J Marvin Hunter's



Please use quotation marks "___ ___" for phrase search, eg. "Jack Hays," "San Saba" or "Battle of Adobe Walls."


A Builder of Texas, Ferdinand Toepperwein - By J. M. Woods, San Antonio, Texas

Published July 15th, 2014 by Unknown

[From J. Marvin Hunter's Frontier Times Magazine, May, 1939]

There hangs upon the walls of the Lodge room of Kendall Masonic Lodge No. 897, at Boerne, Texas, most interesting Masonic mementos which link it with the "red clay courts of Frederick the Great"—the land where the idea of "Speculative Masonry" as entirely separative and distinct from " Operative Masonry" was developed. These relics, unique in Texas, are a patent issued by "the Just and Perfect Lodge Ferdinand of the Red Eagle under the Scottish Jurisdiction of the National Masonic Mother Lodge of the Three Globes" of Berlin, and which reads as follows: "We, the Master, Intendants and Officers of the Just and Perfect Lodge Ferdinand of the Red Eagle at New Ruppin, declare and testify, by this, that the Brother Ferdinand Toepperwein, according to the statutes and legitimate rites of the Order, has been accepted and admitted to the Third Degree of Free Masonary and noted as such in the peculiar list of our Lodge. Therefore we entreat all the Presiding Masters and true brethren with whom Brother Toepperwein will legitimate himself as legal possessor of this certificate, to acknowledge him as a true Free Mason duly accepted and admitted, to admit him to the legitimate meetings of your Order as far as above mentioned Third Degree permits him (This Rite consisted of eight degrees, five in addition to the Blue Lodge of three degrees), and to bestow upon him brotherly friendship, love and kindness, which we shall never fail to acknowledge gratefully and cheerfully to return. In witness whereof we have subscribed our names and put the great seal of our lodge under. Written in the Orient at New Ruppin, in the Just and Perfect Lodge Ferdinand of the Red Eagle, New Ruppin, 14th July,

(Signed by the Presiding Master First and Second Intendant, (Wardens and Secretary)”

Other mementoes: One blue silk and white linen apron, a lambskin apron, a ceremonial wine glass and two Masonic jewels, each consisting of a long and wide white ribbon to which is attached a Maltese Cross, bearing in relief the rosy red insignia of the Order, all of which were brought to Texas by their owner, Lucian Ferdinand Toepperwein and which were presented to Kendall Lodge by his son, grandson, and great grandsons, — respected and valued members of the Masonic fraternity.

Hardy German pioneers early drove their ox-drawn wagons, into which were loaded their wives, children, and household goods brought over from "The Fatherland," and their farming implements into "The Hill Country," a vast area of mountainous country which lies to the north of San Antonio Here they located their homes, began the cultivation of the soil, the raising of cattle, sheep and goats, battled the bloodthirsty Comanches, and in time erected church and school houses, and built settlements which developed into frontier towns—the outposts of Anglo Saxon civilization.

These Masonic mementos are known to be not only of priceless sentimental value, as they evidence the zeal of an outstanding early citizen of "The Hill Country" for the ideals, the elemental principles of civilization, but they are also an ever vibrant incentive to a higher plane of living to those who come after him and who today are blessed by reason of his desire for independence, his fortitude, and his devotion to the social virtues and political ideals of a patriot.

Among the German immigrants who, about the middle of the last century, sought freedom and political and social independence in Texas were Lucian Frederick Toepperwein, his wife and children. They had come over on the Juan Frederick, and landed at Indianola on Christmas day, 1850. Toepperwein had been a school teacher at New Ruppin, Prussia. He was highly educated, fluent in German, English, French and Latin, well versed in the "seven liberal arts and sciences" and brought with him his beloved piano, his sheet music and his highly prized books—some of which his descendants treasure today. With his family and household goods he set out in search of a home site where he could rear his children free from the military despotism of Prussia. With others he struck westward from Indianola, tarried briefly at New Braunfels, came on to San Antonio, then making the settlement at Fredericksburg his objective, where he established a school, and where in the shadow of the eternal hills he played the immortal lyrics of old Germany.

All members of the Toepperwein family assisted in the development of that far-flung frontier of civilization. The father devoted himself to upbuilding the cultural elements of the scattered people, the adults were encouraged to send their children to school and to unite themselves in the observance of non-denominational religious and social communion, the older boys were often engaged in Indian warfare while the mother was one of a group of noble women who were as adamant as their husbands to build homes in the valleys where bloomed the huisache and the red bud.

In New Ruppin, Prussia, Lucian Frederick Toepperwein had been an enthusiastic and honored member of the Masonic Order. He had been elevated to the Master's Degree in the Lodge of Ferdinand of the Red Eagle, organized under authority of the National Mother Lodge of the Three Globes of Berlin, and when he prepared to leave his old home and to travel into a foreign country, he was given duplicate Patents, one written in German and the other in English, evidencing his membership in that great, world-wide organization whose members are taught that they should ever strive to earn Masters wages whereby they might support themselves and assist their fellows.

Here in a foreign country he assiduously endeavored to openly practice these virtues which in his homeland he had promised to revere, and the better to do so he affiliated with Freedom Masonic Lodge No. 100 at Fredericksburg, Gillespie county, Texas, and his name appears as a Master Mason upon the records of that Lodge in the Returns of 1833. In the efforts of this worthy man to serve and benefit the people of his new home, we find a personal link directly connecting Masonry in Texas with Masonry in Germany. That those who knew him best respected his known Masonic affiliations is evidenced by the fact that his own son, his grandsons and his great grandsons became active and respected members of the Masonic fraternity.

Although the sons of Lucian Ferdinand Toepperwein had been brought to Texas with the hope that there they would escape the hazards and injurious influences incident to military service, they were taught never to shirk the due performance of a duty and when Texas cast her lot with the Southern Confederacy, the three older of them donned its uniform and bravely followed its flag. The father, past the age for effective service, remained with the settlers of his community and carried on his work of other years. A man's value to his country is determined not alone by what he himself contributes for the common welfare, but also by his ability to transmit to his children the determination to prove themselves to be not only "consuming" but "producing" members of society.

Upon the conclusion of hostilities the returning sons rejoined the father in developing their section of the state. They bought and improved land, raised livestock and engaged in remunerative and useful trades. They built ranch homes upon the hill sides, they planted grain in the valleys, they cooperated in the building of railroads which carried the benefits of civilization further into the Hill Country. God prospered them and they were happy among their children.

When the working tools of life dropped from the nerveless hands of this just and upright man, his children and their devoted friends buried him in the valley which he had loved and above his grave they raised an enduring monument to the noble life he had led and upon it they engraved the Square and Compasses by which he had governed his days and the letter "G " in reverent reference to the God he had served.

‹ Back