This collection consists chiefly of correspondence regarding the Runge family of Galveston, Tex. and Menard, Tex., including Henry Runge, his sons Henry J. Runge and Louis Hermann Runge, their cousin Julius F. Runge, as well as family members in Hannover, Germany, including heirs Hans Eyl and his wife Meta Eyl; German immigrant and Texas businessman Walter Tips (1841-1911) who, after the death of Henry Runge, had formed the Las Moras Ranch Company (December 21, 1879) with his wife's aunt Julia Runge, wife of Henry Runge, and Runge's sons Henry J. Runge, and Louis H. Runge; German Emigration Company lands, lawyers and law firms in Austin, Tex. and San Antonio, Tex., including C. A. Goeth, the firm of Webb & Goeth, Adolph Goeth, the business partner of Walter Tips and brother of C. A. Goeth.
Also present are: legal documents, including deeds, wills, powers of attorney, some ranch operations records, including ranch inventories, accounting ledgers, and handwritten notes. These papers record the operations and transfers of ownership of over 130,000 acres of property, principally in the Texas counties of Comal, San Saba, Tom Green, Concho, and Menard, collectively known as the Las Moras Ranch.
Beyond the acquisition, operation, and ultimate liquidation of this ranch property, however, an interesting part of Texas history, that of the Adelsverien or German Emigration Company, and early German immigrant settlement are illuminated through the documents in the collection.
The collection series reflect the history of the ranch from its foundation until its sale in 1913.
- Series 1 begins with an 1867 legal document showing a transfer of ownership of many thousands of acres of land from Hermann Arnold Henry (Heinrich) Runge (1821-1861) of Funchal, Madiera, Portugal to his brother and business partner, Henry Runge (1816-1873). Henry Runge paid for the land in American Gold. Other documents in the papers include a very large judgment against the Adelsverien or German Emigration Company, a copy of the lengthy handwritten "Last Will of Henry Runge," probated April 2, 1873, and that of his wife, Julia, dated March 23, 1896.
- Subsequent documents in Series 2-Series 4 of the papers highlight the operation and eventual liquidation in 1913 of the Las Moras Ranch, including transcontinental communications between Germany and Texas among heirs to the Runge fortune. Several of these family letters scattered through the papers may be particularly difficult to translate since they are written in Kurrentschrift, a Gothic handwriting style.
- Playing important roles in the later transactions concerning the ranch properties were the sons of Henry Runge (1816-1873): Henry J. Runge (1859-1922), Louis Hermann Runge (1861-1936), and his nephew Julius F. Runge (1851-1906). Henry J. Runge and Julius F. Runge were financial advisors, while Louis Runge served as the ranch manager and lived on the Las Moras Ranch property. Walter E. Tips (1841-1911), another German immigrant, Texas Senator, and successful hardware merchandiser, who married into the Runge family, along with C. A. Goeth (b. 1869), a San Antonio attorney, were involved in the ranch operations and legal issues concerning the eventual dispersal of Las Moras Ranch property.