Monday, October 24, 2016

William C. Eggert, Pilot and Ship Captain Galveston and Brazos River

The importance of collaborating with other genealogists researching your ancestors cannot be overemphasized.  You will find that you have many distant cousins that share your interest in family history.  Don't be afraid to contact people that connect with you and ask them for information.

Recently I have entered into a very successful collaboration with a group of cousins who are researching the Eggert family that hails from Steimke, Saxony, Germany.  My thanks to Kathi Appelt, Ellen Dinges and other members of the family who have helped me compile the following information.

One particularly interesting member of the Eggert Family is Captain William C. Eggert AKA Christian William Eggert who was a pilot and a ship's captain in Galveston and on the Brazos River in Texas.  The obituary of Captain Eggert gives us an overview of his life.

Captain Eggert's early life is still somewhat shrouded in mystery.  The obituary states that he was "born in Germany in December 1841 and was brought to this country when he was but 6 months old." It is more likely that he arrived in this country in 1847 when he was five or six years old.  The 1900 census states that he immigrated in 1845 and the 1910 census states that he arrived in 1846.  We believe that his actual arrival was on the Brig Helen and Elise in Galveston on 7 December 1847. There were two families named Eggert that sailed on that ship as shown in the following image:

This record is from an online database at The original data was from Ethel Hander Geue. A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1847-1861. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982. Ms. Geue transcribed data from passenger lists into her book.
In the family of Jac. and Soph. Eggert you see there is a five year old boy named Wm. presumably an abbreviation for William or Wilhelm.  We believe that this is Captain Eggert.  Jac. could be an abbreviation for Jacob.  Some genealogists have his name as Joachim.  Soph. is presumably an abbreviation for Sophia.

Several transcriptions have been made of the passenger list of the Brig Helen and Elise but I particularly like the one that was done at the following website:

When Judie Cale Nelson made this transcription back in 2000, her reading of the passenger list led her to assume that all of the passengers were going to Texas.  Ms. Nelson paid particular attention to the names of the villages that were listed as the place of origin for these immigrants.  This is very rare to find the names of the hometowns on a passenger list. The transcription by Ms. Nelson is very helpful because it provides geographic context for the location of the villages of this group of German immigrants.

The two Eggert families on the passenger list came from Brome and Steimke.  According to Ms. Nelson, the villages of Brome, Steimke, Parsau, Apenburg, Ahnebeck, Jübar and Germenau are all near each other and located NE of Braunschweig also known as Brunswick.  These places are also close to a place named Wolfsburg which you may recognize as the location of the Volkswagen headquarters and the largest car plant in the world.  There is another village named Steimke NW of Brome.

The names on this passenger list bear further scrutiny as they become part of the FAN club [Friends, associates, neighbors] for the Eggert family.

The mention of Confederate service in the obituary is supported by the following two citations:
(Clayton Library), Under Three Flags, Register of Veterans of All Wars, 1839-1889, pg. 48, #315. copyright 1996, George Washington Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, c/o Mrs. Rose Mary Fritz, 5001 Casa Grande, Dickinson, TX 77539-7504.
C.W. Eggert, Pilot
Born Dec. 4, 1841 Prussia
Residence: Galveston, Texas
Came to Texas 1846
Service: Confederate, Gen. Bates Marine Dept., Brazos River
The Houston Post, Sunday, December 30, 1962, by Gayle McNutt, page 9, Section I, "Battle of Galveston."
"...Magruder decided to move up the attack to the night of Dec. 31. Still it was to come as no surprise to the Union forces.
Sharpshooters were needed to man the cotton-clad Confederate steamboats and Magruder issued a call for volunteers that was answered by members of Sibley's and Green's Regiments, who were promptly dubbed "horse marines."
Col Tom Green led the sharpshooters, who volunteered with the understanding that it was a mission from which they were not likely to return..."
(NOTE in Margin: "Mom's Uncle Capt: C.W. EGGERT was in this battle on cotton laden gunboat. He was very young at time. After a few years, became pilot, and was for many years a captain.") 
The following chronology from the Galveston City Directories for Eggert from 1866-1912 shows that Captain Eggert first appears in Galveston in 1874.  This would mean that he resided in Galveston for 37 years until his death in 1911. The obituary states that he resided in Galveston for forty years.

