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A Texas Rarity Published To Encourage German Emigrants

Extremely rare map of the Texas from Georg Scherpf's highly influential emigrant guide, Entstehungsgeschichte und gegenwärtiger Zustand des neuen, unabhängigen, amerikanischen Staates Texas. . . . , one of the three works noted by Solms-Braunfels and the nobles at Biebrich which influenced the creation of the Adelsverein (German Emigrant Company) in 1842.

Drawn from Hunt & Randel's seminal map of 1839, Scherpf's map meticulously illustrates Texas land grants and colonies, as well as the location of forts, mines, settlements and roads. These include the land grants with which the Adelsverein was involved: Bourgnois D'Orvanne et Comp and Fischer et Comp übernommen vom Verein. 

Eberstadt described the guide as a rare and important German work written by a Texas resident of many years to induce emigration.  The book was one of the works which inspired German nobles to found the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. The Society commented in 1845: “Of German books on Texas, the one by Scherpf is outstanding due to its thorough observations and liberal conceptions.” Scherpf offers a favorable report of Texas and its prospects, including a brief history of Texas its colonization, followed by his observations on its geography, agricultural observations and living conditions, before ending with a practical advice for migrants. 

Little is known about Scherpf, who seems to have lived in Texas for some time. Scherpf apparently travelled with A.B. Lawrence from Houston to Austin in 1840, and provides short notes on Moses Austin and David Crockett.  The Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas briefly noted in 1845 that Scherpf lived for many years in Texas and subsequently in New York.  

Streeter states that of German books on Texas, the one by Scherpf is outstanding. Streeter notes that the map is a re-drawing, on a smalle scale…of the 1839 map of Texas in Hunt and Randel's Guide to the Republic of Texas… with legends and placenames in English….

Scherpf's map names a number of Colonies (Burnet, Robertson, Zavala, Austin, Milam, DeWitt, McMullen & McGloin, Powers, De Leon, Austin's small Colony, etc.), as well as towns, roads, counties, rivers, bays, etc.