Legislature establishes Gillespie County
On this day in 1848, the Texas legislature formally marked off Gillespie County from Bexar and Travis counties. The first known residents of
Gillespie County, in west central Texas, were the Tonkawa Indians. By the nineteenth century, Comanches and Kiowas had also moved into
the area. The future county was first settled by Europeans in 1846, when John O. Meusebach led a group of 120 Germans sponsored by the
Adelsverein to the site of Fredericksburg, which became one in a series of German communities between the Texas coast and the Fisher-Miller
Land Grant. Fredericksburg and the surrounding rural areas grew quickly, and in December 1847, 150 settlers petitioned the legislature to establish
a new county, which they suggested be named either Pierdenales or Germania. Instead, the legislature named it after Capt. Robert A.
Gillespie, a hero of the recent Mexican War, and made Fredericksburg the county seat. Gillespie County originally included areas that today
are parts of Blanco, Burnet, Llano, and Mason counties. The people of Gillespie County have always been proud of their German heritage
and pioneer history. In 1896 Robert G. Penniger wrote a book in German marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Fredericksburg
and, with it, Gillespie County. The people of Gillespie County marked this occasion with a gala celebration at which the fifty-five surviving
original settlers were honored.
From the Texas State Historical Association
Trevia Wooster Beverly
Coordinator, Angelina College Genealogy Conference
Harris County Historical Commission (1995 - )