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A Seminal Ethnographic Text on the Relationship Between the Comanche, Apache and Shoshone Indians, with Dictionary & Map 

Rare ethnographic and geographical text, including a German Comanche Dictionary and map of the Comanche Hunting Grounds, published by Heinrich Berghaus in 1851.

Berghaus's work is drawn from an exhaustive study of contemporary sources, many of which were German emigrants to Texas, including Emil Kriewitz. a German emigrant from Bremen who lived among the Comanche as an official liaison in 1847.  As noted in the introduction to the book Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier . . .

In 1851, an article appeared in a German Journal . . . that sought to establish definitive connections, using language observations, among Comanches, Shoshones and Apaches.  The author, Heinrich Berghaus, was a well-established cartographer but had no formal background in original anthropological research.

Even so, Berghaus's article [on the topic] was based on lexical data gathered by a young German settler in Texas, Emil Kriewitz, and included a groundbreaking list of Comanche words and their German translations.  Berghaus offered Kriewitz's cultural notes on the Comanches, a discussion of the existing literature on the three tribes, and an original map of the Comanche hunting grounds.  

Perhaps because it was published only in German, Berghaus's study has been all but unknown to North American scholars, even though it offers valuable insights into Native American languages, toponyms, ethnonyms, hydronyms, and cultural anthropology.  It was also a significant document revealing the history of German-Comanche relations in Texas. . . 

Karte vom Jagd-Gebiet der Komantschedn in Texas

Berhgaus's map of the Comanche Hunting Grounds in Texas is of significant note, derived from contemporary sources and not reliant upon the work of other printed maps. Of note, it records Native ethnonyms, Native settlement locations and other details, as well as the locations of the German settlers in the region.

The dotted line crossing the map horizonatally from the top right shows the boundary between the German settlers and the Comanche hunting grounds, with the lands of the re-settled Choctaws, Chickasaws, Pawnees, Picts, Caddoes, Tonkaways and Kikapoes shown further to the northwest.  Within the lands of the settlers, the region "Delawares und Schawanees Halbcivilirte Indianer" (Delaware and Shawnee Semi-Civilized Tribes) is shown, noting that the tribes were living peacefully with the German emigrants.

Berghaus's treatment of the northern rivers is of great note, as it was created from entirely new source information, much of which would have come from Emil Kriewitz or his interactions with the Natives and others settlers, thereby creating a unique river system.  While not minutely accurate, it represented an improvement over the speculative watercourses previously provided by earlier maps.  Berghaus also incorporates 6 new Comanche langauge names for rivers in the region which had not previously been used by Austin or other earlier sources.

Berghaus also elects to eschew the depiction of speculative mountain ranges which had become the staple for earlier maps, although he retains "Enchanted Rock" (Bezauberter Felsen) and "House Mountain" (House mount).

The Adelsverein settlements in the region are noted, including:

  • Wasserville (Waco?)
  • Neu Braunfels
  • Freidrichsbg
  • Bettina
  • Castell
  • Leiningen

The map notes that it was compiled by Thomas Schilling from hand drawnwritten communications from immigrants.

Emil Kriewitz

Emil Kriewitz (1822–1902) was a German immigrant and veteran of the Mexican–American War, who came to this country with the German Adelsverein colonists. After John O. Meusebach successfully negotiated the Meusebach–Comanche Treaty, Kriewitz lived among the Penateka Comanche as an intermediary between the whites and Penateka.

Following the approval of the "Treaty Between the Comanche and the German Immigration Company" was signed in May 1847, the Penateka also requested that a representative of the German colonists serve as an in-house intermediary and live among them. Kriewitz was assigned to be the intermediary, and went to live at the camp of war chief Santa Anna. In the camp, Kriewitz began to assimilate into the culture to gain the confidence and friendship of Santa Anna.

Santa Anna's group traveled to New Braunfels in August 1847 to meet with Meusebach and his successor Hermann Spiess. Because of his assimilated appearance, the German parties did not recognize Kriewitz, whom Santa Anna had forbidden to speak during the meeting. Kriewitz was able to slip out to visit friends, but Santa Anna became distrusting thereafter. Afterward, Kriewitz requested, and received, permission from Santa Anna to visit his old friend Wilhelm Victor Keidel, who had served with him in the Mexican War. Kriewitz used the opportunity to escape from Santa Anna.

Following the arrival of the Darmstadt Society of Forty to colonize 200 families on the Fisher–Miller Land Grant territory in 1847, Kriewitz was assigned with building a road into the territory and to serve as guide for the Society of Forty immigrants into the territory to begin their settlements. The society began Castell, Leiningen, Bettina, Schoenburg, and Meerholz in Llano County; Darmstädler Farm in Comal County; and Tusculum in Kendall County

In 1852, Kriewitz settled in Castell and went into retail partnership with Franz Kettner. In 1870, Kriewitz was elected justice of the peace for Precinct Four of Llano County. On December 27, 1876, Kriewitz was appointed postmaster in Castell, serving until 1883. Kriewitz spent the rest of his life as a rancher and land speculator

Theodor Schilling

Theodor Schilling, who is credited with the map, apparently compiled the map from information sent by Emil Kriewitz.  Berghaus, with support of Alexander von Humboldt had started ‘Geographische Kunstschule’ (Geographica School of Art) in 1839 in Potsdam, following the example of the school for engravers at the Archives Militaires Generales in Paris (since 1811). During its existence Berghaus's academy offered only three courses, and only a few students attended, several of whom would go on to distinguished careers as mapmakers.

  • 1839–1844: August Petermann, Heinrich ‘Henry’ Lange (1821–1893), and Otto Göcke, who died one year later of tuberculosis
  • 1844–1847: Amandus Sturmhöfel (1823–?) and Theodor Schilling
  • 1845–1850: Hermann Berghaus (1828–1890), his nephew

Volume III Contents

The complete work includes 6 short essays, including an important 15 page tract, entitled:

  • Ueber die Verwandtschaft der Schoschonen, Komantschen und Apatschen (On the relationship of the Shoshones, Comanches and Apaches)

The article includes sections entitled:

  • Wohnplatze der Komantschen in Texas (Dwelling Locations of the Comanches in Texas)
  • Worter-Verzeichniss der Komantschen-Sprache (Word List of the Comanche Language)
  • Vergleichendes Worter-Verzeichniss der Schoshonen- und Komantschen-Sprache (Comparative Word Lit  of Shoshone and Comanche language)
  • Sitten und Gebruache der Komantschen in Texas (Customs and traditions of the Comanches in Texas). 


The map and geographical text are quite rare on the market.

Condition Description
Green faux leather covers.  4 maps and XX pages of text.
Daniel J. Gelo and Christopher J. Wickham, Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier: The Ethnology of Heinrich Berghaus (2018). Sabin 26979.