Speech to the Grand Lodge of Hermann Sons
On the Occasion of the

HARMONIA LODGE 140TH ANNIVERSARY
“HERMANN SONS: BRIDGE TO AMERICA!”

  1. High Points of Harmonia Lodge's History
    • Harmonia Lodge is the mother lodge of the State, having been the first one founded.
    • The Texas Sons of Hermann organization ended its 60-year affiliation with the National Order of the Sons of Hermann in 1921.
    • The Texas group was already stronger financially and had more members than the lodges in all other states combined!
    • With this severance, the delegates also voted to switch entirely to the English language in all matters pertaining to the Grand Lodge. Before 1921 all business had been conducted in German.
    • The Order of the Sons of Hermann in Texas has always had a good reputation and its members have always been true to American principles.
  2. Facts of San Antonio & the U.S. in 1861
    • The County Judge (then called the Chief Justice of Bexar County) was John H. Duncan.
    • The Mayor of San Antonio was James R. Sweet.
    • The County Commissioner of Precinct 4 was M. L. Merrick.
    • The Bexar County Sheriff was John Dobbin.
    • The Postmaster of Bexar County was E. C. Dewey.
    • The U.S. House of Representatives member was Andrew Hamilton of La Grange.
    • The Population of San Antonio was 8,235, making San Antonio the largest City in Texas.
    • General Robert E. Lee was living on St. Mary's St., here in San Antonio.
    • The City offices and the County Courthouse were consolidated in the first City /County Joint venture. They were housed in what was then known as the French Building, located on Main Plaza.
    • The Presiding District Judge was Thomas Jefferson Devine.

    • Jan. of 1861
    • President Elect Abraham Lincoln declares Slavery in Confederate states unlawful.
    • Mr. Thomas Crapper patented the first Flush Toilet (with separate water tank and a pull chain). (Honest)
    • Kansas becomes the 34th State of the U.S.

    • Feb. of 1861
    • 1,000 men from San Antonio volunteered to serve in the Confederate Army.
    • The Secession Convention approved an ordinance withdrawing Texas from the Union, making Texas the 7th State to secede from the union.
    • Jefferson Davis & Alexander Stephens were elected President and Vice President of the Confederates States of America.
    • Robert E. Lee resigns as a General of the Union Army and assumes Command of the Confederate Army.

    • March of 1861
    • President Elect Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, thus marking the 1st time the U.S. had 5 former Presidents living and who participated in the inauguration ceremonies.
    • Sam Houston, Governor of Texas, resigns in protest against secession!

    • April of 1861
    • Confederate troops marched into San Antonio lead by General Ben McCullough.
    • Congress authorizes the use of paper money.

    • July of 1861
    • 1st public school opens in San Francisco.

    • Aug of 1861
    • The U.S. levies its 1st Income Tax (3% of incomes over $800)

    • Oct of 1861
    • 1st transcontinental telegram was sent, ending the Pony Express.
  3. Texas Secedes on February 23, 1861, mere months before Harmonia Lodge Was Founded!

  4. By a vote of 44,317 to 13,020, Texas ratified secession on February 23, 1861. The Secession Convention reassembled on March 5, declared Texas independent, took further steps to join it to the Confederacy, and reorganized the state's government. In doing this it declared that all current officeholders must swear a loyalty oath to the Confederacy. Sam Houston refused, saying that the actions of the convention after it adjourned in February were illegal. Convention delegates declared the office of governor vacant and instructed Lt. Gov. Edward Clark to assume the office of governor. On March 23, the convention adjourned for the last time, having taken Texas out of the Union, allied it with the Confederacy, and ended the political career of its most prominent citizen.

  5. A Convergence of Texas Counter Currents
  6. Now, let's analyze this for just a moment!

    You have a group of immigrants who do not speak the language who have come here to participate in the American dream. Just about as soon as they arrive on the scene, the country they have dreamed about and with great hardship immigrated to, divides into two and a great war that they had limited understanding or appreciation for breaks out.

    Not understanding slavery nor believing in it, they are repulsed at the notion of fighting and dying for the so-called "Southern Cause". The surrounding communities, of and including Comfort, give up some 68 men and boys in a slaughter tied to its citizens resisting the Confederacy. Today they are proudly buried beneath a white obelisk monument, the only one to the Union in the South, with the inscription: "Treu der Union".

    So we wonder; Why a fraternal benefit society? What's the difference? The difference, I submit, is that you are buying into a part of your heritage: one part German and completely American.

    We've all been told somewhere along the way: "Tell me with whom you run and I'll tell you who you are." My friends and fellow members of Harmonia, you cannot find better people. You cannot enhance your life more than you can by connecting with your fellow members—the legatees-the beneficiaries of a heritage of courage, honesty, patriotism and valor. God bless Harmonia and Hermann Sons! May your next 140 years be as glorious as your first 140!

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