Articles from THE HIGHLANDER
Marble Falls, Texas
1. May 14, 1970 –
Century-Old Krumm Home Offers Colorful And Historic Landmark
2. August 19, 1971 –
Disaster At Dead Man’s Hole
3. December 2, 1971 –
Horseshoe Bay Would Be Amazing To Old Adolph Fuchs, Pioneer
4. February 10, 1972 –
Hill Country History . . . Adolf Fuchs – Pastor, Poet And Pioneer
5. March 30, 1972 –
More On The Fuchs Place Is Revealed
6. March 30, 1972 –
Talk of Texas: Capitol Murder
7. January 4, 1979 –
'The German Fox' and 'Tiger Mill'
8. January 11, 1979 –
From Brooklyn to Burnet County
Marble Falls, Texas
Thursday, May 14, 1970
Century-Old Krumm Home Offers Colorful And Historic Landmark
by JANICE CLAYTON
MARBLE FALLS--Burnet County abounds in history and lore and although countless historical sites have vanished into its soil, many have been preserved.
An observant eye will catch a glimpse of one historical landmark on FM 2147, four miles southwest of Marble Falls which has been preserved. The large three-story stone ranch house of the Karl Krumm family adds to the beauty of the hillside on which it is located. An open expanse of green fields dotted with cattle in front of the beautifully, maintained old home completes a picture that has evidently eye escaped the of local artists.
The history of its origin begins in 1845 when the Rev. Adolph Fuchs (pronounced Fox) and his family emigrated to Texas from Mecklenburg, Germany. In 1844 Texas land papers had been offered for sale in Mecklenburg at very low prices. It had been declared that land in Texas had no actual value as one needed only sufficient land for a house and fields, while there was free grazing land everywhere for cattle. A number of these land papers were owned by Mayor Lueders in Marlow, Germany, who was a close friend of Fuchs. Lueders’ brother had been killed in Texas during the War of Independence. President Sam Houston had to pay each soldier with a league of land because there was no money in the state treasury. The brother’s land was turned over to the mayor who upon learning that Fuchs was going to Texas offered the land to him.
It took eight years, with numerous difficulties to overcome, before Fuchs gained possession of the land with aid of a land surveyor DeCordova. One third of the land went to DeCordova. One section of 1,000 acres was located on the Brazos River where the town of Lueders is located. Two other tracts of land of six hundred acres were sold by Fuchs. He kept the land located on the Colorado River above Marble Falls. Fuchs moved his family there from Cat Spring in Austin County in 1853. They made their home on the Armin Matern Ranch.
In Memoirs of a Texas Pioneer Grandmother Fuchs’ daughter Ottilie describes the land on the Colorado River as the family found it in 1853, approximately 30 years before the town of Marble Falls was founded.
“The springs never ran dry and the lack of grass for grazing sheep and cattle was unknown. On the contrary, one had a struggle to prevent the great carpet of flowers from rolling down the surrounding hills to completely smother the vegetables. My bothers built boats to use for fishing in the river, teeming with trout, so-called catfish and dozens of other creatures inhabiting the watery depths. On Sundays it was a favorite pastime to go boating on the river lake. It was normally very calm, but in the spring it was occasionally transformed into a foaming icy sea by the water rushing down from the upper Colorado. Mighty oaks growing along the banks were uprooted and carried along by the raging red flood, a grand display of the water’s force. How interesting this all was for us. The pecan trees, the clear creeks, the many beautiful springs.
“Besides fishing, the hunting possibilities along the Colorado River were without equal. There were great numbers of deer and turkeys. During the winter, the river was alive with wild geese and ducks so that we could make feather beds to sleep under in the winter time.”
According to the pioneer settler mountain lions and bear were also abundant. At this time Burnet was the trade center. Although the family was almost self-sufficient, flour was hard to obtain during the Civil War years, and it took 14 days to get it from Houston by wagon.
Hermann Fuchs, Adolph’s youngest son, built the present structure now owned by the Krumm family of Marble Falls. Construction began in 1877 and was completed two years later. Two feet of stone covered with the original plaster made at a lime kiln just below the home has preserved the home’s rich interior. Hand carved doors of cypress are worn smooth by the hands of its inhabitants. Its hardwood floors are as firm as its walls. Fireplaces on each of the three floors kept the Fuchs and Krumm family warm when bitterly cold northers blew across the countryside.
