The Adelsverein, also known as the Mainzer Verein, the Texas-Verein, and the German Emigration Company, was officially named the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas). Provisionally organized on April 20, 1842, by twenty-one German noblemen at Biebrich on the Rhine, near Mainz, the society represents a significant effort to establish a new Germany on Texas soil by means of an organized mass emigration. Such German publications as Charles Sealsfield's Das Kajütenbuch, oder Schilderungen aus dem Leben in Texas (1841), Detlef Dunt's Reise nach Texas nebst Nachrichten von diesem Lande (1834), and G. A. Scherpf's Entstehungsgeschichte und gegenwärtiger Zustand des neuen, unabhängigen Staates Texas (1841), which depicted in glowing terms the great personal liberty and the plentiful and productive land to be found in Texas, had served to direct the nobles' attention to the Republic of Texas as the best destination for an increasing German emigration. Accordingly, in May 1842 the association sent two of its members, counts Joseph of Boos-Waldeck and Victor August of Leiningen-Westerburg-Alt-Leiningen to Texas to investigate the country firsthand and purchase a tract of land for the settlement of immigrants. Once in Texas, the two agents discussed colonizing a land grant with President Sam Houston, who, under the provisions of a law passed on February 5, 1842, was authorized to grant entire tracts of land to contractors who would colonize them. Boos-Waldeck and Alt-Leiningen declined Houston's offer of a grant, however, when they learned that it would be in frontier territory west of Austin and still inhabited by hostile Indians. In January 1843 Boos-Waldeck purchased a league of land (4,428 acres) in what is now Fayette County, near Industry, as the base for future colonization, and named it Nassau Farm, in honor of Duke Adolf of Nassau, the patron of the society. Boos-Waldeck remained in Texas a year developing the farm, and in May 1843 Alt-Leiningen returned to Mainz. Though Boos-Waldeck recommended against an immediate large-scale colonization effort, Alt-Leiningen supported such a venture. Accordingly, on June 18, 1843, the association was reorganized as a joint-stock company with a capital stock of 200,000 gulden ($80,000) for the acquisition of more land in Texas. In September the association was approached by Alexander Bourgeois d'Orvanne, a speculator, who with Armand Ducos held a colonization contract for a tract of land west of San Antonio. On March 25, 1844, the association was formally constituted as the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas with Prince Carl Emich III of Leiningen as president and Count Carl of Castell-Castell as business manager.
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