NEUSSER, TEXAS. Neusser, a small community of the early 1890s located almost equal distance between Georgetown and Granger in central Williamson County, was named after one of its early pioneers, Johann Neusser. Johann left his birthplace of Moravia, Austria, and sought freedom from oppression upon the peoples of Central Europe (especially the Moravians) and the impending hostilities between Austria and Prussia. He arrived in America on or about December 20, 1871, via the port of New York, and made his way to Fayette County, Texas, where he settled in the Moravian community of Ammannsville, probably early in 1872. Ammannsville was one of several communities in southern Fayette County with sizable populations of Czech and Moravian immigrants. Neusser married Johanna Janak, also an immigrant from Moravia, on November 24, 1874. They had two sons, the eldest of which died in infancy, and a daughter. Neusser worked as a blacksmith.
In 1881 Neusser and his family purchased a farm of forty-nine acres from J. M. Barnett on the Yankee Branch north of the San Gabriel River in Williamson County. Soon thereafter, joining Johann and his brothers-in-law (Jan David and Ondrej Janak and John Janak) on this fertile land were others from Fayette County. The Bartos, Zurovec, Grossman, Ulbreck, Pecka, Jurecka and Mikulencek families were the first to arrive, and many others followed in later years. Johann and Johanna Neusser had six more children.
In 1885 Neusser purchased 160 acres out of the Booker Queen Survey from his brother-in-law, Ondrej Janak. The farm was located some 7.6 miles east of Georgetown, Texas, and upon this land the early but short-lived community of Neusser was established.
In 1890 the Georgetown and Granger Railroad Company began laying tracks from Georgetown to Granger. The railbed was surveyed inside the north property line of the Neusser farm, and Johann Neusser foresaw the area’s potential as a crossroads of travel and commerce; Excelsior Mill, a flour mill approximately three miles to the west, had been built and operated by James "Jim" Francis Towns in 1870 and became one of the better known and busier mills in the county.
With the encouragement of the railroad company representatives, a general store and saloon/dance hall were quickly built and placed into operation. A well was dug to provide water. This business enterprise was managed by Joseph Klimicek, Neusser’s son-in-law, and the establishment soon became a gathering place for area residents. The railroad work crews were also regular customers, and dances were frequently held in the dance hall. Talented Moravian musicians provided the music.
In the spring of 1892 a townsite was surveyed by Hal Montgomery, Ben Sherod, and J. L. Rucker. The townsite was initially referred to as Keliehor, named after area landowner William Keliehor, and was laid out midway between Granger and Georgetown on the Georgetown and Granger Railroad. A town plat has not been located to show the exact location, but most likely the surveyed site was on the Neusser property, as Johann began to sell town lots. The first two lots were sold to Mrs. Johanna Aschen in September 1892, followed by a sale to Friederich Zahn.
Residents applied for a post office, and on December 30, 1892, Neusser, Texas, became part of the U.S. Postal Department. At the time of the application, seventy-five people were served by this new postal route. Edward Aschen was appointed as the first postmaster and served in this capacity until May 16, 1893. He was followed by Joseph Klimicek who held the postmastership until April 27, 1894.
The post office operations and the depot dream, however, were short-lived. The town of Granger to the east was growing and prospering rapidly with the Georgetown and Granger rail line intersecting the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad north-south line. The depot was built, instead, at Granger. August F. Zahn served as the last appointed postmaster of Neusser when the post office was discontinued on May 21, 1894. With this disappointment, the community as envisioned by Johann Neusser and his friends, did not materialize. The building housing the general store and post office was subsequently sold and was probably moved to Theon and still stood in the early twenty-first century.
Though the post office operations were discontinued, the area continued to be known as Neusser(ville), later spelled Naizer(ville), and prospered as a farming and ranching community. A custom which became prevalent among these early settlers was the formation of beef clubs. Once a month, a neighbor would furnish a head of beef which would be butchered and the meat shared among the club members. Neusser’s farm served as the beef club headquarters for the community. Cotton was the principal agricultural product. In the 1920s a cotton gin was built two miles east of Neusser(ville) by the Mazoch brothers and served the surrounding community until the 1960s when it ceased operations. Another gin located at Townsville, about three miles west on the Georgetown road, also served the area cotton farmers.
Johann Neusser continued to be a driving force in the new settlement, and with his knowledge of German, Moravian, and English languages, he was called upon to serve as interpreter and counselor for the increasing Moravian population in Williamson County. He made frequent trips to Georgetown, the county seat, to act as interpreter in land transactions, citizenship declaration, or in the civil court for the newly-arriving Moravians. Though farming and blacksmith operations were his base of economic support, Neusser raised cattle, traded horses, and bought and sold farm land. Each of his sons, John, Frank, Adolph, and Frank Dobecka, his son-in-law, bought their farms from his inventory of farms.
Johann Neusser was also a prime mover in establishing Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Granger and served as a charter member. He was on the building committee when the church was constructed in 1891. The Catholic children of the Neusser community either went by buggy or walked to Granger to attend the parochial school when it was built in 1899.
Johann Neusser moved to Granger in 1910 and died on November 8, 1914. He was buried in the Calvery Cemetery a few miles to the east of Neusser, Texas. The Neusser farm was eventually sold in 1942 to Jordan Milton Whitley and was still in the ownership of the Whitley family in the 2010s. A Texas Historical Marker commemorating the town was erected in 1992. By 2015 the only remnants of the short-lived community of Neusser was the water well that has since been filled and a few sheets of scattered rusted sheet metal that may have been used for the roof on one of the buildings.
Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Clara Stearns Scarbrough, Land of Good Water: A Williamson County History (Georgetown, Texas: Williamson County Sun Publishers, 1973). Williamson County Deed of Records, Williamson County Clerk’s Office, Georgetown, Texas. Williamson County Sun (Georgetown, Texas), March 3, 1892.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Henry L. Naizer, "NEUSSER, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrn29), accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 21, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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