JOSEPH IS LEAVING
A Novell of the American Frontier
By George A. Stehling
Historical fiction about a young farmer from Germany who migrated to Texas in 1845 with hopes of settling on a 320 acre land grant.
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After the defeat of General Santa Anna in the year 1836, the Republic of Texas found itself with lots of land but few resources to protect it. One remedy was to issue land grants to military veterans and foreigners that would improve and occupy it. In 1845, the weak economic conditions in Germany motivated Joseph Schmidt, a young farmer, to apply for 320 acres of land at a place called Texas. It was a shock to his family, as it was “on the other side of the world” and it was not known if they would ever see each other again. When the tall ship landed on the shallow beaches of Texas, the immigrants learned that the horses and wagons that they had been promised were not there to take them into the interior of Texas. After a long wait, Joseph packed all his belongings on an ox-driven cart and left to locate his farmland. After a long trek, he located some German immigrants on the banks of a winding river. They advised him that they were unable to access the land grant as it was controlled by Comanche Indians. There, Joseph helped create a town named Anfang much like the towns of today that have a public building in the center of a town square. After a marriage to Jenell and the raising of boy and girl twins, their son was captured by Indians. After consulting a disabled Texas Ranger, Joseph leaves his wife and daughter to search for their son.
George A. Stehling is one of eleven children who spoke mostly German up until the time they entered grade school. While growing up, he and his siblings frequently worked and performed many duties in their family men’s clothing store. George graduated from St. Mary University in San Antonio, Texas, with a BBA degree. After serving in the Air Force reserves, he worked for General Motors Corporation for over twenty years with management positions in Texas and New Mexico. He later joined some of his brothers and sisters who had established a chain of Mexican restaurants. After the chain was later sold, he remained in Austin, Texas, to buy, improve, and resell small tracts of vacant land. The return to his hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas, gave him time to write this fictional story about the people, customs, and history of the vital mid-nineteenth century. As a descendent of the German pioneers who settled in Texas, he has an unwavering appreciation for the brave pioneers who prepared the way for us, wherever they may be or came from. He invites you to join this adventure without having to travel on a cargo ship, sleep under a grass covered roof, or learn to dance on a dirt surface.
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