1866 Galveston City Directory
No listing for Captain Eggert in 1866.

1868 Galveston City Directory
No listing for Captain Eggert in 1868.

1870 Galveston City Directory
No listing for Captain Eggert in 1870.

1872 Galveston City Directory

No listing for Captain Eggert in 1872.

1874 Galveston City Directory

1874 Shows the first listing for William Eggert as a pilot residing on Avenue K between 26th and 27th Street.

1877 Galveston City Directory

Again he is listed in 1877.

1880 Galveston City Directory

For some unknown reason he was not listed in 1880.

1882 Galveston City Directory

He shows up again in the directory for 1882 at the same address where he was found in 1874 and 1877.

1886 Galveston City Directory

He arrives at his 30th street address in 1886.

1890 Galveston City Directory

He shows up again on 30th street in 1890.  The 1890 Tax List of Galveston Precinct No. 1 shows that C.W. Eggert owned Lot 7, Block 150 valued at $1300. Based on Galveston Appraisal District records that description is consistent with an address of 1007 30th street.  There is a current property listing in Appraisal District records for 1011 30th street which is described as Lot 8 of Block 150.  Lot 7 appears to have been merged into a commercial property on the corner of Broadway and 30th Street. The house of Captain Eggert was apparently razed for a fast food restaurant which is now serving as a title loan business.

SOURCE: "Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1837-1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Galveston county, Precinct no. 1 > 1890 > image 103 of 386; State Archives, Austin.

1893 Galveston City Directory

There were two pages of Eggerts in 1893.

1893 Galveston City Directory

But William Eggert, the captain and pilot did not appear.

1895 Galveston City Directory

In 1895, Captain Eggert resided at 1007 30th Street and as you will see he continued to reside there for the rest of his life.

1901 Galveston City Directory

In 1901 he is listed as the pilot of the tug "Hygeia."

1905 Galveston City Directory

In 1905 he is the captain of the tug "Hygeia."
1911 Galveston City Directory

1911 he is again listed as a tug captain.

1912 Galveston City Directory

The information on the death certificate for William C. Eggert was provided by a Mr. J. Singer of 2126 Strand in Galveston.  Captain Eggert died on November 30, 1911 and was buried in the Old City Cemetery.  The doctor that attended Captain Eggert in his last hours was Dr. Brooks Stafford.  Mr. Singer gave the first name as William E. rather William C.  He also stated that he was born December 4, 1841 in Germany and that he was a "Sea Captain."  The length of his residence in Galveston was 40 years.

The church burial record provides some other interesting information on Captain Eggert:

This record gives his birthplace as what appears to be Letzinger, Saxony.  His address matches with the city directory.  It is also noted that he had no direct issue.  There is a place called Letzlingen in Saxony which is in the vicinity of Steimke and Brome.  Letzlingen is a village and a former municipality in the district Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since January 1, 2011, it is part of the town Gardelegen per Wikipedia.  Here is a map of the route from Steimke to Gardelegen.

When you page back using the filmstrip view on, you can view the title page for the burial record which is conveniently written in both English and German:

These were the burial records of the First Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Galveston, Texas which are now available on in a database entitled U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940.

To trace the story back further, we will need to consult some of the German parish records in this part of Saxony.  Parish register transcripts of baptisms, marriages and deaths for Steimke, Sachsen, Preußen, Germany for the period 1823-1860 are available on Family Search microfilm number 1190638.  This parish also includes Brome, Cunrau, Germenau, Fahrstedt, Bökevitz, Nettgau, and Wendisch Brome.

