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Dave Johnson
Daniel Hoerster
Photograph, Portrait of Daniel Hoerster (Hörster). Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Historical marker for Daniel Hoerster
Photograph, Historical marker for Daniel Hoerster. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Grave of Daniel Hoerster
Photograph, Grave of Daniel Hoerster in Mason County. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

HOERSTER, DANIEL (1843–1875). Daniel Hoerster (Hörster), brand inspector, cattleman, and merchant, son of John Heinrich and Maria Christina (Jahausen or Gelhausen) Hoerster, was born in Piertzenthal, Prussia, on September 5, 1843. The family emigrated to Texas in 1846, settled in Fredericksburg in 1847, and moved to Willow Creek in Mason County in 1856. Though he opposed secession, Hoerster served in Company 1 of the Mason County Minute Men under Capt. Alf Hunter during the Civil War. Following the war he worked as a cattle drover and rancher and became actively engaged in local business. In 1871 Hoerster constructed one of Mason's first stone buildings, a general merchandise store later converted into the Southern Hotel. From October 5, 1872, until August 11, 1873, Hoerster served as commander of Company R of the Mason County Minute Men. During this time he also became a cattle and tick inspector for the county (see TEXAS FEVER), although the date he assumed these duties is uncertain. In 1874 he acquired over 340 acres near Fort Mason. Cattle theft had gone unchecked in the area for several years when Hoerster became involved in the Mason County War in 1874 and 1875 as a supporter of Sheriff John Clark. The event, a local dispute over cattle rustling that intensified into a feud, was resolved in 1876 only after months of violence. Hoerster was with a posse in February 1875 when it arrested ten suspects. A number of hangings and other deaths ensued that led to a confrontation on September 7, 1875, in which Moses Baird, one of the disputants, was killed at Hedwig's Hill. Support for Sheriff Clark declined, and desire to avenge the recent deaths increased. On September 29, 1875, Hoerster was ambushed and killed by John Baird, Moses Baird's brother, in Mason. Hoerster married Wilhelmina Jordan on December 1, 1871; they had three children. A marker erected by the Mason County Historical Commission stands at the site of his grave near Art, Texas, on the Hoerster lands.


Thomas W. Gamel, Life of Thomas W. Gamel (Mason, Texas, n.d.). Dave Johnson, "Daniel Hoerster and the `Mason County War'," NOLA Quarterly, Winter 1985; rpt., in Mason County Historical Book, Mason, Texas: Mason County Historical Commission, 1986). Stella Gipson Polk, Mason and Mason County: A History (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966; rev. ed., Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1980). Daniel Webster Roberts, Rangers and Sovereignty (San Antonio, 1914; rpt., Austin: State House Press, 1987). C. L. Sonnichsen, Ten Texas Feuds (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1957; rpt. 1971).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Dave Johnson, "HOERSTER, DANIEL," accessed July 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 18, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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