History at a Glance – WaterStone Along the Guadalupe
WaterStone’s Land Legacy
by Bryden Moon
When Native-Americans roamed our rugged transitional terrain, WaterStone’s landscape, as well as all of the Hill Country’s, remained unsettled during the collective centuries that Spanish, Mexican and Republic of Texas’ flags waved over Texas soil. San Antonio defined the outer edge of “west Texas” for over 125 years.
The German Immigration Society, called the Adelsverein, changed the dynamics when forced to purchase land for a large number of immigrants from Prussia and the Germanic states.
The Adelsverein, ignoring the dangers that the numerous tribes presented, pushed past the boundaries of civilization and carved out instant cities in the wild frontier to satisfy land commitments; New Braunfels and Fredericksburg were established in 1845 and 1846 respectively.
The opportunity for new freedoms and large land parcels, continued to lure both German and non-German pioneers into our region. In future Kendall County* our first settler, Nicolaus Zink, established a farm in 1847 on the north bank of the Guadalupe River near an old Native-American pathway called the Pinta Trail. Others followed him to surrounding sites. Nearly all of our county’s first residents were living here when the 1850 Comal County census recorded over 40 citizens. The nascent hamlet formally became Sisterdale in 1851, only the third Post Office in the entire Hill Country, it was our county’s first.
While the threat of Native-American presence had not abated, development continued in our county, as the formal towns of Boerne (1852) and Comfort (1854) were platted and lots were sold, just like large real estate developments of today. And in the remote countryside, farms large and small were individually springing up in the wilderness, along our numerous creeks and the Guadalupe River.
Within the estimated 800 denizens that made up future Kendall County when the 1860 census was taken, were three German immigrant families who had taken up farming and ranching on Guadalupe River land in the middle-1850s. Johan Reinhard, Carl Wetzel and Christian Bergmann and their families were WaterStone’s first pioneers. More to come…
*Established in 1862, Kendall County was formed from portions of Kerr and Blanco Counties.