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Posted:  Aug 15, 2011

      Our car club, Space City Ts of Houston, is hosting our 34th annual tour called The Texas T Party and this year it will be based in Bastrop. We currently have over 80 Model T Fords (1908-1927) registered to attend. Our function is a driving tour rather than a car show and on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 we will be driving from Bastrop to the Rosanky car museum. Our tour route will follow Lower Red Rock Road down from FM 304 and turn left at your museum so we are hoping that all or most of our people will stop and learn about Rockne.
      Our plans are progressing nicely and the next time we are in Bastrop, hopefully we will be able to stop and visit with the folks at your museum with more information.
- GayNell Cordes -, registrar for
Jeff and Luke Cordes, chairmen
2011 Texas T Party

Posted:  Jul 31, 2011
(in reference to the posting on Jul 24, 2011)

Editors note:
      Sandi' search proved fruitful and she said, "I have gathered lots and lots of little tid bits of information and stories! It is so exciting and interesting! I wish I had a lot more time to devote to it, but every-day life gets in the way!!"
      The happy ending was when Mr. Howard New at Bastrop Museum produced the article she mentions below:
      Marian! I hope you know how much I appreciate everything you have done to help me with my researching of Grandma's shooting! The article was the icing on the cake! Finding the date of the incident was a HUGE step for me!
Thank you so, so much!!!
- Sandi -

Posted:  Jul 24, 2011

      I wrote you in 2010 regarding my research of the shooting of my grandmother, Clara (Mrs. A.C.) Grohman in 1935. I continue to persevere in my project! I have discovered many bits of interesting information and seem to find out a new tidbit every time I conduct an interview! I wonder if any of your readers have newspaper articles from the Bastrop Advertiser or the Austin American Statesman that may be tucked away in a shoebox or scrapbook somewhere! How may I post such a request?!
Thank you!
- Sandi Smith Crinkelmeyer -

Posted:  May 26, 2011

      My 2G grandparents were Lawson Spivey Chambliss and Rebecca Thompson Clack (first wife). I found reference to the Chambliss Cemetery online and I followed the directions to try to locate it, but was unsuccessful. It's apparently very small, only 4 graves. L.S. Chambliss, his third wife Mary J, her son by her first marriage, and probably her younger sister. Are you familiar with this cemetery and do you know if it is still there? If so, please help me with directions so I can find it. Also, I see that you have a Chambliss book in your museum. I hope to take a day off work and come do some research there soon. Thank you for any help you can provide.
- Marcy Barnard Sprott -
Austin, TX
- Kim -
—   —   —   —   —
      Oh my gosh! You have a photo! That is so awesome. Thank you for sending and for your willingness to help me find it. I will see about coming down there on Saturday. Will let you know if I can make it work. Thanks sooo much!!
- Marcy -
—   —   —   —   —
Editors note:
      Marcy and her husband Rodney visited the Chambliss Cemetery and were so very thankful for all the information on hand at the Rockne Museum. RHA is happy to have been able to help and appreciate the generous donation from Marcy.

Posted:  Mar 15, 2011

Sandra (Rathman) Weaver (Book):
      I am researching the Obe Duran family and visited with my uncle Horace Duran yesterday afternoon. I was very surprised and pleased to see your book on the Chambliss line and would love to have a copy. If you would let me know the cost I can pick it up at your home or meet you somewhere. Thank you very much
- Sharon Boatright -
I am the Daughter of Uyless Duran and Ada Osbon Duran

Posted:  Jan 29, 2011

      I came across the name of Minnie Bartsch in a book about Coach Rockne and George Gibbs. I was quite surprised to see the name and it was actually spelled the way my father spelled his. Then when I saw all the letters from or about Bartsch on your mail call I was fascinated. Most of the family members of my father are gone and when I tried to find out anything from them about their parents and grandparents they told me they didn't know or care. One thought maybe the family Bartsch had come from Holland. They asked me why I wanted to know. So it's interesting to find out a little something even if they weren't family members. My Grandfather Bartsch died when I was very young so I know nothing about him. We didn't associate with my father's side of the family too often. He might have had a twin brother. Anyway, I just thought you might want to know about how I found out about you and why I wrote. Saw your message on the mail call of the Rockne, Tx Museum. There is a small number of Bartsch's in St. Louis, Mo.
- Terrie Jacks -

