When Hermann Seele anived in New Braunfels in 1845, the raw colony was plagued by poverty, disease, lack of food, and hostile Indians. This personal record of the Germans in Texas shows their evolution from struggling colonists to prosperous citizens.
From his viewpoint of a hardworking yet imaginative pioneer, Seele presents first a history of German immigration and settlement in Texas during the nineteenth century. Next, his autobiographical writings range from a "sentimental recollection" of his first Christmas Eve in Texas to his first day of teaching in New Braunfels, from accounts of the popular singing society to murder and justice along the Comal River. In addition, Seele's romantic novel, The Cypress, is a delightful though improbable tale of a traveling botanist, a chieftain's daughter, and a savage Indian cult.
Hermann Seele—farmer, lawyer, teacher, lay preacher, mayor, state representative, Civil War major, and editor—epitomizes the best of the German immigrants who established their communities as models of respectability and prosperity.