This tiny community, barely more than the string of farmhouses observed there in the 1850s by Frederick Law Olmsted in his A Journey Through Texas (1859), is distinguished by its arrangement between the parallel banks of East and West Sister creeks, and for the mature trees that line the creek banks. Founded in 1847 by surveyor Nicolaus Zink, who laid out New Braunfels, Sisterdale, or the “Latin Settlement,” was later the home of a group of German settlers known as Forty-Eighters, who fled their homeland after the 1848 revolution failed. Among this group were Dr. Ernst Kapp, a German Gymnasiumprofessor and later a member of the U.S. Congress from the San Antonio district; Dr. Adolf Douian, who later became the editor of the San Antonio Zeitungwhen it was founded in 1853; and Baron von Westphal, a brother-in-law of Karl Marx. Olmsted's record of his visit to the community details how impressed he was by the sophistication of these farmers, who spoke Latin at weekly meetings and who performed parts of Mozart's Don Giovanniat an evening concert. Before and during the Civil War, Sisterdale became a haven for German abolitionists and Unionists. After the Civil War, the Latin Settlement farmers dispersed because they were not successful financially.
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