Society Showcase: Booth S
“In December of 1854, an English sailing vessel, the Ben Nevis, docked in Galveston harbor loaded with some 500 immigrants from Lusatia, an area in Germany comprising parts of Saxony and Prussia. These immigrants were not the typical lot of Germans, Swedes, Czechs, and Poles who flocked to Texas in the 1850’s seeking cheap land and economic opportunity. This group was different.”
So begins the brief history of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society. It is a fascinating story of Slavic pioneers who settled in Lee County in search of religious liberty and the right to speak their Wendish tongue. In the latter part of the 1800s, many of these settlers headed to other parts of Texas. Through the years, the Wendish language died out.
The Texas Wendish Heritage Museum preserves the history of the Texas Wends, Salvic immigrants from Lusatia, an area in eastern Germany. The Texas Heritage Museum is located in Serbin, Texas, near the St. Paul Lutheran Church, school and cemetery. Exhibits include two log buildings and farming equipment. The Lillie Moerbe Caldwell Memorial Library specializes in the history and genealogy of the Wendish people.
The 26th Annual Wendish Fest will be held September 28, 2014, and features traditional Wendish activities on the church grounds, exhibits and crafts at the Museum and exhibitions an demonstrations preserving the Wendish heritage.
Today, thousands of Texans and other Americans can lay claim to the “courageous and fascinating heritage of the Wends.”
Visit the Texas Wendish Heritage Society in booth S in the Society Showcase in the Exhibit Hall at the FGS 2014 Conference to learn more about their activities, scholarship program, and collections.