Thursday, February 1, 2018

Texas- the Witte-Schmid House

The 1860 Witte-Schmid Haus was donated 
to the Texas German Society in 1986 
by Annie Schmid and her son, Sanford Schmid.  
The German fachwerk structure known as "Das Haus" 
was listed on the National Register
 of Historic Places in December, 1997.
  It is located in the Schoenau community 
between Industry and Shelby in Austin County, Texas.

The first owner of the house was Dr. Ernst Witte, 

a lawyer born in Blomberg, Germany, in 1793. 
After a successful career 
in law and politics in his native land,
 he followed his sons to America,
 and with his wife, Lisette,
 bought 1422 acres of land in Texas.
 He turned his attention
to raising cattle and cotton.
Shortly thereafter, the Wittes 

began construction on the house,
 which reproduced many of the details
 of the Wittes' house in Germany. 
The structure is of stone and timber,
 with two levels and a cellar. 
The first level has a sandstone perimeter
 with a stucco finish;
 the upper level is faced with clapboard siding. 
Interior walls are of half-timber,
 or fachwerk construction
 filled-in with adobe bricks.
Dr. Witte died in 1869 and was buried

 in a small cemetery a short distance 
southeast of the house. 
His wife died in 1883 but was buried at Shelby
 because wet weather 
made the road to the 
family cemetery impassable.
The house remained in the family
 until December, 1986,
 when it was given to 
the Society by Annie Schmid
 and her son Sanford Schmid. 
It is an excellent example of 
19th century German-Texan construction
 and is among the oldest surviving
examples of German architecture
 in Austin County.
(Texas German Society Website)

While in Texas, 
we had the chance
 to visit this historic house. 
Artifacts include original items
 from the home 
and some "period pieces" donated.
 A home that included many 
children through the years.
The details show the horsehair
 in the walls upstairs-
 to give strength and stability. 
                                                     A gathering to celebrate
 in the "Family HOME"-
and to give thanks for all the blessings 
that have been given from the land
 to this hard-working- German-Swiss Family. 

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