Posted:  Jan 22, 2011

      My name is Isabel and I was wondering if you could help me out. I, as many who meet him, once was touched by Father Chris. I lived in Gary, IN as a young girl when he was the priest there but moved away to Texas at 15. Funny enough he moved to Texas too, but out in your area I believe. Now as an adult, I would love to see him again. I haven't spoken to him in years, but he remains in my heart. I saw a couple of articles on your website about him, and am convinced it's the same man. This was the article that made it certain.  "Pastor Had Special Connection to Pope"
      I was curious to know if he was still there or if anyone knows where he is now. Please email me a response, I would greatly appreciate it. God Bless.
- Isabel Lutz -

Posted:  Nov 23, 2010

To the Rockne Historical Association, President Gerri Martinez, Marian Nelson, all Board Members and Docents:
      My deepest heartfelt gratitude for the beautiful tribute to my late husband, Leland Chambliss, with the unveiling of a plaque stating his accomplishments in the fields of Genealogy and history of the Rockne Community. Providing this service brought Leland much "joy" and "fulfillment!" It greatly pleases me to see and feel his efforts, spirit, and legacy being recognized for "all" times.
      You are to be commended for this recognition. Thanks for the memories!
- Elaine Beck Chambliss -
Longview, TX

Posted:  Nov 21, 2010

      I am in "AWE" of how well you have put into words the beautiful tribute to Leland. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Rockne Historical Association in recognizing Leland with a plaque crediting him with his "unique" genealogy skills. Thank you so much for all your hard work in making the Historical Association such a wonderful success.
- Elaine Chambliss -

Posted:  Oct 7, 2010

      I'm going to Germany next month (October) and thought I'd take a day trip to Würges to see our old home place.
      I'll be staying with friends in Kaiserslautern. When I look at train schedules I'm finding it a 3.5-4 hour trip, but as the crow flies it doesn't look like it should take so long. Do you have any advice for me?
- Kim -
—   —   —   —   —
      I am referring you to Michael Friske who has more expertise in recent European travel and also knows some of the people in Würges quite well.
—   —   —   —   —
Hello, Kim.
      Kaiserslautern is about 134km (83 miles) from Würges. It would take about 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive to Würges from Kaiserslautern.
      Unfortunately, neither Würges nor Kaiserslautern is a major city or on a train route between two major cities. And actually, Würges does not even have a train stop, but Bad Camberg, the next town over where Franz Peter Martin lives, does. Both Bad Camberg and Kaiserslautern are only served by regional trains, not the fast Inter-City Express (ICE) trains.       It looks like most of the train options take about 3 hours, give or take about 15 minutes, and they all require multiple transfers. For example, the 8:26am train takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes and requires a transfer in Mannheim and Frankfurt. It arrives in Bad Camberg at 10:30am. You loose about 45 minutes transferring in Mannheim and Frankfurt.

(See Route Information)
      You can hire a driver to take you to Bad Camberg, but it will be very expensive. I had to do that one time from Frankfurt to Mainz (about 21 miles away) and it cost me over $65. The train is usually the best and cheapest option, but it is not always convenient when traveling between some of the small out-of-the-way towns.
      Perhaps you could travel one day to Bad Camberg and return the next. If you decide to do that, I would recommend staying at the Hotel Taunus Residence ( It is the nicer of the 2 hotels in Bad Camberg, and it is a short walk to Franz Peterís house and the center of town. The other hotel is on the outskirts of town (but it has a very nice view of the woods). It is also right across the street from the train station.
      I'm sending you some contact information. Let them know you are related to folks in Rockne, and feel free to mention my name.
      Franz Peter Martin and his brother Andreas Martin are both very gracious hosts. They usually love showing visitors around. They cannot always get off work if it is during the week, but more often than not they can arrange to be there for visitors.
- Michael -
—   —   —   —   —
      Thank you so much, cousins. I contacted our friends in Kaiserslautern and they offered to drive me to Würges. Problem solved!
      I will contact the Martin brothers within the next few days--as soon as I nail down some dates. You've both been so helpful.
- Kim -

