in the spring or summer of the year but in the winter of their lives,
Heinrich Lindig and his wife Johanna sat still and grim-faced for
a photograph in the yard of their Hill Country farmhouse.
Mrs. Lindig wore a long, black dress with sleeves down to her hands
and her husband had on a dark suit, white shirt and dark bow tie.
While they are not smiling, neither are they frowning in this early
Heinrich’s hair is thick and white, just like his mustache. Mrs.
Lindig’s hair, parted down the middle, is darker than her husband’s,
but shows streaks of gray.
In this undated photo, which appears in a now-scarce family history
published by the Lindigs’ grandson in 1963, the German couple were
in their late 60s or early 70s. And they looked ever minute of their
age. They seem to have had a good life as immigrants to the U.S.,
but it hadn’t been an easy life. “Grandpa and Grandma Lindig went
through many hardships in those early pioneer days of the Stonewall
area,” Otto Lindig wrote.
Just getting to Texas had been difficult
the Atlantic in 1868 with their young daughter was no Disney cruise,
and when they made port at Indianola,
their journey did not get any easier. After their trunks had been
off-loaded from the sailing vessel’s hold, the Lindigs set out for
in an ox-drawn wagon. Mrs. Lindig and her child rode in the wagon,
while Heinrich and the other men in the northwest-bound wagon train
covered the distance on foot.
“The men folks walked faster than the ox team could travel, hauling
the wagon and things they brought along,” their grandson wrote.
“So, before sundown [each day] they stopped to prepare a camping
place. By the time the wagons arrived they had a big fire going
and they would camp that night around the fire.”
In other words, the men hoofed it all the way from the coast to
a distance of 222 miles. A three-hour drive today, it took the Lindigs
and the other European immigrants three weeks to reach the hills
that would be their home.
first, Lindig worked for his uncle, an earlier arrival from the
homeland. Within a year, he had made enough money to buy 490 acres
in Gillespie County for that many dollars.
“Papa was a hard working man and every chance he got he worked on
that place,” his grandson wrote.
In 1869, Lindig built a 16 by 20 foot log cabin with a stone fireplace.
Four years later, he constructed a four-room house with a 12-foot
wide dogtrot through its middle.
The couple’s second child had been born in the original log cabin.
Five more children came into the world in their new house.
that family wasn’t easy.
Even after a long day of work, at night Mrs. Lindig sat by the fire
at her spinning wheel while her husband braided horsehair ropes.
In the morning, their work cycle started all over again.
“Just as soon as Grandma got up she went to the cow pen and milked
the cows,” Lindig wrote.
In addition to her other chores, Mrs. Lindig made butter and cheese.
Using homemade yeast, she baked bread, each loaf weighing about
six pounds. The butter she didn’t need for her family she sold for
15 cents a pound.
Mrs. Lindig minded household duties and took care of her children,
her husband worked their crops and tended to their livestock. And
while he was away from their home, Mrs. Lindig also had to keep
an eye out for Indians.
Once, when she was alone with three of her children, Indians descended
on the Lindig homestead. Opting for some reason not to bother whoever
might have been in the cabin, the Indians cut the hobble on one
of the Lindigs’ horses and rode off leading it and a mule.
Rangers or volunteers later caught up with the raiders and the Lindig
mule escaped and came home, but the family never saw that horse
The last time anyone remembered hearing of Indians in the area was
1876. Meanwhile, life went on.
Twice a month at least, the Lindigs got together
with their neighbors. With their children happily playing, the men
enjoyed a card game called Skat while the women visited. At midnight,
everyone feasted on a late supper of sausage, doughnuts, wine and
At least three times a year, the Lindigs hosted a dance. Someone
handy with an accordion provided the music and the Lindigs furnished
food, wine and beer. The dancing and drinking went on until sunrise.
Having raised seven children and doted over 28 grandchildren, the
pioneer couple’s time together continued until Mrs. Lindig’s death
at 75 on Oct. 25, 1921. Her husband lived on until Sept. 22, 1923
when he died at 77. They lie together in the Stonewall Cemetery.
© Mike Cox
- February 27, 2014 column
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