When the descendants of Anton and Mary Catherine Hoelscher decide to get together, it’s not the ordinary family reunion. When they gather, it is probably one of the largest family reunions in Texas with an average of more than 700 persons in attendance.
For 58 years, since the first reunion in1954 in Westphalia, Falls County, Texas, the Hoelscher-Buxkemper family has been meeting biennially in different locations throughout Texas. Preparations are being made for the next reunion on June 23 to 24, at the KC Hall in Columbus, Texas.
The two-day event not only will allow adequate time for visiting and reminiscing, but also will feature a large display area of old family photographs and memorabilia, a silent auction, raffle, souvenirs, entertainment for children, a dance with the Donnie Wavra Orchestra, catered meals and a polka Mass with family clergy, live music and a family choir.
Tours of various historical sites associated with the earlier generations of the family, who lived in Colorado and Fayette counties, will be held on Friday, June 22, and Saturday morning, June 23.
Anton and Mary Catherine came to Texas in 1846 from Olfen, Westphalia, Prussia (now in western Germany). They landed in Galveston with five sons: Anton Jr., whose fiancée also traveled with the family; Joseph, William, Franz, who died as a teenager, and Bernard.
A daughter, Elizabeth, joined them in 1850 with her husband, Theodore Buxkemper, and their three children.
Following the pattern of many early Germans who settled in Texas, Anton and Mary Catherine came for the promise of land. Anton Sr., along with his three oldest sons, had land grants in McCullough County, but instead they all chose to settle in the vicinity of Frelsburg, located northeast of Columbus in Colorado County.
Eventually everyone, except the Buxkemper family, moved into southeastern Fayette County in the area of present-day Ellinger. Later, sons and daughters were among the pioneering families in Westphalia in Falls County, Olfen in Runnels County, Violet in Nueces County and Weimar in Colorado County.
Olfen, Germany was chosen to be the Sister City of La Grange, Texas, the county seat of Fayette County, primarily because of the significant contributions made by the descendants of the original Hoelscher family members, who immigrated from Olfen and settled in Fayette County in the early 1850s.
There are approximately 15,000 descendants of that immigrant family, spanning nine generations. Presently the living descendants, that number in the thousands, reside in every state in the nation and several foreign countries.
This year, the theme of the reunion is “Return to Our Roots”, because the event will be held near the locale where the family first put down its roots in Texas.
Family members are invited to “come back to their origins” and make this the “Biggest Family Reunion Ever”.
If you are a member of the Hoelscher-Buxkemper Family and plan to attend the reunion, you are asked to pre-register by June 13. Information can be obtained from the family website: http://www.h-bfamily.org or by calling Leonard Buxkemper, Chairman, 832/563-8901 or Elsie Kahlden, Co-Chairperson, 979/732-5000.