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 »


Miriam York
Historical marker John Friedrich Meinhard Ernst
Photograph, Historical marker for John Friedrich Meinhard Ernst in Industry, Texas. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

ERNST, JOHN FRIEDRICH MEINHARD (1820–1863). John (or Johann) Friedrich Meinhard (Fritz) Ernst was born on September 11, 1820, in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, the son of Louise Gesine Auguste (Weber) and Johann Friedrich Ernst. He sailed to the United States in 1829 with his parents, among the first German settlers in Texas, and grew up in Austin's colony in what became the settlement of Industry. He married Maria Ann (Krumm) Brey, the widow of Ferdinand Brey, who died in the Mier expedition. They had four children. Fritz Ernst served as a guide and interpreter for Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels on his visit to Texas. He was a farmer and a justice of the peace as well as a soldier and pioneer. He served as a ranger for the Republic of Texas from July 20, 1836, to November 20, 1836. He also served in the Southwestern Army of the Republic of Texas, Company B, First Regiment, from October 3, 1842, to January 20, 1843. Although Ernst grew up at Industry, he later lived near Round Top and in 1861 served in the Round Top Guerrillas, a local militia group. During the Civil War he helped a Captain Creuzbaur organize a company from Fayette County. He served as first lieutenant in Creuzbaur's company of light artillery, Texas Volunteers, from October 12, 1861, until he died in Waco in October 1863.


Gilbert Giddings Benjamin, The Germans in Texas: A Study in Immigration (Austin: Jenkins, 1974). Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Paul C. Boethel, The Big Guns of Fayette (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1965). Caroline Von Hinueber, "Life of German Pioneers in Early Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 2 (January 1899). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).

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, Miriam York, "ERNST, JOHN FRIEDRICH MEINHARD," accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fer10.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on April 11, 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...