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WOLDERT, JOHN GEORGE (1814–1887). John George Woldert, surveyor and civil engineer, was born in Adorf, Saxony, on July 18, 1814. After serving as a civil engineer in the German army, he arrived in New York on November 5, 1838, seeking refuge from military tyranny. Woldert worked for a time as a foreman for the Marton guitar establishment in Maiden Lane, visited Charleston, South Carolina, then returned to New York, where he used his knowledge of four languages to help Henry Fisher organize a colony for Texas. Ultimately, Woldert set out alone for Texas, arriving in Galveston November 5, 1839. With George W. Smyth, land commissioner at San Antonio, he surveyed the boundary between Texas and Louisiana. En route he was captured by Indians in Jasper County and carried near Bastrop, where he escaped. Woldert located at San Augustine as a surveyor, accumulated lands in East Texas, and attended the 1850 London World's Fair. On January 25, 1853, he donated 160 acres of the Jesse Stockwell league and labor for the county seat of Van Zandt County, which became Canton. He married Alma Edilina Richter in 1850, and they had six children. From 1851 to 1859 he lived in San Antonio; he then moved to Tyler, where he died on April 3, 1887.


Sid S. Johnson, Some Biographies of Old Settlers (1900; facsimile, Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1965). Wentworth Manning, Some History of Van Zandt County (Des Moines, Iowa: Homestead, 1919; rpt., Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1977). Van Zandt County History Book Committee, History of Van Zandt County (Dallas, 1984).

Diana J. Kleiner


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

Diana J. Kleiner, "WOLDERT, JOHN GEORGE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.