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Comfort in Kendall County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

The Founding Freethinkers

(Deutsche Freidenker)

 
 
The Founding Freethinkers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 30, 2014
1. The Founding Freethinkers Marker
Inscription.
From 1845 to 1861 large numbers of German Freethinkers immigrated to the Texas Hill Country. Freethinkers were predominantly German intellectuals who advocated reason and democracy over religious and political autocracy. Many had been active in the 1848 German revolution and sought freedom in America. The Freethinkers established numerous Central Texas colonies including Bettina, Castell, Cypress Creek, Luckenbach, Sisterdale, and Tusculum (Boerne). Settlements which conducted intellectual forums in Latin became known as “Latin Colonies.” Within a few years of the founding of Comfort in 1854, half the Hill Country Freethinker population was living in the area.

Freethinkers valued their newfound freedoms of speech, assembly and separation of religion and government. Instead of religious dogma, Freethinkers believed in individual philosophy. They advocated equal rights for all persons, and their moral values were dominated by respect for life and nature. Many were active in political issues of the day including the rejection of secession and abolition of slavery. Intellectual pursuits were shared with agriculture and other crafts of physical labor. Secular education and organizations (Vereins) provided social and cultural fulfillment. Existence was peaceful and their influence rapidly expanded.

Loyalty
The Founding Freethinkers Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 30, 2014
2. The Founding Freethinkers Marker (tall view)
to the Union during the Civil War had cost many their freedoms and lives. Some Freethinkers relocated to nearby urban area or other states, and a few returned to Europe. Arrival of the railroad in Comfort in 1887 and other outside factors largely influenced the construction of the first church in 1892. Freethinker origins continue to influence the spirit of the community and surrounding areas.
 
Erected 2002.
 
Location. 29° 57.98′ N, 98° 54.397′ W. Marker is in Comfort, Texas, in Kendall County. Marker is on High Street west of 8th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is bronze metal tablet mounted on large stone pedestal at the east end of the old Paul Ingenhuett building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 731 High Street, Comfort TX 78013, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Gass Schmiede (a few steps from this marker); Comfort Community Church (approx. half a mile away); Treue Der Union Monument (approx. half a mile away); Comfort School (approx. 0.6 miles away); Apelt Armadillo Farm (approx. 2.6 miles away); Center Point, Texas
The Founding Freethinkers Marker (<i>wide view with adjacent Paul Ingenhuett General Store bldg</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 30, 2014
3. The Founding Freethinkers Marker (wide view with adjacent Paul Ingenhuett General Store bldg)
(approx. 8 miles away); Camp Verde, Texas (approx. 8 miles away); Center Point Cemetery (approx. 8.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Comfort.
 
Also see . . .
1. "Freethinkers" Of the Early Texas Hill Country.
The Texas Hill Country Freethinkers numbered an estimated 1,000 individuals with close to 250 documented surnames. This group came primarily from the intellectual core of the German states, with many of them being highly respected nobles, philosophers, scientists, physicians, and engineers. Besides being well educated, many of the Freethinkers had been quite affluent while living in the German states. When they immigrated to Texas, they brought with them not only clothes and guns, but books, linens, china, paintings, musical instruments, and especially, a new philosophy. As a matter of survival, these intellectuals rapidly engaged in the effort to master the art of pioneer farming. For this endeavor, they drew on the expertise of the Comanches and some local Mormons who taught them how to raise the crops best suited for the Texas climate and soil. They quickly learned to clear land; build cabins, cabinets, wagons, and fences; cut trees; split shingles; shoe horses; distill wine; roll cigars; hunt and fish; and raise corn, cotton, tobacco and cattle. However, their time was divided between fields and education. Higher ideals, classics, and cultural affairs were studied, discussed, and debated. (Submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Freethinkers.
Freethinkers is a term used to describe some nineteenth-century German intellectuals. The term had special currency in the Kendall County communities of Sisterdale and Comfort, where freethinkers formed the majority. A Freethinkers' Society held regular meetings in Sisterdale during the 1850s. Freethinking, which had various sources, among them early nineteenth-century Romanticism and science as well as the Turner movement and early communism, lasted in Comfort until the 1970s. (Submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Churches & ReligionPoliticsSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 11, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 83 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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