Talk of Wilson County TX Historic Towns

by Barbara J. Wood
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Nemencio DLZ II, Branding

This is the branding iron certificate for Nemencio DLZ II. He was a Confederate soldier, Justice of the Peace, served as Sheriff of Wilson County, and as Tax Assessor. He owned and operated the Lodi Ferry. At the age of 18, his father, Nemencio Sr., turned over the operation of the family's freight business to him. They were "carteros" hauling and trading goods all over South Texas and as far east as New Orleans. Quite a resume. 
COURTESY / Nancy De La Zerda  "Descendants of Nemencio de la Zerda Sr."
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Cattle brands in Wilson County

A page from the Wilson County, Texas cattle brands. (Credit to Robert Tarin from Alamo Legacy & Missions Assoc.)

Brands from the Cibolo

Another way people left their marks on the history of East Bexar County was with their registered brands.Brands from the Cibolo and Martinez Watersheds. During the 19th century, modest farmer as well as the giants of Texas cattle culture registered their cattle brands and marks at county courthouses. Bexar County's Spanish Archives possesses a wealth of cattle brands registrations dating to the Spanish Colonial period. These brands are a Texas legacy akin to European heraldry. They tell us about where individuals grazed their cattle, how herds changed hands and how individual brands evolved over time. Many of the legends of Texas trail drives first registered brands in old East Bexar County. The brands in this presentation are primarily from the mid 19th century, associated with the Cibolo, Chupaderas and Martinez watersheds. 
(Courtesy of LostTexasRoads - Welcome to Lost Texas Roads

John Peter Lorenz

JOHN PETER LORENZ  ...  registered his brand in Bexar County Texas in November 1856 Book, p 230B.  Wilson County was made in 1860.  He first had cattle 15 miles from San Antonio Texas.  In 1878 he bought land in Wilson County five miles northeast of Stockdale on FM 1107. 
Mr. Lorenz came to Texas in 1852 ( some papers say 1854) but I believe 1852 is correct because I have a copy of his brother's journal that says they left Germany early spring of 1852. His parents and siblings (there were 6 boys & 1 girl).  
One girl died before they left Germany.  One of the 6 boys died in Liverpool.  They lived in Heinzenbach .
From there the journal says they went to Bubert on the Rhine, took a steamboat down the Rhine and landed in Rotterdam.  Layed over there five week and took a steamer to Hull, England.  From Hull took a railroad car to Liverpool, England where they stayed 6 weeks waiting for a ship.  It states that it 44 days to land at New Orleans, LA.  They waited about 3 days to catch a steamer to Indianola.
Before landing at the wharf both parents died  leaving John Peter the oldest at age 21  to look out for his siblings.  The youngest was only 6.  From Indianola they started for Federicksburg, they father's destination.  When they got to New Braunfels, one of the boys got sick.
While there a man from San Antonio persuaded John Peter to come to San Antonio where there was plenty of work. John Peter married Wilhelmina K Shell Dec 1856 in Bexar Co. Texas  John Peter lived in Panna Maria, Karnes County Texas.  They had eight children.
John Peter and his brother Adam acquired land in Wilson county in 1878.  John Peter eventually bought out his brother.  His sons Adolph and Will were sent ahead of the rest of the family to cultivate the land for a year, where they began raising corn, cotton and beef cattle (I think hereford).
The Lorenz ranch was one of the first to use wire fencing in the area and the  sons spent many hours riding the fences at night to protect them from wire cutters.
Once John Peter joined his sons in the operation, he established a cotton gin, grist mill and lumber mill on the banks of the Ecleto Creek on the ranch.  He also operated a freight business between Cuero and San Antonio with wagon and team.
The land is still owned by his great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.      
{Courtesy of great grandaughter Laura Swiess}