some milk cows. The family then had milk, butter, and cheese. They raised chickens, sheep, and hogs and had a garden. In 1863, Adolph’s poll tax for Menard County and the state were $1.38.

Charles Wartenbach, a young boy about twelve years old wandered up to the cabin one day. He was filthy dirty and covered with lice, tick bits and other insect bites. Charles lived with them several years. The family had friendly relations with the Indians who often camped at the spring of water on the Big Saline Creek below their cabin. The Indians would warn Adolph when hostile Indians were in the area. The campfires could be seen at the cabin at night.

One story Adolph told Hugo was about their relationship with the Indians who camped at the spring. One day a small Indian boy climbed over the tall picket fence and got into the Reichenau’s yard. The boy got sassy with Katherine and she turned her dogs on him and they treed him like a coon on top of the house. Adolph heard all of the commotion and came to see what was going on. He saw the treed boy and after talking to Katherine he went to the Indian camp. He told the chief what happened. The chief cut a switch and went to the house with Adolph. He got the boy down and gave him a good spanking with the switch.

The Reichenau’s cabin became the center of a new settlement. In 1862 George Braden, who worked for Adolph, built his family a home near the Reichenau’s cabin. The Gustave Schumann family moved to about three hundred yards from the Reichenau’s house. In 1862 and 1863 other families moving into the area were Louis Korn, Adam Rodenbush, Peter Harber, Jerry Walker, and Christian Winkel, Frank Hardin, John Jolley George Scott, Bill Parks Sr, Bill Parks Jr., Felix Hale, Jim Whitlock, Fred Connoway, Bill Parks Jr., Matthew A. Doyal, Frank Johnson, Hiram Casner, James Bolt, and Bate Berry.

The Reichenau family was blessed with another son Alexander August “Alex” on 1 Dec 1864.

It was shortly after the birth of Alex just about Christmas in 1864, when Alice Todd was captured at Todd Mountain near Mason. The next night Indians camped in the Reichenau’s horse pasture. It snowed that night. The next morning they discovered moccasin tracks in their yard where the Indians had taken some clothing off the line. They soon found where they had camped and tracks of a child that circled a tree many times so it was assumed the child had been tied to the tree. A party of men followed the trail. Captain H. Biberstein commanded a minuteman company, in Mason and Kimble Counties, 2nd Frontier District, Texas State Troops, Confederate States Army in 1864 and 1865. Some of the men on the Muster Roll for included First Lieutenant A.A. Rugerman of Kimble County; Second Sergeant George Braden; privates were Allen Gentry, Louis Korn, Gingo Gentry, John Hamilton, Rance Moore, and Gustave Schuman. This company was busy fighting a double enemy of both the Indians and bushwhackers. Both were known to be concentrated in Kimble County.

Adolph owned three big ox wagon called Chihuahua wagons, guaranteed to carry 10,000 pounds. It took about six yoke of oxen to haul one of the wagons. Adolph’s sons working under his guidance and directions hauled freight and supplies for the government from Austin, San Antonio, and Fredericksburg to Fort Mason, Fort McKavett, Fort Concho and as far away as Fort Stockton during the Civil War. They cut wood and a cord of wood sold for about $8.00 a cord when delivered to the forts. Haying was one of the ways of making money and it sold for about $23.00 a ton. Prairie grass stood waist high and higher all over the valley and Adolph and his older boys would cut the prairie hay delivered it to the military.

Adolph knew about what time to expect his sons back from a trip and would climb to the top of the flat-topped hill with his Spencer ball and cap type gun and watch for them. The land was fairly clear at that time so he could see in all directions for miles and miles and see the boys coming. The round trip took about three weeks by ox-cart.

After the war herds of cattle were driven to eastern Kansas and Abilene. Adolph left his family to make cattle drives up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Kansas. Gus, about fourteen, went with him. Adolph went as cattle boss on several of these drives. Adolph was known to be a very good man with cattle and horses. Adolph Jacob, about sixteen, would stay at home to help protect the family from Indians. The price of cattle dropped to almost nothing in Texas so they started to maverick, which means killing the cattle for only the hides.

The Reichenau family was blessed with their tenth child, Max born on July 23, 1867.

The Reichenau family maintained good relationship with the Indians until sometimes in 1867 when the Indians became hostile toward the family. The children played outdoors in the picket fenced area during the day, but when night fell they were careful to be inside.

The Apaches and Comanche Indians got very bad in that area and a number of settlers were killed. They made an attack on Bill Park’s cabin and killed and scalped the family and burned their cabin. Shortly after that the Indians attacked and killed Gus Schumman and his 12 year old son Billy while they were building their new cabin.

One of the Reichenau boys had gone after the horses and saw some unfriendly Indians and quickly lay down and hid. The Indians went right by him. He got out unseen, but the Indians got away with part of their horses.

