Frelsburg (Frelsburgh) is at the intersection of Farm roads 109 and 1291 in the northern corner of Colorado County. The community was founded around 1837 by Capt. William Frels and his brother John, who immigrated to Texas from Germany in 1834 on the ship Congress. Captain Frels served in the revolutionary army and, after independence, donated the land for the townsite, a school, a parsonage, and a Protestant church and cemetery. Original settlers were Germans from the area around Holstein and Oldenburg. By 1847 the population had increased enough to require a post office, and new immigrants from the Rhineland organized Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Community life, supported by an economy based on small farms similar to those in Germany, reflected both the German heritage and the influence of the Texas frontier. By 1852 the community had several stores, a cotton gin, and a number of service businessmen, such as blacksmiths and harnessmakers. After the Civil War Frelsburg continued to prosper, and much of the local land was devoted to the production of cotton. Area farmers credit Frank Walls, Sr., as the inventor of the first automatic cotton distributor and cleaner for use in gins. In 1870 Frelsburg was chosen by the state as the site of Hermann University, but after completion of the building there were not enough subscribers to keep the school in operation, and the building was subsequently sold to the local school district. During the 1870s the main line of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway passed through Columbus twelve miles south of Frelsburg, and later the Missouri, Kansas and Texas passed several miles to the north. In 1884 Frelsburg had a population estimated at 300 and five cotton gins, four gristmills, three churches, and a sawmill. Even after it was bypassed by the railroads, Frelsburg remained prosperous through the first half of the 1900s. Its post office closed in 1908. After the 1950s most of the local small farms shifted to the production of beef cattle. Discovery of the nearby Frelsburg gas field removed more land from crop production and encouraged absentee ownership. The population of Frelsburg was reported as seventy-five from 1933 to 2000.
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