Held solidly with hand forged nails, massive cedar beams almost a foot square reinforce each of the floors. Window sills of cypress two feet wide are set into the walls and provide window seats which were and no doubt will continue to be occupied by children on a rainy day or a dreamer enjoying the panoramic view of the rich Colorado River Valley.
Karl and Antonie (Toni) Krumm, with their young son Henry, moved from New York in 1900 and settled at the Fuchs ranch on a share holder basis. They soon welcomed a daughter, Ann. In 1921 he purchased the land from Hermann Fuchs’ son Albano and began clearing a portion of the land for planting.
Tiger Mill, as it was known at that time, was so named because of the mill owned by Hermann Fuchs’ brother, Conrad. It was located on Tiger Creek where settlers brought wheat and cotton to the grist mill and lumber to the saw mill. The location also served as a post office where mail was brought by the Pony Express and distributed. Henry Krumm, who now maintains the ranch, has kept the cabinet in which the lettered mail boxes were located. As a young boy, he attended school on the ranch with his sister Ann and the Fuchs children. Due to the distance and hardship of transportation, teachers were employed with their room and board alternating each three months between Mrs. Fuchs and Mrs. Krumm. Krumm recalls his teachers, Miss Marie Hester, Emily Lange of Austin, and Miss Winnie Hays who is now Mrs. George Brazielle.
Karl Krumm was a man who knew well and appreciated the land’s natural resources. The hand-built retaining walls of stone still terrace the sloping hillside holding the soil. His love for the land has been instilled in his son Henry. Following her husband’s death 20 years ago, Mrs. Krumm remained at the ranch until 1962 when she moved to Marble Falls. Eight years with virtually no inhabitants would normally leave a structure in a state of ruin, but not the Krumm house. Under the watchful eye of Henry, who with his wife Margaret will soon occupy it once again, the old house is in perfect repair and the fat Herefords attest to his careful maintenance of the pastureland. Undergrowth remains cleared from beneath stately oak and pecan trees which are the feeding grounds of deer and turkey. The three springs, one of which feeds Tiger Creek, have flowed constantly for as long as Henry Krumm can remember.
German immigrants are credited with much of the early settlement and growth of Texas. Their contribution continues through their sturdy and land-loving descendants.
Marble Falls, Texas
August 19, 1971
Disaster At Dead Man’s Hole
To the Editor:
I read with more than passing interest the account by Tad Moses of the grisly deeds associated with Dead Man’s Hole. You see, my great-grandfather was one of its victims, the one identified in your story as “a man (who) was murdered while cutting cedar posts on Flat Rock Creek just out of Marble Falls.”
I was reminded that years ago, while studying journalism at The University of Texas, I had written a feature story on this event, using information which my paternal grandfather, Herman Richter, had given me. This article, which was published in Marvin Hunter’s “Frontier Times” in March, 1941, I am enclosing, and I would be pleased for you to reprint it as a follow-up to Mr. Moses’ story, if you feel your readers might be interested.
Adolph Hoppe, the victim in my article, was known as a bold and fearless pioneer, as attested by the fact that he openly defied the bushwhackers who were after him. There is a bit of family lore which tells of the time that he and a companion, while traveling by horseback across the land, bedded down for the night under the stars. Hoppe awoke to find a heavy object on his stomach and was able to discern that it was a rattlesnake which had crawled there for warmth. Instead of panicking, he made noises until his companion was awakened. Then he instructed him to build up the camp fire until the heat made the rattler so uncomfortable that he left his resting place on his own initiative.
I’ve always thought it was too bad that such a man should ultimately fall victim to other rattlesnakes – the human and more lethal variety.
Walter H. Richter
804 Littlefield Building
Austin, Texas 78701
“Dead Man’s Hole” is the rather sinister sounding name of an unusual cavity in a cow pasture some four miles south of Marble Falls in Burnet County. Nor is the name ill-chosen.
Historically, the hole is steeped in blood stains and beclouded with many tragic tales of murder and mystery. For hidden by dense cedar brakes and opening downward with startling abruptness, the foreboding cavity was a convenient spot for outlaws and other criminals to dispose of bodies of their victims.