Another lead for further research comes from the following article from the Galveston Daily News:

Captain Eggert filed an intervention in the case of Walker, Fowler & Co. vs. the steamer Brazos, suit for debt.  C.W. Eggert filed for the sum of $1198 alleged to be due him for services as a pilot. Perhaps if a court case file can be located, it will describe the nature of his services in greater detail.

SOURCE: The Galveston Daily News. (Galveston, Tex.), Vol. 46, No. 92, Ed. 1 Wednesday, July 27, 1887, newspaper, July 27, 1887;
( accessed October 15, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .

In summary, it is always helpful to collaborate with others in your genealogical pursuits.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Historic Adventures in Brenham, TX

Bird's Eye View of Brenham, 1873

Brenham is a Texas town that has fascinated me since I first arrived in the Lone Star State in 2010. My wife and I stayed in a bed and breakfast inn in Brenham prior to moving to Texas and we were impressed with the historic charm of the town.  I was quite delighted to conduct genealogical research on the family of Robert S. Sloan who lived in Brenham and was buried in the Camptown cemetery there.  Mr. Sloan continues to be a source of great fascination for me.

Robert S. Sloan 1858-1916 seated with his wife, Mattie Knox Sloan born about 1861.
Their son, Ketchum Sloan 1881-1958 is standing behind his parents.
When we arrived in Brenham last Monday, I visited the Washington County Courthouse and met with the Washington County District Clerk, Tammy Brauner. Ms. Brauner had already provided copies through the mail of 44 pages of the case file #7312 regarding R.S. Sloan and wife vs. the Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company. When I told Ms. Brauner that I was headed to Brenham on October 3, she graciously offered to hold the case file in her office so I could examine the rest of the pages. I sincerely appreciate Ms. Brauner's assistance in obtaining the information from this court case.

Robert S. Sloan and his wife Mattie sued for damages associated with the death of their son, Samuel R. Sloan subsequent to injuries he received in a train accident on September 24, 1893. The District Court Case included poignant testimony from Robert Sloan about his son, Sammy and offered a picturesque window into the lives of the Sloan family in 1893. To view the entire case file and some related documents use this link.

My visit to Brenham also gave me the opportunity to visit with retired Judge Eddie Harrison.  Judge Harrison is very active in historical preservation efforts in Brenham and throughout Texas related to Buffalo Soldiers, Camptown Cemetery and the Brenham Normal School.  He told me that Bob Sloan had attended Brenham Normal School so I am looking forward to perusing those records.

On September 21, 2016, Judge Harrison gave a keynote address at the dedication of a statue at Veterans Park, 3103 Harvey Road in College Station. The statue depicts a Buffalo Soldier from the 9th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army and a Native American scout from the Tonkawa Tribe. Judge Harrison was selected by the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board as the model for the Buffalo Soldier.  The 9th Cavalry was a segregated African American regiment that served with distinction and valor in combat during the Indian and Spanish American Wars.

Invitation for the Brazos Valley Buffalo Soldier Statue Dedication that was held on September 21, 2016
Judge Harrison is on the left and Don Patterson of the Tonkawa tribe is on the right.
Artist J. Payne Lara used the likenesses of these two gentlemen to create the statue seen in the center.
The curious little girl gazing at the Buffalo soldier is Mr. Patterson's grand niece.

Buffalo Soldiers at the Camptown Cemetery Historical Marker Dedication

The other aspect of Brenham history that is quite intriguing is the number of German immigrants that settled in Brenham and Washington County.  I had the pleasure of presenting to the Washington County Genealogical Society (WCGS) on Monday night, October 3, 2016 at Blinn College on the topic: "By Land and Sea- Tracing the Routes of Our Immigrant Ancestors."  I was amazed that close to 90% of the attendees at WCGS had German ancestry.  My thanks to Jan Kelm and Geraldine Johnson for inviting me to speak in Brenham.

