NEW WIED. New Wied, on the Guadalupe River 3½ miles north of New Braunfels in eastern Comal County, is popularly known as the Orphans Home Farm. An epidemic in New Braunfels in 1846 caused the death of more than 300 settlers and left a number of orphaned children. Louis Cachand Ervendberg and his wife undertook to rear and educate those orphans who could not be placed with relatives. Assisted by Gustav Dresel, Hermann Spiess,qqv and Louis Bene, Ervendberg incorporated the Western Texas Orphan Asylum. In July 1848 María Antonio Veramendi Garza conveyed to the corporation 150 acres of land, and in 1851 Francis Bilbeau II donated 168 adjoining acres. In addition to regular school courses the girls in the institution were taught housekeeping and the boys agriculture. The name of the asylum was changed to West Texas University, and an advertisement in the Neu Braunfelser Zeitung in 1853 solicited students for the elementary, Latin, and high school departments. In this period New Wied Farm was also the site of Ervendberg's garden, where noted frontier botanist Ferdinand Lindheimer conducted much of his research on the Texas flora. In 1948 the residence that had housed the school and orphanage was still standing. In 1971 portions of the original building where the orphans and Ervendberg's family had lived were preserved and incorporated in a later Victorian house still owned by descendants of the original family. The house contained many of the old kitchen utensils, farm and carpenter's tools, and furniture. The area immediately around the house still retained the wilderness quality that characterized it more than 100 years previously.
Edgar R. Dabney, The Settlement of New Braunfels and the History of Its Earlier Schools (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1927). S. W. Geiser, Naturalists of the Frontier (Dallas: Southern Methodist University, 1937; 2d ed. 1948). Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey through Texas (New York, 1857; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978).
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Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 27, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.