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 »


Max Freund
Gustav Dresel
Photograph, Portrait of Gustav Dresel. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

DRESEL, GUSTAV (1818–1848). Gustav Dresel, writer, businessman, and first German consul in Texas, the son of Johann Dietrich and Maria (Morrien) Dresel, was born on January 26, 1818, at Geisenheim, Rheingau. He attended high school in Weilburg and later went to business school. After travel in Europe, he came to the United States in 1837 and, when plans for a sawmill or distillery failed to materialize, set out westward. Eventually, he gathered a stock of goods and moved to Houston, where he served as bookkeeper and salesman in a general store, managed a warehouse on Buffalo Bayou, and bought and sold dry goods, grain, and land. Between 1838 and 1841 he traveled in parts of Texas (particularly the area around Houston), Louisiana, and Mississippi, and was involved in a cotton-export business in New Orleans. From 1842 to 1846 Dresel helped in the family wine business in Europe. On his return, he served as business manager in Texas for the Adelsverein in Galveston.

Gustav Dresel's Houston Journal
Cover of Gustav Dresel's Houston Journal. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

He served as first German consul in Texas for Duke Adolph of Nassau, from whose country many German immigrants came. He kept extensive accounts of his experiences and impressions in a diary called "Texanisches Tagebuch," first published in the 1920–21 yearbook of the German-American Historical Society of Illinois and published in translation in 1954 by the University of Texas Press as Gustav Dresel's Houston Journal. Dresel is credited with inspiring poet A. H. Hoffmann von Fallersleben's Texanische Lieder. While conducting business for the Adelsverein, he died of yellow fever on September 14, 1848, at Morris Farm near Victoria while he was traveling from Galveston to New Braunfels. He is buried at the place where he died. 


Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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, Max Freund, "DRESEL, GUSTAV," accessed August 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdr02.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on December 20, 2016. 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...