History of the Peaceful
Before the European Settlement of Texas
The Texas Hill Country had scattered Paleo-Indian camps and
settlements that dated back approximately 12,000 years. Notable among these was
the Pavo Real Site on Leon
Creek near the intersection of
IH-10 and Loop 1604 in northern San
Antonio. In the last centuries before European
settlers came to Texas, the land
was sparsely populated by Indians. Apache and Comanche
Indians roamed freely through the land that is now the Peaceful Habitations Ranch.
The land was quite different in those days, being mostly
open grasslands with occasional Live Oak trees. The Ashe-Juniper (Cedar) trees
were mostly confined to the deep canyons and river beds, because there were
numerous prairie fires that killed all of the young cedar trees that were
freely in the area, as did white-tailed deer and elk. There was abundant small
game and predators, including mountain lions, bobcats wolves
The Indians, of course, were significant predators as well.
The German Immigration
All of that changed around 1845 when the German Immigration to
North America began. There was great civil unrest accompanied
by economic hardship in Germany,
and between about 1845 and 1853 around 8,000 German immigrants came to
Texas in ships that landed in Galveston
and Indianola. The immigration of the German settlers was sponsored by the Adelsverein,
and Prince Carl
of Solms-Braunfels was in
charge of the immigrants’ affairs in New Braunfels.
However, Prince Solms returned to Germany
and was replaced by Baron
Otfried Hans von Meusebach, who discarded his
title upon arrival in Texas and
became known as John O. Meusebach.
John O. Meusebach realized that the situation in New
Braunfels was deteriorating rapidly and in January of
1847 he sent an expedition north to the Pedernales
River to establish Fredericksburg,
Texas. He also negotiated a treaty with the
Comanche Indians which created a relatively peaceful environment for the German
John O. Meusebach resigned from the Adelsverein,
which was always under-funded, and soon went bankrupt. After resigning, John O.
Meusebach settled at Comanche Springs, which was located on the main road
between New Braunfels and Fredericksburg
in what is now Camp Bullis
near Leon Springs.
However, the main road north from New Braunfels
to Fredericksburg moved and so John
O. Meusebach sold his property at Comanche Springs and moved with his new wife
to property that he purchased on the Sabinas Creek. That property that property
was on the Pinta
Trail (and the New Braunfels to
Fredericksburg road, and it adjoined
what is now the south boundary of Peaceful Habitations Ranch.
The German settlers traveled from Indianola and Galveston
to New Braunfels at their first opportunity,
but the trip was very difficult for them because carts and wagons were almost
impossible to find. The Mexican-American War had started and the U. S. Army was
utilizing every available cart and wagon. Therefore, many of the German immigrants
simply had to walk from the Texas
coast to New Braunfels.
When the immigrants arrived in New
Braunfels, they found that there was rampant disease
in the city, including cholera, and they quickly departed for Fredericksburg,
Sisterdale, Comfort, and the surrounding countryside, where they settled and
built their homes.
is located at the confluence of the Guadalupe
River and Sister Creek, about eight
miles north of the Peaceful Habitations Ranch. The town was established around
1847 by Nicolaus Zink, and Ernst Kapp and Baron
Ottmar von Behr were among the early settlers in
At the time, Sisterdale was a Latin Colony which was
populated by atheistic “Freethinkers” who were highly cultured intellectuals.
During this period, Sisterdale was the most important community in what was
later to become Kendall County, Texas.
Early Settlers in the Vicinity of the Peaceful
There were many German families that moved south from
Sisterdale, and north along the road from New Braunfels
to Fredericksburg, to settle and
build their homes in the vicinity of the Peaceful Habitations Ranch. These
included The Herbst family, who settled north of the Peaceful Habitations Ranch,
the Langbein Family, who settled east of the Peaceful
Habitations Ranch, the Cravey family who settled northeast of the Peaceful
Habitations Ranch, and John O. Meusebach, who settled south of the Peaceful
Establishing Peaceful Habitations Ranch
In 1967, Dr. M. J. (Jack) Cooper and his wife, Dr. Jean
Cooper, purchased a ranch that adjoined the Herbst family property to the north
and east. At the same time Howard Head, who was the brother of Jean Cooper,
purchased a ranch that adjoined the south boundary of the Cooper Ranch.
Joe Cooper managed both ranches from 1967 until the deaths
of his uncle, Howard Head, and his parents, Jean and Jack Cooper. The properties
were purchased by Joe Cooper and his wife Juanita from the estates of his uncle
and his parents, and were consolidated into a new ranch, The Peaceful
Gilbert Langbein, who owned the
ranch adjoining the Peaceful Habitations Ranch to the east, leased the grazing
rights for a period of about 25 years before Joe and Juanita Cooper established
their own herd of registered Red Angus cattle.
Peaceful Habitations Ranch
August 7, 2010