The Hoelscher-Buxkemper family are descendants of Anton and Mary Katherine Hoelscher. Anton & Mary Katherine immigrated in 1846 from Olfen, Westfalen, then in Prussia, directly to Texas with five sons. Several years later, their daughter, Elizabeth, also emigrated with her husband, Theodore Buxkemper (Buxkamper) and the first three of their children. All members of the Hoelscher-Buxkemper family are descended from Elizabeth Buxkemper, or Anton Jr., Joseph, William, and Ben Hoelscher. There is little information on a fifth son, Franz, but it is thought that he died young and did not have descendants.
At first the family lived near the line between Colorado County and Fayette County in Texas, roughly half-way between Houston and San Antonio, but later spread out to other parts of Texas, including several communities founded by members of the family. These include Westphalia in Falls County, named for the region in their German homeland; Olfen in Runnels County, named for their family’s hometown in Germany; and Violet in Nueces County.
The family grew tremendously, so that by 1978 there were about 14,000 descendants tracked, with about 3,700 families registered, and the biennial reunions draw a minimum of 1,000 in attendance. Members call themselves the “largest family in Texas” and claim the “largest family reunion in Texas.” The family is traditional Catholic, and has traced about three additional generations of ancestors in Olfen, Germany, through use of Roman Catholic Church records.
The four Hoelscher sons all saw service in the army of the Confederacy. Interestingly, after the civil war, Joseph moved his family to Ohio. Several additional children were born there and the eldest son married an Ohio-born woman of German-Swiss parentage–and the first of their children were born there. Before 1880, both father’s and son’s families moved back to Texas, to nearly the same area where they had lived previously.
The name Hoelscher is fairly common in Westfalia, modern Nordrhein-Westfalen, and there are many families in the Midwestern U.S. by that name. Lists of Westphalian emigrants, published in Germany, include some 30 different families named Hoelscher who departed from the region around Munster in the middle of the 19th century. In fact, many incidences of the name occur in the passenger arrival records at Ellis Island. The name Hoelscher is fairly common even today in that part of Germany.
Efforts are ongoing in the U.S. and in Germany to determine what, if any, relationship exists among the various emigrant Hoelscher families and today’s Hoelscher families in Germany; and to a lesser extent, among the Hoelscher families in the U.S. Perhaps there is no relationship at all between these Hoelschers, as the name Hoelscher is derived from the occupation, “Maker of Wooden Shoes,” which were relatively common in northern Germany.
The Hoelscher Family of Texas 1846 to 2003 was published in 2008. It is a family history of Anton and Marie Catherine Hoelscher. The book includes in 1430 pages the historical biographies and photographs of the first three generations plus the 278 members of the fourth generation for a total of 333 Historical biographies.