Here are a few of my slides from that presentation:

Here is the text of Robert Sloan's testimony:

No. 7312.R.S. Sloan and wife,Vs.H. & T. C. R. R. CompanyStatement of Facts
September Term, 1894. 
Filed Oct. 3rd 1894  Be it remembered that upon the trial of the above numbered and entitled cause, before jury, on this 12th  day of September 1894, in the District Court of Washington County, Texas , the following evidence was adduced on trial : R. S. SLOAN sworn as a witness in his own behalf testified as follows :
 My name is Robert S. Sloan; I am married and my wife’s name is Mattie Sloan. I am plaintiff in this case. This is a suit brought by myself to recover damages for the death of my son, Sammie Sloan caused by injuries received by an accident on the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. At the time of the death of Sammie he was eleven years and thirteen days old; the accident occurred on the 24th day of September 1893, it occurred in the City of Brenham on Market street, it runs south and north in front of Lockett’s livery s t a b l e and in the rear of the Levy Hotel and crosses the Houston and Texas Central Track; the crossing where the accident occurred is east of the freight depot, it is the first street east of the depot. It was about half past five o'clock when the accident occurred, between five and six o' clock in the evening. The boy was going from Mrs. Blooman’s to the jail to carry Mr. Blooman his supper; Blooman lived on Market street south of the crossing four or five hundred yards. The jail is located on Sandy street north of the railroad and Sam had to cross the railroad track to take Mr. Blooman his supper; this was between five and six o'clock when the accident occurred.
 I did not witness the accident myself, I heard of it ten or fifteen minutes after it happened, he had been carried to the saloon, he was carried from where he was hurt to my saloon. This leg, the left leg, was split down to the ankle, from the knee to the ankle and the calf of the right leg was smashed, fractured. It was ten or fifteen minutes after the accident that I saw him.  His left knee was knocked out of place.  Sam was the ordinary size for a boy of eleven years of age, he was well developed and good size, he was healthy and in good condition.  I suppose he was about four feet tall and would weigh about sixty-five or seventy pounds; he was healthy and robust.  He was in the habit of working after school hours, he was well acquainted with the white ladies and gentlemen and would go on errands for them; he would earn from four to five dollars per month, he would make from one and a half to tow dollars per week by waiting on families, he would hitch up the buggy and wash up dishes in dining room, he would hire himself out frequently to do that work and always gave satisfaction and was in demand in that class of work, he was manerable [sic] and smart and confidential; at one time he helped his mother at the church, would sweep out and open up the church; she was sexton at that time.[1] At the time of the accident Mrs. Blooman was paying $1.50 per week to carry meals morning and night.  After he was through with his work he was at liberty to go where he pleased.  He was not an idle thriftless kind of a boy.  He always wanted to work and save his money.  He was an obedient child to myself and wife and was very attentive about home.  He would carry the clothes for his mother and bring back the money.  He would make fires and assist my wife.  My wife took in washing.  He would bring the clothes, carry back the money, make fires and empty tubs for her.  He would assist me.  He would feed the stock and attend to them.  I had been paying a man $10.00 per month to look after my animal and he took him and he improved under his treatment.
 I know that his death was caused from injuries received on the 24th day of September 1893.  After being injured, he lived until the next Sunday morning about two o’clock.  It was on a Sunday evening that he was hurt and he died the next Saturday night or Sunday morning about two o’clock.  He died from the injuries received.
 Outside of assisting me and my wife, he would earn on an average about $5.00 per month, taking into consideration the work that he did for my wife and me and others, I should think his services were worth at least fifteen or twenty dollars per month.  I paid a man $10.00 for the work he did for me and he attended to the work after turning the man off. The accident occurred at the crossing at Market Street, east of the Central depot.  That is a public street and generally used by the public and is within the corporate limits.  It is about four blocks from the Court-house square. 
Here is an image of a newspaper advertisement for the saloon that Robert Sloan was operating in 1893:

I hope to be back to Brenham soon to find more of the forgotten stories and make more friends!

[1] Sam Sloan's funeral was conducted by Elder Carmichael of the A.M.E. church. This may be the same church where Mattie Sloan worked as sexton.