Posted:  Aug 29, 2010

      Well I Missed the Event (the 1997 Celebration at Meuth Hill)......However, I just found out that Johann Franz Meuth, Sr. was my Great, Great, Grandfather.
      I've read your "Pioneer" article about the 1997 Meuth Hill Celebration. In my excitement, I asked around Bastrop for the location of Meuth Hill, got my directions, and immediately started my drive. I drove down the small roads anticipating a small gravesite and many signs announcing where the cabin had been. Well....I got to the railroad tracks and saw the Private Property sign. I was really disappointed.
      I am hoping someone has photos of this special location, homesite and burial site....maybe during the 1997 Celebration. Could you please help me?
- Betty Sensat -
Bastrop, Texas

Posted:  Aug 22, 2010

      Thank you for such a wonderful surprise (descendant list of Albert Pete Meuth) on Monday morning. You made my day. I would love a report on Rosie Seidel. If possible could you run a report on mothers family, her name was Viola Meuth and she had a brother by the name J C, Her parents name was Albert Meuth and Annie (I think she was a Wilhelm). I do not know that much about either side of their family.
      I thank you so much, please email me when you work again, and I will come by to visit. I am so proud to get all of this information and really appreciate your help.
- Larry Bartsch -

Posted:  Aug 8, 2010

      My name is Sandi Crinkelmeyer and I am one of the granddaughters of G. Adolph (also known as A.C.) and Clara Grohman, who lived outside Rockne, TX. I am researching a shooting that occurred at my grandparents' home in 1935.
      My Grandfather, Adolph Grohman, was running for County Commissioner in 1935. It is my understanding that a man by the name of Will E. Smith was running against him. One evening someone hiding behind a post oak tree in front of my grandparents' house shot into the house with buckshot, thinking they were shooting my Grandfather. In actuality, they shot my Grandmother. My mother, Mildred Grohman Smith, was 9 at the time, heard the shot and witnessed the aftermath. My Grandmother survived the shooting after a long stay in the hospital in Austin and many months of care at home. My Grandfather did not pull out of the race and won the election as the 1936 County Commissioner.
      At that time, the Bastrop County Sheriff who investigated the shooting was a man named E.D. Cartwright. The Texas Rangers were also brought in. Someone brought dogs and, following the scent, they led the sheriff straight to the house of Will E. Smith. Apparently, the sheriff stopped the investigation and was quoted as saying something to the effect of, "Taking this any further will only result in more bloodshed."
      I am diligently attempting to find out any information I can about the shooting incident. I do not have malicious motives as I am doing this for personal interest. Do you have any suggestions or information for me, other than the things that are obvious, like the newspaper archives, the Texas Rangers' archives or the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office's archived records? I would be interested in attending one of the Rockne Historical Association's meetings and see if any of the members know this story!
With sincere thanks,
- Sandi Crinkelmeyer -
Austin TX

Posted:  May 9, 2010

      I am Dean Bartsch 57 years old. My Grandfather came to the us from the area around Passhow (sp) the German possish* border. Lutherans from I think his grandmothers day??? Very different than a persecuted Mennonite history. They were Farmers in Germany(Johan) and Gustave came to the Midwest and farmed here as did is brother, Paul, Trauget and they brought as many siblings as they could afford. There is a letter from Gr. to Grandpa asking for 5 dollars so they could buy food cloths and pay rent for a couple(?) months. Grandpa didn't have that much. (That anecdote to give some sense of prospective).
      It is good to hear a bit about another branch of the tree. I wonder how far back we would have to go to find a common root? I did see Bartsch written on a building in Darmstadt in 1973. The company was furniture movers/sellers.(?) I tried to talk to the owner but he was in New York the day I was there.
      We are having a family reunion on the fourth of July 2011 at a site yet to be determined in Wisconsin.
- Dean Bartsch -
Editors note:  Passhow is probably Passau. German Polish or Prussian border*?