But this article shall concern only one person whose story makes an interesting, bloody addition to the chronicle of “Dead Man’s Hole.” That person was my great grandfather, Adolph Hoppe.
This story is set just preceding the outbreak of the Civil War when much controversy was raging between the Secessionist and Union factions. When Texas voted for secession, there was an outbreak of violence as individuals known as “bushwhackers,” assuming the cloak of devotion to the Confederate cause, engaged in a campaign of terror and intimidation of those they disliked or regarded as the enemy.
At that time, Adolph Hoppe, his wife, a small daughter, and a ten-year-old son (my maternal grandfather) were living about six miles below the present site of Marble Falls on the Colorado River.
One morning Hoppe, accompanied by a friend, a Mr. Flour, who was visiting in his home, left in his wagon to get a load of cedar posts for the construction of a sheep stable from the cedar brakes south of Flat Rock Creek, which runs within a mile or so of “Dead Man’s Hole.” Little did he anticipate the tragic happenings of the day as he drove off or realize that he had looked on his little family for the last time.
Having laboriously secured the required number of posts, the two had just started on their way home when they were halted by a Ranger captain and a group of men. Apparently these men had first gone to the Hoppe home and had been directed to this spot by Mrs. Hoppe. While this cannot be substantiated, it is a reasonable deduction for otherwise the two men could hardly have been located in the densely wooded wilderness.
The proceedings, recounted later by the Ranger, were somewhat as follows:
“Gentlemen,” said the Ranger, “I have been requested by these men to arrest you for attending secret Union meetings, so I shall have to trouble you to come with us.”
“As far as I am concerned,” answered Hoppe, “your accusation is wrong. Besides, I have a wife and children waiting for me at home.” But after some discussion he and Flour agreed to allow themselves to be tried then and there.
After a short examination enough evidence was produced to convince the Ranger that Flour was guilty of the charge. Then turning to Hoppe he asked, “You sir, do you plead guilty of the charge that you have been attending secret Union meetings?”
“Not guilty,” said Hoppe. “I voted for secession and I defy you to prove otherwise.”
“Oh, yes,” sneered one of his accusers, “then what are you doing in the company of this skunk?”
“Understand,” answered Hoppe, “I do not choose my friends by their political beliefs.”
There followed some harsh words between Hoppe and various members of the group, and matters were not helped when the Ranger declared the evidence insufficient to hold Hoppe further. After sending the angered accusers off with Flour as their prisoner, the Ranger called Hoppe aside and said, “To my notion these men are bushwhackers and are in a hostile mood. I feel it my duty to accompany you safely home.”
But Hoppe would have none of it, saying that he felt perfectly able to take care of himself. (It later developed that Flour, whom the Secessionists were to take to San Antonio, never arrived there and was never heard of again.)
Shortly after Hoppe had taken his departure a shot rang out in the direction he had taken, the Ranger captain reported. Sensing foul play, he dashed in that direction but the density of the cedar brake and the growing dusk soon made his search quite futile.
Hoppe did not come home that night but his team of horses did, still wearing part of their harness which had been cut to disengage the team from the wagon. A group of his friends living in the area, who called themselves the Home Guard Company, called a meeting and the next day a few men volunteered to investigate the ominous developments.
These men finally discovered the wagon load of cedar. Knowing of “Dead Man’s Hole” and its evil reputation, the men went there, expecting the worst. Sure enough, on arriving there they saw a small strip of leather on a ledge some fifteen or twenty feet below the opening, which is almost a perfect circle about ten feet in diameter and extending virtually straight down for some 135 feet. One man was lowered on a rope to this ledge and procured the leather which was identified as part of Hoppe’s harness.
There was no doubt in their minds that Adolph Hoppe’s bruised body was resting at the bottom of the pit. Nevertheless, the men left the hole without attempting to recover the body and kept their mouths shut. They apparently decided it was unwise for their minority group to raise any objection to the strong desperate faction which they suspected as guilty of the misdeed.
“Why did you all kill Hoppe?” one of the men once made bold to ask the leader of the suspected renegades many years later. “Because He was in bad company,” the outlaw answered, thus admitting his guilt.