The Indians would steal carried off everything they could lay their hands on. In an Indian depredation affidavit Adolph filed in the clerk’s office in Mason showed him many loses.

On December 10, 1868 the Apaches stole 17 horses and Adolph and his sons had a fight with them but they got away with the horses anyway.

In June 1868 during the full moon the Comanche stole 11 horses they had just shod to go on a round up the next day.

During the full moon in September of 1868 the Indians stole 18 yoke of work oxen and 9 horses. This lost caused Adolph not to be able to continue his freighting business.

On March 15, 1869 many of Adolph’s neighbors were at their ranch trading horses for fat cattle with some Mexicans. Comanche stole over a hundred horses they had with them. They stole 24 horses from Adolph and even his own saddle horse.

The family lost everything except a yoke of oxen, a milk cow, and a wagon that they had kept inside of the picket fence. Not many moons passed before all of the Reichenau’s dogs were shot full of arrows one night. Adolph took this as a sign or final warning that his family would be next ones killed.

Adolph abandoned his ranch and moved his family to a more secure place. They put everything they could carry into the wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen, and leading one milk cow they walked barefoot down the Llano River to Hedwig’s Hill Community with only what they could carry. They left all their hard work on their ranch.

They rented the Anderson’s small vacant two-story rock house in Hedwig’s Hill near the Llano River from Mrs. Martin until they could build another house on some land that was located seven to eight miles upstream on the Llano River in the Simonsville Community. They finished the cabin and the family moved in early of 1870.

Emil Reichenau, their 11th child was born April 19, 1870.

Most of the family got sick with Typhoid Fever and Emil, died Oct 27, 1870 and was buried in Bast Cemetery. Adolph decided the water wasn’t healthy and made plans to build a new house.

They had their 12th and last child Olga Lina on October 24, 1871 at the cabin.

The family finished building a large log and native stone, story and half seven room house in Simonsville in 1875. They had lived there before it was completed.

By early March of 1875 a feud, called the Mason County War or Hoo-Doo War broke out between German settlers and native - Americans in Mason County. Scott Cooley’s led the anti - German gang. There were several killings.

Scott Cooley had sworn to others around Mason County that he would kill Reichenau. Word circulated that a raid would be made on several of the German settlers including the Reichenau family. Adolph took this threat seriously and that night he hid his family on the hill behind the house. He usually slept on the porch in the summer so he stuffed the bed to make it look like some one was sleeping there. After this he joined his family on the hill. Several riders rode up and shot the bed full of holes that night. The bullet holes were covered with plaster but some of the holes could still be seen in the walls in 1958.

Katherine had a relapse of Typhoid fever and died on February 13, 1877, at the age of 47. She was buried in a plot across the road from their home. This was the beginning of the Reichenau Cemetery.

Adolph met his second wife Johanna Wilhelmina Christiana Molderhauer at the William Koock store in Koocksville, where she was working as a housekeeper and in the store.

Johanna was born November 5, 1949, in Machtshausen, Bilderlahe, Hanover, Germany, the youngest daughter of Christian Conrad Moldenhauer and Johanna Henrietta Warnke. Johanna’s father died and the family immigrated to Texas in 1876.

Adolph and Johanna married August 25, 1879 in Mason. Adolph was 28 years older than Johanna. Adolph was 57 years old and Johanna was 29 years old when they married. Johanna’s mother, Henrietta lived with them. Adolph still had Adolph, Ida, Albert, Alex, Max and Olga at home when they married

Johanna and Adolph’s first child, a baby girl, was stillborn in 1880 at their home in Simonsville. She was named Christiana and was buried in the Reichenau Cemetery across the road from their home next to Katherine.

The second child of Adolph and Johanna was a son named Hugo Robert Hugo was born March 26, 1882 when his father was 60 years old.

The third child of Adolph and Johanna was Katherine Margareta “Katie” was born August 29, 1884. Their fourth and last child was another son, William Mathews “Willie or Himmy” was born January 30, 1886.

Adolph’s old knee wound from the Mexican War started acting up in his late 70s. He became unable to use his leg and was bedfast for a couple of years. His sons Hugo and Willie took over the ranch. Hugo said, he would sit and listen to his dad tell and retell stories about the Mexican War, the Rangers, Big Saline Settlement ranch, his cattle drives, and many Indian adventures.

Adolph Albert Reichenau died in his residence in Simonsville on December 23, 1904 at the age of 82 years. He was buried in the Reichenau Cemetery near his first wife Katherine.

Johanna remained at the ranch and raised their children. Later she traveled between her children’s homes living with them three months at a time. Johanna died in her daughter, Katie’s home in Doss on April 4, 1943 at the age of 93 ½ years. She was buried, next to her beloved husband, Adolph in the Reichenau Family Cemetery.

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