Posted:  Mar 19, 2010

      I was just wondering if you knew if anyone has continued to update the Grohman Family History after Mr. Ray Lagleder.
- Shawna Malone -
—   —   —   —   —
(Answer from Mr. Ray Lagleder)
      I am still upgrading when I get news of birth, death, marriage etc. However I am not receiving much information anymore. Brother Louis keeps me posted on obits in the San Antonio papers. It is very sad that more people are not interested in Family History, until the ones who can provide it are gone!
      I will print an updated book and bring it when I come to the String Prairie homecoming this year.
- Ray -
PS  Marian, I think I would get some emails if the Rockne site had my current email address which is

Posted:  Mar 13, 2010

Dear Dr. Schneider,
      In regards to your post on November 23, 2008, I am very interested in your comment that Bartsch and Goertz are Mennonite names and would appreciate any additional information or resources that you are able to provide in regards to that. My name is Belinda Goertz Normore and my theory is that the Roman Catholic Bartsches and Goertzes in Texas are related to the Mennonite Bartsches and Goertzes in other parts of North America, if the history could be traced back far enough.
      Many early Texas settlers were German. In 1836, the Texas census listed 218 Germans. In 1842, the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants to encourage Texas settlement was formed by a group of German noblemen in Biebrich. By 1846, many thousands of German names appeared on Texas rosters.
      The Catholic parish of Sacred Heart had its beginning when Daniel Lehman from Silesia and three Meuth brothers from Würges arrived at Sandy Creek (which is about 10 miles from Rockne) in 1846. My paternal great-great grandfather Philip Goertz (1825-1900) emigrated from Würges to Rockne, Bastrop County, Texas in 1856, with his family the first Catholic settlers in Rockne. Philip was married to Catharina Hartmann, and they had four children. Their second child was Catherine (1857-1911); in 1875, she married Joseph Bartsch (1849-1939). All Bartsch families of Rockne stem from this tree. Joseph was the son of Anton and Agnes Bartsch, with the family having emigrated from the Silesia area to Rockne. (After Philip’s first wife Catharina died, he married Ferdinanda Schwab and they had six children, with their son Michael my paternal great-grandfather.) In Rockne, the Sacred Heart Catholic church has been at the center of the community since its beginning - with the Bartsches and Goertzes and most all of the early settlers German Catholics.
      I have been living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for several years and had noticed that there are numerous Goertzes living there, which piqued my curiosity as most of our branch of Goertzes have not strayed too far from central Texas. In December 2008, I had a chance brief encounter with a Colleen Goertz of Calgary, and asked her about her heritage. She said her ancestors were staunchly Mennonite. They emigrated from present-day Germany (from an area further east than Frankfurt) to the US, with some having originally emigrated from Russia to Germany. In the US, they settled in Kansas and Nebraska, with some subsequently continuing on to Canada, motivated primarily by their Mennonite pacifism.
      Here is a little history regarding Bastrop County. Baron de Bastrop (for whom the city of Bastrop and the county are named) obtained permission from the Spanish to found a German colony and selected the site in 1823, but failed to establish a settlement. It was not until after Stephen F. Austin obtained a grant for a “Little Colony” of 100 American families from the Mexican government in 1827 that settlement began. Interestingly, under the Mexican government, Austin could only bring baptized Catholics into his colony. In 1831 Austin received a second land grant. The two grants, collectively called the District of Mina, took in almost all of what is now Bastrop County.
      There is a well-done and entertaining short film Bastrop: The First 175 Years that can be viewed at . A couple of sentences in it particularly caught my attention: “German immigrants came to Bastrop County to farm, keep shop, raise their children. Those same German immigrants voted against secession when the civil war came [in 1861]. But most of Texas was on the side of the Confederacy and, unfortunately, slavery.” Perhaps a glimmer of Mennonite pacifism?... though in reality there were likely a number of reasons why the German immigrants voted against secession.
- Belinda -

