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William Wallace Watkins and Charles Wartenbach, Sr. Families Hold First Reunion in Mason October 8-1
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 • Posted October 6, 2010

Members of the William Wallace and Sara Jane Taylor Watkins family will be meeting with members of the Charles Wartenbach family during the week of October 8-10, 2010 in Mason, Texas for a first-ever joint reunion of its kind for these two historic families.

Through genealogy interests of several of each family’s members, connections began in April of this year. Emails started going back and forth between people who have never met each other, and soon, plans begin forming to "meet in Mason this fall". All that resulted in this joint family reunion.

It is through the Internet that people have connected to each other from across the United States. These are strangers by all rights, yet connected by blood from our past ancestors, most of these two families are from the Hill Country, and they each have interesting stories and events that brought them together – back in the 1800’s.

William Wallace Watkins was born on Jan 6, 1843 in Jackson County, IA and died April 13, 1924 in Mason, TX. He served as a Texas Ranger in Capt. G. S. Fitzhugh’s Company from April 14 to October 25, 1860. He also served in the Texas Army during the Civil War. (Source: Reproduction from the Holdings of the Texas State Archives. Excerpts from: Texas Ranger Indian War Pensions).

According to family stories handed down... Sarah Jane Taylor was full blood Indian... the story that they told was that she and her "brother" were found in a wagon after a massacre by the Indians... They were just babies and they couldn’t tell anyone who they were or where they came from. The wagon train was wiped out and the wagon they were found in was the Taylor wagon. The little boy, Johnny, was blonde headed and blue eyed and she was black headed and had black eyes. No one seems to know what happened to the boy after that day

The story continues that William Wallace Watkins raised the little girl and when Sarah Jane got old enough he married her. Together, they had 11 children. Those children are: William Elijah Watkins, who married Minnie Jane Freeze, daughter of Alexander R. Freeze (He was from Mason also) and Chessie See; Meda Pearl Wartenbach, who married Emil Wartenbach; Minnie who married Cody Truelove, Wallis Watkins, who died young; Laura Elena Smith, who married William Smith; Mamie who married Finis Alexander; Ella, who married Raymond Wood; Martha Watkins, who died young; Emma, who married John Elkins; Loney Watkins, and Iva Jean, who married Benjamin Elkins. Several of these family members are buried in the Crosby-Koocksville Cemetery while others are buried in Brownwood, TX.

Charles Wartenbach, Sr. was born in New Braunfels, Texas on March 12, 1848, to William and Caroline Wartenbach. They had emigrated from Germany with the first surge of German immigrants. The family moved on to Fredericksburg, Texas, and the 1850 census shows they lived there with four of their children.

Little is known of Charles Wartenbach in those days except that in 1864 he met Anna Metzger who would later become his bride.

Anna was the daughter of Peter and Anna Metzger. She had been born on April 15, 1852 in Nassau, Germany, and had come to Fredericksburg when only six months old. Her family had settled in the Palo Alto Creek area and later moved to about half the distance between Palo Alto and Fredericksburg. To help out, the older girls were hired out as household servants. lt was in the winter of 1864 that Anna and her sister, Emma were sent to deliver a message to their sister, Katy, who was working at the Nimitz Hotel. lt was a short distance and the ground was covered with snow. Anna and Emma lingered, visiting with friends; one who was Charles Wartenbach.

They had traveled only a short distance when they met a band of Indians. They were grabbed and Emma tried to escape. She was killed as she knelt praying, scalped and mutilated as Anna watched from the horse on which she had been tied. The stories of the horrors she endured have been told at great length and to elaborate at this time would be unnecessary, but the effect of those nine months with the Indians were never erased from her mind.

Anna married Charles Wartenbach in 1869 and they moved to the Mill Creek Ranch where Charles worked for J. W. Gamel. In 1871, they bought a tract of land on the Llano and built a home there. In 1881, they sold this property to Joseph Bridges and the family moved to Mason where he owned and lived on several tracts of land both in Mason and Koocksville.

There were nine children born to this union: Fritz, who married Bertha Simon; their children were Charley Wartenbach, Josie Owens, lda Mae Griffith, and Oscar Wartenbach. Louis Wartenbach married Teckla Metzger, their children were Bessie Berry, Estella Griffith, Margaret Ince, Lillie Doell, Carl Wartenbach, Millie Gross, and Rudolph Wartenbach. John Wartenbach married Alice Feller, no issue. Will Wartenbach married Nellie Feller, children were Arthur and Chester Wartenbach. Katie Wartenbach married Will Ziriax, their children were John Ziriax, Alma Reichenau, Elsie Johnson, Mayme Loeffler, and Claris Carroll. Wendlin Wartenbach married Grace Derby, their children were Perry Wartenbach, Anna Brown, Geneva Cavaness, and Ben Wartenbach. He later married Sara Price. Emil Wartenbach married Pearl Watkins, their children Wallace Wartenbach, lrene Doyal, and Elgin Wartenbach. Ed Wartenbach married Minnie Haler, their child was Sterling Wartenbach. Amalia died in infancy.

Charles Wartenbach was a mail carrier from Burnet to Fredericksburg for a number of years and Mason was added to his ride. Mason’s people will also remember him as one of the early law men. He served as constable for Precinct 5 from 1892-1901 and for Precinct 1 from 1902-1913. During 1894, he was also Justice of the Peace. Anna Wartenbach died January 13.1917, during the flu epidemic in her home in Koocksville. Charles died May 12.1934.

Submitted by: Mrs. Hilton Moneyhon – Source: Mason County Historical Book, published 1976.

The reunion will be held throughout the weekend, beginning at the Mason County Clerk’s office where legal records will be researched on Friday, October 8. Following the first gathering at Willow Creek’s Café Friday, more research will be done in the clerk’s office and the Mason Library, churches, and museums. A ride through the Mason area to visit homestead sites and cemeteries will be part of the program. The group will use the Willow Creek Café to gather throughout the weekend.

Anyone related or friends of the members of the William Wallace Watkins or Charles Wartenbach families are encouraged to contact Reunion Coordinator, Dickie Day at 210-861-1205 or by email at dayd25@yahoo.com.

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