Spring Oaks Civic Association - Spring Branch, Houston, TX
History > Spring Branch History

When Texas was a new state in 1845, they needed citizens and let this be known to other people in America as well as other nations. Simultaneously, Germany was experiencing problems with overcrowding and political issues. The opportunity for a new life of liberty, specifically to become landowners, persuaded many Germans to depart from their native land to go to Texas. A team of German noblemen with land developers from Texas created a German Organization (Adelsverin) to handle immigration. The Organization's mission was to help Germans to have a lifestyle in certain areas, start a business and compile community requirements. Sadly, these promises were broken.

The cash disappeared rapidly so the Germans had to survive on their own in the new and undeveloped state. The United States' freedoms were worth the hard work and limited any desire to go back to Germany. Being able to work as a group helped them construct a lot of little towns and societies in Texas, and one of these towns is Spring Branch. Karl Kolbe moved to an area in Buffalo Bayou and called it Spring Branch. In 1848, the families of Kolbe, 2 Hillendahl families, Bauer Family and Ahrenbeck family, organized their first service for St. Peter Church, reading from a book of prayers that the Bauer family had brought with them from Germany.

Many of the streets in the Spring Branch and Memorial area bear the names of these early settlers: Kolbe, Hillendahl, Bauer, Schroeder, Hedwig, Bauer, Sauer, Witte, Campbell, Look, Tappenback, Beinhorn, Rummel, Clay, Ojeman, Oberpriller, Telchow, Tendler, Mueller, Neuen, Kuhlman, Bingle, Reidel, Reichart, Beutel, Pech, Burkhardt, Emnora, Fredrich, Hufmeister, Weiman and Koehn.

The Karl Kolbe and Fredrick Schroeder families have the privilege of being the first pioneers in this community. The first post office was owned by the Hillendahl's as well as the initial railroad stop and the last functioning Spring Branch farm. Their family burial ground is still at Long Point. The property was provided by the Rummel family to construct St. Peter Church which is at its original site and can be found on the cross streets of Long Point and Campbell. The first town sawmills were owned by the Rummel and Bauer families, but the Schroeder family moved to the Piney Point town first. The Beinhorns were prosperous farm owners in the Memorial town and managed a grocery market. The Oberprillers initially managed the early mercantile in Spring Branch and the Reidels were in charge of the feed store in the area from start to finish. Dairy farming was the business the Conrad Sauers had while William Sauers owned a sausage company. Like the majority of the early pioneers, the Telchows were farmers. The family did not believe in using slaves so they worked the farm themselves. Every citizen contributed information about the land, animals, temperature and the methods to prosper and keep each other safe. Clubs were formed to help facilitate the sharing of information, music, sharp shooting (Spring Branch Gun Club), dancing (Tin Hall), sewing (Quilting Bees) and insurance (Sons of Hermann)... the standard contract was a solid handshake.

In 1854, the minister of St. Peters conducted the first school in the log cabin church. The initial public school was constructed near a church and a teacher was employed in 1889. The little schoolhouse had one room initially and later on, it ended up being called the Spring Branch School System. For 10 years, Arnold Hillendahl was a member of the school board, and the rest of the Hillendahl family were some of the most involved people in the neighborhood and town.

The original settlers came from Germany as well as other countries and various regions of America. They were hardy pioneers who persevered through difficult times, including The Civil War, malaria, yellow fever, Texas size storms, floods, extreme heat and droughts. From them we learned how to create a community with dedication, teamwork, and difficult labor while enjoying ourselves. They deemed their celebrations to be just as important to their success as their work. They cherished the opportunity to get together and celebrate on any holiday or occasion. Usually these parties involved a picnic, music, dancing, and shooting games. St. Peter Church had a yearly BBQ beneath the large oak trees for the people of this town and the nearby locations. This still occurs today and in October 2004 it celebrated its 156th anniversary. 

A good number of the members of the original families still reside in Spring Branch and are a part of St. Peter Church. The cemetery behind the church holds the remains of the majority of the first pioneers and their legacy is honored there. While the people and the church have altered over time, one thing stays the same… this is an American town that is full of various cultures, and it has remained this way with much work, ambition, togetherness, and fun.


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