Adelsverein: The Gathering

Written by Celia Hayes
Review by Juliet Waldron

In the 1840s, an “aristocrat’s society” or “Adelsverein” formed for the purpose of bringing German immigrants into 19th-century Texas. They offered land, houses, and a freer life than most had known in the reactionary and over-populated electorates of Northern Germany. Seven thousand settlers, some farmers, some craftsmen, accepted their offer. When they arrived after a grueling sea voyage, there were no homes, little food, and no protection. There were, however, plenty of unfriendly Comanche and suspicious Americans.

So begins the first book of a trilogy, following the Steinmetz family through the hard work, tragedy, and steep learning curve that was the lot of German immigrants to the Texas frontier. Adelsverein is a fact-filled, dramatic fictionalization of the experiences of the hardy folk who founded Friedrichsburg, and a welcome addition to the growing list of HNS-reviewed regional historicals. The love story of strong-minded Magda Steinmetz and Carl “Dutch” Becker, a gun-totin’ survivor of the infamous Goliad Massacre, adds a colorful thread of romantic interest. This enjoyable page turner is definitely recommended.