Summerfield G. Roberts Award for a Work of Creative Writing, Sons of the Texas Republic, 2013
First published in Germany in 1867, this fascinating autobiographical novel of German immigrants on the antebellum Texas frontier provides a trove of revelations about the myriad communities that once called the Hill Country home.
Founded in 1846, Fredericksburg, Texas, was established by German noblemen who enticed thousands of their compatriots to flee their overcrowded homeland with the prospect of free land in a place that was portrayed as a new Garden of Eden. Few of the settlers, however, were prepared for the harsh realities of the Texas frontier or for confrontation with the Comanche. In his 1867 novel Friedrichsburg, Friedrich Armand Strubberg, a.k.a. Dr. Schubbert, interwove his personal story with a fictional romance to capture the flavor of Fredericksburg, Texas, during its founding years when he served as the first colonial director.
Now available in a contemporary translation, Friedrichsburg brings to life the little-known aspects of life among these determined but often ill-equipped settlers who sought to make the transition to a new home and community on the Texas frontier. Opening just as a peace treaty is being negotiated between the German newcomers and the Comanches, the novel describes the unlikely survival of these fledgling homesteads and provides evidence that support from the Delaware Indians, as well as the nearby Mormon community of Zodiac, was key to the Germans’ success. Along the way, Strubberg also depicts the laying of the cornerstone to the Vereinskirche, the blazing of an important new road to Austin, exciting hunting scenes, and an admirable spirit of cultural cohesion and determined resilience. In so doing, he resurrects a fascinating lost world.