Posted:  Mar 3, 2010

      I have been named the Librarian for the new Cedar Creek High School, and I am beginning to work on purchasing items for the collection. I would love to have a Rockne red book for the Reference section. Who would I need to get in touch with to buy one? Thanks so very much!
- Kendra Creighton -, BA Ed., MLIS
Cedar Creek Elementary
5582 FM 535
Cedar Creek, TX 78612

Posted:  Jan 29, 2010

Dear Marian,
      Thank you very much for the very nice meeting and welcome party at Rockne Museum last Saturday. We enjoyed the time in Rockne and are glad to have met so many nice people. It was interesting to learn about our relatives after they had left Germany in the 18th century. The Museum and Hilbig Park and the area around was very impressive and interesting. Thank you and Mrs. Minni Bartsch and all the members of Rockne Historical Association. We are happy that we could stay with Eugene and Jenease Friske over the weekend.
      From Rockne we travelled to Corpus Christi and enjoyed the coast and the city with its aquarium and the U.S.S. Lexington. We then had two very interesting days in San Antonio and two other days in Fredericksburg with its Vereins Kirche and the Pioneer Museum and enjoyed the trip to Enchanted Rock. We thank very much Diane and Michael Friske who made this great tour together with us.
      We are just now in Houston for another 2 days to visit an old friend and to see NASA before we will return to Red Oak. Texas and return back to Germany on Friday 29th with a lot of very nice impressions of a beautiful and interesting country and its very kind people.
      We hope to see you again someday maybe in Germany or in Rockne.
- Andreas and Simone Martin -
Bad Camberg, Germany

Posted:  Jan 9, 2010

Dear Marian,
      I cannot express my gratitude for all of your assistance with the field trip for “Webelos Winter Camp 2009.” Everyone who attended was exceptionally surprised. I was informed that this will be added to future programs.
      I would appreciate an email copy of the photographs of our visit.
      I will be at our camp this weekend for another event, but will be in touch again, later.
      My sincerest appreciation for everyone who assisted with our visit to the Rockne Museum.
- Sonya Willis -
Camp Director
Webelos Winter Camp 2009
Lost Pines Scout Reservation
Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
Colorado River District Website:
Capitol Area Council Website:
Scouts at Hilbig Park:  1st photo - 2nd photo

Posted:  Nov 29, 2009

      I just read Patti Goertz’ e-mail asking for any info you have on traveling to Würges.
      Suzanne and I are going to the Czech Republic (Prague & Austria) next fall and plan on going to Heinzendorf (where the Grohman’s came from when it was part of Austria). Do you have any contacts in the other town where the Grohmans came from? I know most of the folks came from the Würges area.
      My immediate relatives are Seidel, Ott, Warneck, Friebe, & Grohman -- so I’d think I’d hit a distant relative on every street corner in Würges!
      We haven’t really planned what we’ll do yet and it would be great if we could squeeze in both Würges and Heinzendorf.
      If you have the opportunity to provide any information to Patti, would you mind including me on the e-mail also.
Best regards,
- Larry Seidel -

Posted:  Nov 14, 2009

Dear Marian,
      Hi! This is Patti Goertz, Mike Goertz wife (Charlie Goertz was my father-in-law). I have some questions about traveling to Würges, Germany. Mike and I have a very special opportunity this summer to travel to Poland!
      Now, since we will be so close to Germany, I thought....hmmm, is it possible to visit Würges? But I have no idea who to contact, how to get there, etc. Mike and I are needing to make a decision this week. Mike has talked for years about going to “see where the Goertz’s are from”, but lack of time off from work and lack of travel funds has held us back. Maybe this will be possible! Can you tell I'm excited :-)
Thank you so much,
- Patti Goertz -

