While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Dora Dieterich Bonham
The Goliad Massacre
The Goliad Massacre by Alred R. Waud. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

DIETERICH, FRANCIS (1815–1860). Francis Dieterich, early settler and businessman, was born on February 2, 1815, in Cassel, Germany. He immigrated to Texas in 1834 and settled in Refugio, where he petitioned for and received several leagues of land. He also bought a lot there when the town was officially surveyed. In February 1836 he joined a company of militia that became part of a regiment commanded by Lt. Col. William Ward under Col. James W. Fannin, Jr. He participated in the defense of the mission at Refugio, where he was taken prisoner on March 14, 1836; his life was spared. He was again taken prisoner at Goliad but escaped the Goliad Massacre of March 27. After the war he applied for land and received two grants-640 acres of donation land in San Patricio County and 320 acres of bounty land in Comal County.

Texan Santa Fe expedition
Map of Texan Santa Fe expedition.Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

In 1839 Dieterich moved to Austin and, in that community's first year of real settlement, went into business as a meat dealer. Records of sales from November 29, 1839, to September 14, 1841, show that he sold about 25,900 pounds of beef preceding and during preparation by the government for the Texan Santa Fe expedition. He added to his landholdings by the purchase of three city lots in 1841. When the government of the republic was moved to Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1842, Dieterich moved there also to supply goods. On returning to Austin in 1845, he opened a store at the corner of Congress Avenue and Pecan Street (now Sixth Street) and joined in business with George D. Hancock, who bought the site from Alexander Russell. Later, Dieterich purchased lots on the east side of Congress Avenue, where he increased his trade by sales from his own storehouse. In 1846 he served as alderman of the city.

Grave of Francis Dieterich
Photograph, Grave of Francis Dieterich in Austin. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Dieterich was married three times: in 1834 or 1835 to Bessie Reed, by whom he had twins, one of whom survived; to Martha Ann Brown on March 12, 1845, Bessie having died sometime prior to 1845; and to Sarah Elizabeth Browning on June 17, 1847, Martha Ann having died in 1846. Francis and Sarah Dieterich were the parents of four children. Dieterich died in Austin on May 31, 1860, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.


Dora Dieterich Bonham Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. William H. Oberste, Texas Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1953; 2d ed. 1973).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Dora Dieterich Bonham, "DIETERICH, FRANCIS," accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdi14.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on July 12, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...