In 1866, after the war, a party of men, including my paternal grandfather, Herman Richter, who was then sixteen years of age, set out to explore “Dead Man’s Hole.” First, a lantern was lowered into the hole in order that the quality of the air might be determined. The flame emerged burning, so, satisfied that all was well, one of the company was lowered into the hole with a long stout rope.
When the explorer emerged from the hole, he brought with him a pair of shoes which was clearly identified as having belonged to Adolph Hoppe. He also brought up additional pieces of Hoppe’s harness. Grandfather Richter said he stated there were “thousands of bones” at the bottom, both human and otherwise.
In later years, my grandfather asserted, the sheriff of Burnet county and a group of men explored this natural grave for murder victims. Several large sacks of bones were brought up, enough, according to a report by the sheriff, for sixteen skeletons.
Walter Richter is a native of Burnet County, born on the family ranch of a 100 years or so in the Double Horn community outside Marble Falls. He has an impressive career in public service, having been a state senator and head of both the Texas and the federal regional Offices of Economic Opportunity.
He still lives in Austin and is involved in work related to control of drug abuse under the newly established Texas Department of Community Affairs.
DEAD MAN’S HOLE
. Dead Man’s Hole, in the W. L. Burnam pasture south of Marble Falls in southern Burnet County, is a deep, well-like hole probably caused by gas pressure. It was discovered in 1821 by entomologist Ferdinand Lueders while he was in the area to study night-flying insects. The cave achieved notoriety during the Civil War
as a dumping place for the bodies of Union sympathizers. The remains of several bodies were recovered from the cave in the late 1860s, but the presence of gas prevented extensive exploration. The gas evidently dissipated over time, for in 1951 a group of spelunkers from the University of Texas successfully descended the hole. They reported that Dead Man’s Hole was seven feet in diameter at the surface and about 160 feet deep; at its base, the hole split into two “arms,” one extending straight back for about fifteen feet, and the other sloping downward at a 45̊ angle for about thirty feet.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Chronicle
, September 9, 1951. Vertical Files
, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin (Marble Falls)
[Source: Handbook of Texas Online]
Marble Falls, Texas
December 2, 1971
Horseshoe Bay Would Be Amazing To Old Adolph Fuchs, Pioneer
Many Changes Made Near His Old Home
Mention the Horseshoe Bay area to local history buffs and you will strike a responsive chord. The area is the one that was the cradle of settlement in what has become southern Burnet and Llano counties, a land that was colonized mostly by Germans.
The story of the Horseshoe Bay area history begins with the story of Ferdinand Leuders. Leuders came to this area in the 1820s, doing work as a naturalist for the Smithsonian Institution.
Traveling towards San Antonio he stopped off one evening in southern Burnet County at the place of the Benson family on Flatrock Creek, near the intersection of today’s Highways 71 and 281. Leuders subsisted on food he found in the Benson garden.
He would make candles, to use for attracting insects after night. Drawn by the light, the bugs would come near and would be captured by Leuders for study.
He wrote of his experience in this area, recounting that while working at night at his encampment he could hear bugs hitting the water in what he assumed was a well. In time, he found that the “well” was in fact the deep cavity in the earth that has come to be known as Dead Man’s Hole, a hole into which some murdered persons’ bodies have on occasion been dumped in earlier days.
Mrs. W. W. Fuller, a Marble Falls woman who is a student of local history, says that “Leuders was the first one whom I read about that discovered Dead Man’s Hole. “
Leuders returned in time to his native Germany and wrote a book about his travels in this including his tour of Texas. Mrs. Fuller says that Dr. Walter Prescott Webb, the great Texas historian, had the book, which had been published in Germany, translated into English. Mrs. Fuller believes the translation is probably available at the University of Texas library at Austin.
After writing his book, Leuders returned in the 1830s to Texas and in the course of events was killed at the Battle of the Alamo. The Republic of Texas gave his heirs a grant of land, in gratitude for his service during the war with Mexico. (There is, by the way, a Leuders, Texas, in Jones County, near Anson, named for this Alamo victim.)
Leuders’ brother in Germany gave the grant to his pastor, Adolph Fuchs (pronounced “fox” hereabouts), a name that is written large in the history of this part of Texas.