Posted:  Nov 14, 2009

      My name is Katherine (Moring) Phillips and Julius Beck was my Great Great Great Grandfather. I came across your post on The Pioneer on
      I noticed there was a lot of reference to Rockne. Was this a name, a place, or something else.
- Kat -

Posted:  Jul 15, 2009

Hello from Spring, TX,
      My husband and I will be visiting his brother near Frankfurt in August and we plan a side trip to Würges. I’ve heard there is still a church there with names of our long ago relatives and would love to see it. Could you give me the name of that church?
      My name was Brenda Meuth before I married David in 1974. He was adopted in Stuttgart in 1953 and recently discovered some of his biological family still living in Germany. Small world, isn’t it? My dad is Melvin Meuth, mom is Mildred (Seidel) and I grew up in String Prairie. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you can help me with my search.
Thank you!
- Brenda Pyka -

Posted:  Jul 15, 2009

      I visited the Rockne Museum on July 4th with some of my family. My brother, Fred, donated some prints showing different parts of the Mass. The prints were brought from Rome in the early 70’s by Msgr. F.O. Beck, our great uncle, and given to Fred (who is named after the Msgr.). Fred had never been to the museum and enjoyed the exhibit on Msgr. Beck and other family memorabilia. I was so excited to see the Erlene Goertz collection of newspaper clippings on display. I will have to go back when I have more time so that I can look at more of them. I was really awed by the large color tintype picture of my great grandmother, Pauline Hilbig Beck. I had never seen a photo from that time that was that big, much less a tintype. I was so happy that the family donated that to share with all of us. It was so great to see all the new things that have been donated. Of course, Minnie and Melvin were very friendly and helpful. And as usual, the Rockne Historical Association is doing a great job preserving our heritage.
- Gayle Fischer -

Posted:  Mar 4, 2009

      I have the red Rockne Book and there are some errors in there concerning my family. I am trying to research the Friebe (Freabe) family from that area. We have some pictures that have not been identified. I was told that you might have pictures of my ancestors. Barbara Carter who is a relative should have the corrected info. Please let me know if you can help? I will attach the picture. Thanks.
- Janet Denn -
—   —   —   —   —
      I met with Janet Denn Saturday at the museum. We found some baptisms and deaths in the old St. Mary’s String Prairie church records which made her very happy. We searched for about 2 ½ hours then she went to Smithville to see whether she could find anything in their museum. She is planning on coming to the Pin Oak bazaar in the fall. She wants to meet Regina Landry (who has done a lot of work on some of our families). She hopes that Regina might have photos or info that she doesn’t have.
- Minnie Bartsch -
Rockne Museum Curator

Posted:  Feb 14, 2009

      We enjoyed the fundraiser, seeing all our relatives and friends, eating a delicious meal (great job on the food), the silent action (one of my favorites) the auction (Mike and Arthur provided top entertainment, as usual).
      To each and eveyone who worked to put together the event, job well done.
- Albert and Clara Hilbig Klinkovsky -

Posted:  Jan 3, 2009

      I just finished reading the story of Tom and Alberta Goertz, written by Cheryl Goertz Daniel. I figured out that Tom is the son of my Great Aunt Anna Goertz. She lived in Austin for a while and I remember my family going to visit her. For a long time, I did not know she had children because, by the time we were visiting her, her children were all grown and were not living with her. We used to call Aunt Anna, Tante (not sure of the spelling) which, I found out later, meant Aunt in German. For a long time, I thought Tante Anna was her name.
      Reading the Stories and Remembrances that are submitted to RHA is so interesting. To read what our ancestors lived through and lived with and about how their faith directed them through it all is very inspirational.
      I want to encourage more people to write these stories and send them to the RHA website for publication.
      Thank you and the RHA for all they do to preserve our ancestral history in this way.
- Gayle Fischer -

