I had been planning a trip since August to attend the Bauer family reunion in Round Top, Texas. Carl Siegismund Bauer was a stone mason by trade, and immigrated to Texas along with a sizeable portion of his 10 children and numerous grandchildren. We are descended from his daughter Christiane Caroline, who married a man named Carl Wilhelm Rummel.
It was her daughter Emma Amande (at left, who came to Texas at the ripe old age of 6) who married the Reverend Adam Neuthard, the first pastor of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top. It was his grandfather-in-law, Carl Siegismund Bauer who supervised the construction of the church building that still stands today. Adam and Emma’s daughter Martha was my great grandmother.
My cousin JP drove up from New Mexico and spent Thursday night in the guest room on our floor, and bright and early Friday morning, off we went in the Greyola, with me driving and JP navigating, bearing heirlooms and heading for Dripping Springs some 373 miles to the southeast, where his son EP lives. We had fabulous weather — sunny, clear and hot, and made good time (a little over 6 hours). We were to spend the night in EP’s house (he is my first cousin’s son, which makes him my first cousin 1x removed).
It was the first time I’ve ever been to Dripping Springs, or seen his house, or met his lovely wife and family. (Only the two younger boys are still at home, the rest of his brood having flown the nest, but his youngest daughter just got engaged, and she and her intended ate with us Friday night.)
I slept Friday night in an old friend. My cousin JP’s mother’s bed. She got the bedroom suite this bed was part of before she married, and kept it til the end of her life. I remember it from childhood visits to their home at Christmas and in the summer. When she passed, it came to her grandson EP. It was like meeting an old friend.
We got an early start Saturday morning for our drive to Round Top for the reunion. It was foggy and humid when we set out from Dripping Springs, which is just west of Austin, to Round Top, which is east of Austin, a journey of about 2 hours (98 miles), but the weather cleared and was sunny and hot (high of 91F/32.7C).
Round Top is approximately 80 miles from Houston, and it’s two main attractions are the Spring and Fall Antique Fairs, and the Music festival in the summer. However, its nearness to Houston make it ideal country for the weekend getaway cottage, and land values in the area are rapidly increasing. However, the inevitable development has been kept very sympathetic to the historical context of the town. Old buildings have been restored and repurposed, which gives them a new lease of life without destroying their historic character.
The reunion was held in the church meeting hall which was built on the site of Reverend Neuthard’s house, which was unfortunately pulled down in the 1930’s. Here are two of its treasures.
Here are some views of the interior of the church.
As a special treat, my cousin AMcI, who is my first cousin 1x removed (you may need a score card — I often do!), had arranged for us to tour the Rummel House, which is now used as a media center and a place for student education. This house was built by Carl William Rummel, Jr., brother of Emma Rummel Neuthard. Here are some pictures of it.
Here are my cousins WM and JP, and my 1x removed cousin AMcI by the old live oak that is out front of the house. To the left just below the stair railing is the old cistern (capped now for safety). These live oak trees are easily old enough to have been present when the house was built.
I had to include a picture of the house where my grandmother was born (at left). It is the house the Schiege Cigar Factory provided for its foreman, my great grandfather Paul Helmecke and his wife Martha Neuthard Helmecke and their family. It and the Schiege house and the Cigar Factory buildings are now part of the Round Top Inn.
After a visit with our cousins, JP and I wended our way back to Dripping Springs. That evening, EP who is managing the development of an exclusive residential edition which will feature houses built around an 18 hole private golf course took us out to see the course, the first 9 holes of which are finished. They are having the same problems everyone else is with the supply chain disruptions and are somewhat behind schedule, but what they have so far is very impressive.
We got a late start Sunday morning, but we had good weather until we hit Sweetwater, where we drove into a robust little West Texas dust storm. It was gusty and dusty the rest of the way home. As we were nearing home, my cousin was wondering why we could not see the skyline — but then there was so much dust in the air that we couldn’t even see the sky!
Our adventures were not over, though. The key to the guest room where JP was to stay Sunday night didn’t work. Fortunately, the guest room on the floor above was available and Security got us the key for it (which worked!). But there for a while, we thought he was going to have to inaugurate mom’s new bed! After another visit with mom on Monday morning, JP headed back to NM.
It was a good trip (average 30.2 mpg), and I was very glad I was able to go. But now I’m back and mom moves in on Monday, which will be the start of a whole ‘nother adventure. Stay tuned.