Eight years after receiving the grant, Fuchs arrived at the old Texas port of Indianola, located on the Gulf Coast between Corpus Christi and Houston, near Port Lavaca.
He later moved on to Cat Spring, near Bellville in Austin County, then, in the 1850s, Fuchs arrived in the area of what has become the Coca Cola Ranch and, subsequently, Horseshoe Bay. He settled on Castle Mountain.
Among his belongings was a piano, perhaps the first in this part of Texas.
His place became a mail stop on the route between Fredericksburg and Burnet. It was known as Tiger Mill. A road had been built linking those two towns when Fort Martin Scott and Fort Crown were established as part of a string of forts along Texas’ western frontier.
The lineage of the venerable Adolph Fuchs reads like a Who’s Who of this part of Texas. Such names as Matern, Varnhagan, Nunnally, Giesecke, Goeth, Wennmohs, Richter and others come to be related to his family.
And courthouse records show that members of the Fuchs family conveyed land on or near the Coke Ranch to such other families as Wennmohs, Carpenter, Stolley, Goeth, Murphy and Wilke and others.
Mrs. Fuller, whose own antecedents go back to the settlers of Double Horn, among them the Franklins and the Dennisons, recalls that it became a custom in the 1880s for fox races (or, perhaps more accurately, dog races) to be held at the place of B. M. Gibson, in the same area as Horseshoe Bay and the Fuchs settlement.
A fox would be set loose and several dogs let go after it. There would be betting on which dog would get to the fox first.
Marble Falls, Texas
February 10, 1972
Hill Country History . . .
Adolf Fuchs – Pastor, Poet And Pioneer
One purpose of The Highlander’s series on Hill Country history is to correct erroneous accounts of the days gone by. It is for this reason, among others, that we are delighted to present this week this account of the region’s remarkable Adolf Fuchs family.
The article is written by a Fuchs descendant, Mrs. Esther Richter Weaver, now of Fredericksburg.
Mrs. Weaver’s carefully and well-written article corrects some errors contained in my account of the Fuchs family, as published in The Highlander of December 2, 1971. Those errors were partly the result of some misinformation I had gathered.
For example, the house discussed in the December 2 article was not that of Adolf Fuchs but of his oldest son, Conrad.
Also, the name Lueders was misspelled as Leuders. (That’s the name of the man whose Texas land grant was conveyed to Fuchs.) The name is shown in several ways on various documents but Mrs. Weaver assures us that Lueders is the correct spelling. Also, I spelled Adolf Fuchs’ first name incorrectly, as “Adolph.”
Further, I had written, “Eight years after receiving the grant, Fuchs arrived at the old Texas port of Indianola.” Mrs. Weaver advises that this is wrong in two respects. First, Fuchs came to Texas very shortly after he received the land grant from the Lueders heirs; but it was eight years after he got to Texas before he was able to take possession of his land. And secondly, the Fuchs family landed at Galveston, not at Indianola, and then took a small steamer up Buffalo Bayou to Houston.
Mrs. Weaver found an earlier Highlander article on the Fuchs family a more reliable piece of work. That was the one written by the former Janice Clayton a couple of years ago. That article also appeared in the December 2, 1971 Highlander, as a reprint.
Mrs. Weaver credits several other people for assistance in providing information important to her article. She offers thanks to Tad Moses, Mrs. Warren Fuller, Henry Krumm, Ferdinand Tatsch, Mrs. Rubin Houy, Herman Reiner, Mrs. Richard Schnelle and Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Guenther. “I am also greatly indebted to the two books which I have mentioned in the story,” Mrs. Weaver writes.
I am pleased to commend Mrs. Weaver’s article to you. It is excellent, the work of an able writer who is dealing with a subject of considerable interest in our region. — GREG OLDS.
1849 PASTOR ADOLF FUCHS
Typical of the pioneering drive of Texas Germans for publicly-supported education was the petition of Pastor Adolf Fuchs to the Legislature for financial aid to the Cat Spring school, in 1849. This was the forerunner of a petition by the Texas Germans for general State support of public schools, the first promotion of this now-accepted practice in Texas. Pastor Fuchs left the ministry and tried farming, then became interested in education. He taught music at Baylor Female College, Independence, before moving to Cypress Mill, in the Hill Country, where he died.