Photo: Ruins of the second Meusebach Creek school
If we consider both the considerable resistance to Secession and slavery in the German community and especially in the Hill Country, the account deserves attention. Using the census of 1870, we were able to locate some children fitting the description by name and age, in the Pedernales Settlement that formerly was part of the Doss plantation 6 to 8 miles from Meusebach Creek. Although not all were in school yet in the year 1869, the story of Black integration into a German school may have unfolded gradually. Supporting evidence of an attitude that made an exceptional situation possible comes from other sources: Slave narratives collected in Medina County in the 1930s show that some adult freedpeople received education by German Catholics immediately following emancipation.
Photo: Courtesy of Meusebach Creek School Community Club
Meusebach Creek School
In 1869, 100 years before the schools of Texas gradually integrated, there was a school house in the Texas Hill Country that was attended by both German and African American children, according to local sources. The account about the "Meusebach Creek School" is mainly based on oral history. A brochure produced by local German families reads: “It is worthy to note that Henry, Laura, Minnie, Ovie,and George Washington, whose parents were freed slaves, attended school with the other children at Meusebach Creek in 1869.”
Photo: The newest Meusebach Creek School serves as a community center today.
During the Davis administration (1869-1873), German and Black Republicans also joined forces in the fight for public schooling in Texas. In the 1940s, Meusebach Creek School also saw no segregation between German and Hispanic children (see the picture).
Not long thereafter, community schools like the Meusebach Creek school were largely closed due to school consolidation in the 1950s and 60s. A remarkable exception is the rural school of Doss, Gillespie County. Interestingly, Doss was one of the few areas in Gillespie County with a stronger Black presence before the Civil War due to a slave plantation that existed there. In future research, we hope to show where more of the African American children of Gillespie county went to school after emancipation.