Texas Wendish Heritage Society Participates in Galveston’s First Annual Heritage Festival

Joyce Bise is pictured in the Texas Wendish Heritage booth @ the first annual Galveston Heritage Festival held in historic Kempner Park.

Joyce Bise is pictured in the Texas Wendish Heritage booth @ the first annual Galveston Heritage Festival held in historic Kempner Park.

Galveston Historical Foundation celebrated its rich heritage with their first annual Galveston Heritage Festival which recognized the people and cultures that came to Galveston in the 1800’s and beyond. Known as the “Ellis Island of the West” Galveston’s port was the point of entry for many immigrants settling in the western United States. These groups would go on to found and grow many communities throughout the southern United States and Galveston Historical Foundation celebrates those early pioneers.

The Texas Wends – over 500 in number – left their homeland in Germany to sail from Liverpool, England on the Ben Nevis. The Ben Nevis arrived at Galveston Harbor on December 15, 1854, bringing the largest group of immigrants to come to Galveston Island at one time – and on one ship! The Wends journeyed inland and founded Serbin, Texas on land that later became part of Lee County, Texas.

Pictured are Henry and Lillie Galipp who attended the Galveston Heritage Festival dressed as a Wendish bride & groom. Wendish brides wore black wedding dresses until the turn of the century.

Pictured are Henry and Lillie Galipp who attended the Galveston Heritage Festival dressed as a Wendish bride & groom. Wendish brides wore black wedding dresses until the turn of the century.

The heritage event utilized historic Kempner Park, as well as the 1880 Garten Verein in Galveston, and featured a craft beer garden, live entertainment on the outdoor stage, numerous lectures and hands-on workshops, exhibits and vendors. Many of the nationalities that originally immigrated through Galveston’s harbor from the 1800s to the mid-1920s were on hand throughout the park, sharing their culture through vendor tents, exhibits and lectures.

Texas Wendish Heritage Society hosted a lecture by Executive Director Joyce Bise for festival attendees to learn about the unique history of the Wends. A booth was also hosted by Texas Wendish Society during the event on Saturday, August 15 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Wends are honored to be invited to participate in this celebration of the early Texas pioneers.

Texas Wendish Heritage Society is responsible for the Wendish Heritage Museum located in Serbin, Texas on land originally set aside by the Wends in 1855 for the first Missouri Synod Lutheran Church of Texas, St. Paul Lutheran, Serbin.

The stone St. Paul Lutheran Church has been in continual use since its dedication in 1871 and is recognized as one of the Painted Churches of Texas. The Texas Wendish Heritage Museum is a unique venue featuring the compelling story of the Texas Wends and their journey to Galveston Island where they arrived eager to build their homes and preserve their faith and traditions.

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2 Responses

  1. Hope Lochridge says:

    Do you have any events planned there on October 24th or 31st? We have never been out to visit and have Wendish heritage (Pampell family from Brenham). On the 24th one of my cousins will be visiting from Hawaii and I though we would come out if you are open. He may still be here on the 31st IF there is more going on. Thank you, Hope Lochridge (Austin, Texas)

    • Director says:

      The Museum Complex will be open on both of those days 1-5pm. St. Paul Lutheran Church will also be open for touring.