Las Moras Ranch Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

TxAM-CRS C000046

Name and location of repository

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Las Moras Ranch Collection


  • 1900-1913 (Creation)
  • 1869-1913 (Creation)


1 box

Name of creator

Administrative history

The Las Moras Ranch (1879-1913) was located mainly in Menard County, Tex., but also included property in Comal, San Saba, Tom Green and Concho counties. The genesis of the Las Moras Ranch can be traced to about 1875, when a French immigrant, Ernest Carlin, purchased 30,000 acres of land at the head of the Las Moras Creek in Menard County, Tex., where he established a ranch, sometimes called King Carlin's Ranch. Unfortunately, Carlin's lavish lifestyle led to his loss of the property 21 Dec. 1879, when the property was forclosed upon by the Galveston, Tex. banking firm of Kaufmann and Runge.

Kaufmann and Runge was owned by Henry Runge (1816-1873), head of a prominent German family, several members of which had emmigrated to Texas in the 1840s. After Henry Runge's death, his oldest son, Henry J. Runge (1859-1922) took over running most of his father's businesses. Louis Hermann Runge (1861-1936), Henry J. Runge's youngest brother, and his family took over the Carlin property soon after the bank foreclosure, making Carlin's ill-fated mansion house the headquarters for the newly christened Las Moras Ranch. Other properties, also foreclosed upon by Kaufman and Runge, which had been the result of the financial failure of the German Emigration Company in 1847, were incorporated into the original Carlin property to enlarge the Las Moras Ranch.

The Verien zum Schutz deutscher Einwanderer, or Society for the Protection of German Immigrants, later known as the German Emigration Company was organized 20 April 1842 by a group of German noblemen at Biebrich on the Rhine, near Mainz, Ger. This group of noblemen called the Adelsverein, Mainzer Verein, or simply the Society of Noblemen, had as their goal the encouragement of mass German emigration to the United States, and in particular, to the vast and relatively cheap lands available in Texas, originally made available to emigrants by land grants from empresario agents of the Mexican government and, later, the Republic of Texas. New Braunfels, Tex., founded in 1845, and Fredericksburg, Tex., established in 1846, were two very successful results of the activities of the Adelsverein's Texas settlement endeavors.

About 1844, the Adelsverein had purchased the rights to a portion of a nearly three million acre grant first received from the Republic of Texas on 7 June 1842, then renewed 1 Sept. 1 1843, by Henry Francis Fisher, Burchard Miller and Joseph Baker. The rights to settle the land had been forfeited because of the would-be empresario's inabilty to fulfill their settlement scheme. This Fisher-Miller Grant, located about 100 miles west of Austin, Tex., was, at first, a very unfavorable location because of its intrusion into the Comanche tribe's camping and hunting ground. This particular problem was solved by a treaty between the Comanche tribe and the German settlers, concluded 9 May 1847 by Baron Ottfried Hans von Meusebach, who had been sent to Texas as the Adelsverein's Land Commissioner. Other areas of the lands purchased for German settlement by the Adelsverein, however, posed more serious problems to successful settlement, and were eventually abandoned to the mountains running through them, or the wastes which had defeated the settlers, many of whom either returned to Europe, or relocated to German towns such as Fredericksburg, Tex. or New Braunfels, Tex. Some members of the Runge family, for example, eventually returned to Hannover, Ger.

A close friend of Meusebach, Henry Runge (1816-1873), the son of an affluent landowner in Germany, trained for a commercial career and emigrated to the United States, arriving in New Orlean, La. in 1841. The success of the German Emigration Company in establishing German settlers in Texas drew Henry Runge to relocate to Indianola, Tex. in 1843, where he became an important merchant, then banker and financier. As a result of the Civil War, Henry Runge had to abandon his business concerns in Indianola, which included the Indianola Railroad Co., but he relocated to the predominantly GermanNew Braunfels, Tex., and founded a cotton factory. After the close of the Civil War, Henry Runge reclaimed his businesses in Indianola, Tex., and, by 1866, the Runge family moved to Galveston, Tex. In Galveston, as a partner in Kaufmann and Runge, with major interest in shipping, merchandising and banking, Henry Runge was one of the major creditors in the 1847 bankruptcy of the German Emigration Co. Properties seized as a result of this bankruptcy were added to the original properties forfeited by Ernest Carlin, to form the extensivie Las Moras Ranch, owned and run by members of the Runge family until the sale of the ranch properties was completed in 1913.

TheLas Moras Ranch was managed by Louis Hermann Runge (1861-1936), youngest brother of Henry J. Runge, from Sept. 1888 until 27 February 1897, when management of the ranch was assumed by Walter Tips (1841-1911), a German emigrant and Texas businessman who, after the death of Henry Runge, had formed the Las Moras Ranch Company on 21 December 1879, with his wife's aunt, Julia Runge, wife of Henry Runge, and Runge's sons Henry J. Runge, and Louis H. Runge. Tips was in charge of the Las Moras Ranch when liquidation was intitiated, though he died in 1911, and the ranch properties were not completely dispersed until 1913.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

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.

System of arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically, within 1 box, into 4 series:

  • Series 1. Early History, 1867-1902
  • Series 2. Operations, 1903-1906
  • Series 3. Liquidation, 1907-1913
  • Series 4. Undated Materials, Undated

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These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

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Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Languages of the material

  • English

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Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: Liticia Salter.

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Cushing Library. All rights reserved.

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