Posted:  Dec 8, 2008

      Roman Kraft, a WWII Veteran, with roots in Rockne died on December 2, 2008 at the age of ninety (90). Funeral mass was celebrated in the Catholic Parish in Marion, Texas and burial took place in Selma.
      His daughter, Joyce Kraft Friesenhahn, asked me to post you on it, as she was often told by her father, Roman, how much he loved his time in Rockne in years past as a youngster… before the community was even named ‘Rockne’, I believe.
      Doris & I took him on a tour of the Rockne community a few months back and he enjoyed seeing the museum and log cabins at Hilbig Park.
- Ramon -

Posted:  Nov 23, 2008

      Doris & I are continually in awe . . . , for RHA and the Community there and the community, a big one, which has reached out across the whole world to many, many folks.
      From Father Alois Goertz’s big start, and with Mr Thomas Hilbig’s great work on the internet part, you have created a network of people who are NOW interested in ‘family’, in the Rockne story as it affects them, and they are loving it! With Hilbig Park as a central ‘happening place’ which they can see and touch, they have proof of what ‘their people’ have done over the years… and, you (RHA) made that happen, too. Keep doing it, too!
- Ramon & Doris Cook -

Posted:  Nov 23, 2008

      We are researching the Bartsch family tree, and accidently came across a Bartsch family in Texas.
      Until now we had assummed based on extensive family (name) research that 98% of the Bartsch family in North America came from northern Holland, Germany and the Ukraine. Bartsch is a Mennonite name. My wife is Anne Bartsch, Winkler, Manitoba, Canada. We lived in Hessen for 27 years using our free time for family research, and visited Wurges (near Bad Camberg) on several occasions, not knowing of a Bartsch family name. The Bartsch family name was not located in Hessen in our search of records. (My family is from Darmstadt, Hessen). Jacob Bartsch, my wife’s direct ancestor, led 240 Mennonites from Prussia to the island of Chortiza on the Dnieper River (Ukraine) in 1763, to set up a very prosperous colony following a meeting with Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg, allowing freedom of relgion. That contract was abrogated by Czar Nicholas II in 1898, and the Mennonites left Russia to settle in Kansas, the Dakotas, and western Canada as farmers. The name Mennonites, came from Menno Simon, whose followers were known as Anabaptists, persecuted both by Catholics and Protestants alike during the Reformation. The Anabaptist movement was situated along the Rhein along the Swiss, German and French border, and with persecution moved to a somewhat more tolerant Holland and Northern Germany until forced to flee to Prussia. Their close (religious) cousins, the Amish, eventually came to Pennsylvania, along with the remaining Holland Mennonites. The book (still in print) “Marytr’s Mirror” details the horrific persecutions of the Mennonites during the Reformation. Jacob Bartsch led the first Mennonites to the Island of Chortiza, on the Dnieper River (below Kiev). 240 started, and only 40 remained alive 2 years later. Other Mennonite names: Goertz, Wall, Wieler, Froese, Friesen, Hoeppner. As best I gather, many residents of Rockne, are Catholic. However, there are also Texas Mennonite farmers scattered throughout Central Texas. There may have been a conversion to the Catholic faith by a Bartsch family member. Any assistance in understanding the Bartsch background would be helpful.
- Robert L Schneider MD -
You may reach Dr. Schneider by contacting the Web editor at

