News Blurbs Continued
James Bernsen, HB-board member, served in 2012 as the Comminications Director for the Ted Cruz for Senate Campaing, which was successful in what has been called one of the biggest upsets in Texas political history. The Washington Post listed the race as one of the five best-run campaigns in the country. Bernsen’s role included serving as the official press spokesman for the campaign.
Phyllis Shuffield of Cameron, Texas, was recently the subject of an article in the National Greyhound Association Magazine (ngagreyhounds.com). Shuffield and her husband Don, turned a hobby into a passion and are now among the leading breeders of Greyhound dogs in the country. Their dogs have competed and won at major events all over the country. Today, the Shuffield farm breeds from 150 – 200 of the prized pooches, and they continue to win awards and do what they love.
History Corner: Texas and Germany in 1846 by James Bernsen
What would it take for someone to leave their native land, sail across the ocean to a new country they knew little about? Leave an established homeland of thousands of years to sail to a completely open frontier that was actually a war zone at the time? In 1994, I had a chance to visit Olfen and see lots of old H-B family sites, including the home that the Hoelschers had lived in from the 1400′s until the 1970s. The city today is peaceful, clean and orderly. It certainly isn’t a place one would expect refugees and immigrants to come from.
But in 1846, things were different. At the time, Germany wasn’t even unmified, but a hodgepodge of 39 mini-countries that shared a language, some culture, but little else. Since the Napoleonic Wars, Germany had been economically depressed. The population had been booming, but there was little opportunity for these new people. Finally, in 1846, crops failed throughout the country.
A crisis was growing and the situation wasn’t limited to Germany. All of Europe was a powder keg that would soon explode as revolutions swept across France, Poland, Austria and other countries. It was much like the modern Arab Spring, in which people in one country saw their neighbors struggling for freedom and joined in . But these revolutions would not succeed like the American or French ones, because they were born from economic turmoil and acked a unifying principal. In fact, the revolution in Germany would eventually give birth to all of the great ideologies of the 20th Century. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would observe the revolution and distill their vision for it into the theory of communism. Far-right nationalistic groups would rise which would later inspire the predecessors of the Nazis.
This was still tow years away, but the storm clouds in Germany were growing, and the H-B Family members would have seen it. coming. The economic hardships – along with their own individual ones (including lack of land and opportunities discussed in the introduction of the H-B book) were enough to convince them to take the risk of immigration.
And what a risk it was. They took a big one when they chose Texas – which in 1846 had only just become a state after ten years as an independent Republic. In fact, Texas was so tenuous a ocation, that at the very moment the H-B famiy members arrived, the United States and Mexico were at war – over Texas. The ship bringing the immigrants into Indianola, Texas arrived in late 1846 – at the same time the U.S. and Mexican Navies were waging war in the Gulf of Mexico.
That our ancestors took such great risks is a testament to their courage, their determination, and their yearning for a better life. Their sacrifices and their risks have given us all the privilege of being Texans and Americans. In 2014, the reunion theme will be United We Stand. It’s important to remember just what it took to give us that opportunity.