The earliest record of the Joseph
Nolte family in Matagorda was 1854 when Joseph's wife
Christina Berghard Nolte and her three-year-old son
Joseph, Jr., died. Franz Joseph Nolte was born on June
18, 1816, in Werxhausen, Germany, the son of Joachim and
Caroline Fredrich Nolte. Christina Berghard Nolte was
born in Germany about 1821. Her parents were Andreas
Georg and Catharina Wustefeld Berghard. Joseph Nolte and
Christina Berghard were married on January 22, 1844,
according to the Catholic Registers of Werxhausen,
The Nolte's first child Caroline
Amelia was born in 1845 at Werxhausen and was married on
February 28, 1860, to Sebastian Dietrich in Matagorda.
She died on May 12, 1906, and was buried in Matagorda.
Ellen, their second daughter, was born about 1846. She
married Charles W. Pipe on September 9, 1865, in
Matagorda and moved to South Dakota.
Carl "Charles" Nolte only surviving son of Joseph Nolte,
was born on April 16, 1848, and married Hannah Elizabeth
Sterry on May 8, 1873.
Bertha Frances was born about 1849, and married Martin
Jacob Funk on March 4, 1869. She died on March 7, 1875,
Joseph, Jr., (1851-1854) was buried in the Matagorda
The Nolte family were Catholics;
however, since there was no Roman Church in Matagorda,
they became members of Christ Episcopal Church. The name
of Joseph Nolte on a nameplate marked his family's pew
in the historic church.
On October 4, 1861, Joseph Nolte
enlisted in Company D., Six Regiment, Texas Infantry,
Captain E. A. Pearson's Company, at Victoria, Texas. He
was captured on January 11, 1863, at Arkansas Post and
transferred to Camp Butler prisoner of war camp in
Illinois. Due to illness, he received a 60 day furlough
on May 5, 1863, and signed the Parole of Honor on July
14, 1865, in Matagorda.
Joseph Nolte became a naturalized
citizen on August 6, 1867, when a "Letter of
Citizenship" was issued to him at the Matagorda County
Courthouse. He married Anna Shown, a widow, on May 26,
1870. The Texas Business Directory for 1878/9 lists him
under Justices of the Peace, Ex-Officio Notaries Public
of Matagorda County. Family tradition related that he
was elected County Judge the day he died, November 9,
1880. He was buried in the Matagorda Cemetery.
Carl "Charles" Nolte was six years
old when he came to Matagorda from Germany with his
family. He was, according to some family members,
already trained in the shoemaker trade. Although it was
not proven, he was said to have been captured by the
Yankees during the Civil War and taken to New Orleans.
Charles was a carpenter, and many monuments of his labor
remain. His family was residing in his first home by
October 4, 1876, when his second daughter Carrie was
born there. This story and a half home with its dormer
windows and covered front porch was still occupied in
the 1980s. When his family outgrew these quarters, he
built his two-story home on Matagorda's Main Street
about 1899. This home withstood many hurricanes and the
tidal wave of the early 1940s when the North living room
wall opened up in the corner and the piano floated out.
The house was remodeled by later occupants.
On May 8, 1873, Carl Nolte married
Hannah Elizabeth Sterry, daughter of James and Nancy
Wright Sterling Sterry. They were the parents of eight
1. Annie Mable ( August 20, 1874-September 8, 1961)
married first Oscar George and had Oscar Ezekiel and
Albert Lamar. Annie Mable married second Weston Bailey
and they had two daughters Rena Elizabeth and Dorothy
2. Caroline Amelia "Carrie" was born on October 4, 1876,
and on August 15, 1901, married Clarence Dietrich, her
first cousin. Their romantic elopement took place while
the prospective groom, with the assistance of his friend
Robert Phillips, "spirited" her trunk out the upstairs
window, down a ladder, and onto a waiting buggy. All the
while her unsuspecting parents were sitting on the front
gallery. The trunk was then loaded on this skiff and
rowed to Clarence's sloop in the bay, where the couple
set sail for Port Lavaca and were married by Judge Mahon
in the lobby of the Lavaca Hotel at midnight. Carrie
died in San Marcos, Texas, on February 4, 1956, and
Clarence died on September 28, 1924. They had no
children and were buried in Matagorda Cemetery.
3. Emma Louisa was born on July 31, 1879, and died on
July 31, 1881.
4. Arthur Pelton was born on July 14, 1881, and died on
February 27, 1884
5. Lorena May "Rena" ( March 21, 1883-September 17,
1959) was united in marriage on January 4, 1906, to
James Arthur Bruce, son of Charles David and Margaret
Jane Yeamans Bruce, in the parlor of her parents.
6. Fannie Elizabeth was born on April 9, 1887, and
married Frank Duffy on January 6, 1927. They were
childless, but she was a beloved favorite "Aunt Fannie"
to all her nieces and nephews. Her death occurred on
March 13, 1975. She was the last surviving child of
Charles and Hannah Nolte.
7. Carl Albert was born on June 25, 1891. He attended
Texas A & M College, and was an early employee of the
Matagorda Bank. He also served as a teller in the
Markham Bank. For many years he was the office manager
of Matagorda Shell Company. On June 12, 1935, he married
Ben Brookshire, a teacher in the Matagorda school from
Timpson, Texas. They had no children. He died on
November 8, 1954. His widow moved from Matagorda in
8. Bertha Lee was born on February 3, 1894, and married
Lemuel M. Blair on October 16, 1912. He died on March
28, 1928. They had one son William Nolte Blair.
Following the death of Carl Nolte's
sister Bertha Funk in Indianola in 1875, Carl and Hannah
reared his nephew Martin Jacob Funk.
Carl "Charles" and Hannah Nolte both
died of flu in December of 1927. They and all their
children were buried in the Matagorda Cemetery.
Historic Matagorda County,
Volume II, pages 377-378