Posted:  Nov 14, 2008

      I am the youngest son of Ernest and Dean Bartsch of Rockne and am currently at college at Louisiana State University. I just recently came across the Pioneer website and just thought I would send an email of thanks. I found so many of the stories of these people inspiring. With all the hardships and tough times in their lives, they survived because of their loving families and strong catholic faith. It really paints a great picture of the people of Rockne and the support of the community. Being only 21 years old and the youngest child and grandchild, I never heard or remember many stories from my grandparents about their childhood in Rockne so it was great to read some here.
      I was speaking to someone earlier tonight about these people and their lives and how it’s such a large contrast to current lifestyles. It seems in our society today, we’re all so worried about our income and personal satisfaction that we constantly strive to make more money and gain a higher status. The people in Rockne’s past all seemed to love life, and the most important things in their lives were their families and faith, how it should be. If more people would look to the simple lives of the past, maybe they too would take a step back and realize the most important things don’t involve money and status. It's very humbling.
      I especially took interest in the story about Fr. Chris and the experience we had in the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. I remember that all too well. I actually was one of the youth chosen to do a reading that day and I remember being a little shaken up after mass from the sudden thunder and lightening that had shut the power off briefly in the church. I remember all of the dozens of visitors who poured in the cathedral during the mass had also noticed what had happened and they were surprised as well. To this day, the people on that trip all speak of what a wonderful and eye opening experience the pilgrimage was for us, and also that Holy experience in the Cathedral of St. Francis.
      I also found interesting the story of the outlaw Albert Kadura. I remember going to Henry’s (store in Rockne) when I was very young with my Aunt Nellene and Uncle Jake Frerich and listened to Lee Lehman telling these stories to me. I had forgotten all the details.
      Well, I better get to bed. I had planned on studying economics all night until I came across this site! Thanks again, and I hope more stories keep being posted. Its great to learn more about the past in Rockne and all the great people who have come through it. I have a few people in mind that I could write about someday and I always tell people here in Louisiana about Rockne and how the next time we make a trip there, I will take them by the museum. I keep a Rockne Book on our coffee table and it’s quite a conversation piece.
Great job on the website!
- Trey Bartsch -

Posted:  Oct 25, 2008

      It was fun reading about the “hog killing days” - so many memories. Would be fun to have another one of those days again, along with all that good fresh hog meat.
      The City of Houston looks a lot cleaner after the Ike debris is finally cleared away. I lost power for two weeks, got my phone service back Oct. 8th and just today, got my internet and cable services back. Yep! I was brave and stayed home through 9 hours of whipping winds and rain. No damages to my home - just an uprooted tree on my corner lot. So much debris (large tree limbs and branches) on my lawn that you could not even see the green lawn. Got it all cleaned up and I’ve even replaced the tree with a new Savannah Holly which is about as tall as the house. Hope to get to live long enough to watch it grow another couple of feet.
      I was surprised to read about Alice Beck’s death. That’s the first I knew of her passing. She was always one of my best pals. She had such a beautiful round smiling countenance!
- Annabel Harris -

Posted:  Sep 7, 2008

Many or our readers enjoyed the Meuth story. Below are some of their comments.

      I was just FASCINATED by this event (Meuth reunion). What a joy it must have been to reunite with your long lost cousins. I have been wanting to do this with my Father’s side of the family and now I am energized again to do this. Thank you for this amazing tribute to your heritage.
- Joan Seidel -
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      Thank you for the news on the Meuth’s. Jim and I enjoyed reading all about them. I have shared it with the rest of the family.
- Jim and Dinah Meuth -
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      This was a great story----thanks for sharing it.
- Cecil Martinez -
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      Thanks so very much for sharing this (Meuth Story) with me. It’s always fun to learn more about the Rockne Families. I am not too sure how the Wendland and Wilhelm Family Trees work but one day I would definitely like to research it all - or read what anyone else has done so far. It amazes me. I will look forward to the next newsletter.
Thanks again.
- Amanda Wendland Gravis -
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      Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!
- Vanessa Burzynski -
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      Great story!
Mona Breeze, Realtor®, GRI
RE/MAX Heart of Texas, Realtors®
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      OUTSTANDING ARTICLE!! Thank you so much for doing such a great job of writing this article. I printed it out and showed several persons at work and they were just amazed at the article.
      Keep up the good work. God Bless.
- Diane Fuerst -
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      That is absolutely beautiful, inspiring, and awesome! Thank you for sharing.
- Sandy Stakes -