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Dr. Felix Bracht immigrated from Germany to Texas in 1849 where he joined his younger brother, Victor Bracht, who had previously written the popular travel guide, Texas in 1848. Dr. Bracht was followed within six months by his wife, Josephine and their daughter, Felicitas. The family settled on the Cibolo Creek in the area of Schertz. For a period of time, the Bracht family also lived in New Braunfels but later returned to their home on the Cibolo Creek. Before leaving Germany, Felix Bracht had been a student at the Friedrich Wilhelm University of Letters (current day Humboldt University) in Berlin. He was an intelligent, outspoken young man who involved himself in the volatile political situation in his country. While attending the University, he had been vocal in expressing his liberal political views and had joined the General German Student’s Association. With the defeat of the democratic initiatives, he was put on trial in Wesel. He was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, but pardoned after two years and allowed to complete his medical studies. In March of 1833, Dr. Felix Bracht graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree and began the practice of medicine in Elberfield, Germany. Sixteen years later, the continuing political unrest in Germany and the opportunities for a better life in America apparently was a deciding factor in the Brachts leaving their homeland for Texas.
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The Blas Herrera Ranch, located in southern Bexar County, Texas, represents an important survival of an early 19th century homestead complex in south Texas. The structures comprising the compound reflect the simple character of central Texas vernacular architecture during the early 19th century and the simple Tejano structures which were common to the area. Historic built features throughout the ranch reflect the evolution and changing uses of the land, from active ranching, to one of scaled back ranching activities, to social and community events, to the simple pasturing of horses. At the heart of the ranch stand two jacales dating from the 1830s-1840s, the larger jacal having been one of two Herrera-Ruiz homesteads. Other structures include two wooden buildings, a pavilion and a few additional structures related to ranching and social activities. The jacals are indicative of the early Tejano construction techniques.
The Ignacio Perez Rancho Jacal is located in the Medina River Natural Area and Greenway in southern Bexar County. (15890 Highway 16, San Antonio, TX). The Medina River Natural Area and Greenway is operated by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. The jacal is near the El Chaparral Trail and is visible from a distance as it is protected by a security fence. The Perez Rancho was located on the Spanish Land Grant awarded to Lt. Colonel Ignacio Perez in 1808. However, it is likely that Perez was occupying the lands prior to this time in the 1700s.
The Voelcker Farmstead Historic District is the remaining vestige of what was once a large scale private dairying operation, last...