The German Catholic Colony
at Pilot Point, Texas
Introduction by Mike Cochran
The German Catholic Colony at Pilot Point The German Catholic community at Pilot Point is the largest and most intact of the three German communities that developed in Denton County in the late nineteenth century. This colony was founded by the Flusche Brothers in 1891, at the request of banker A.H. Gee and J.M. Sullivan of Pilot Point. Emil Flusche, a Catholic empressario, had successfully founded similar colonies in Iowa and Kansas, and in Texas at Muenster and Lindsay.
Through advertisements in German Catholic newspapers and in pamphlets such as the one we reprint in this issue, news spread through the American mid-west of this promising new colony. "Catholic businessmen, craftsmen, and especially older persons of means who want to live a quiet life near the church in the most beautiful, healthy area" were encouraged to settle there. In Pilot Point, they promised, the summers were not as hot as those in Minnesota. The farming conditions were excellent and Texas was in no danger of being taken over by the fanatical, "slippery hypocrites" that had thrust many a northern state into "servitude". The first German colonists to arrive at Pilot Point were Herman Boerner and his son-in-law Louis Tschoeppe from "Neu Braunfels". On September 10, 1891, Emil Flusche with his wife Anna and their four children arrived in Pilot Point from his colony at Westphalia, Kansas. He moved with his family into a house on the north side of town owned by Mr. J.A.L. McFarland, the cashier at the bank.
The colony prospered. Mass was first celebrated on November 4th, 1891, and largely through donations, St. Thomas Catholic Church was built; and it was consecrated on March 7th, 1892. Many of their protestant neighbors attended this event to "watch these Catholics worship their wooden God."
In the rich farmland north almost to Tioga and east to Gunter hundreds of German speaking Catholics settled and farmed, isolated from the English speaking culture around them. Most of the children only learned English when they began attending the parish school at Pilot Point, where half their classes were in English.
Although much of the German culture has faded over the years, some traditions have survived. The German language is remembered by many, and in a few homes, it is still spoken on a regular basis. In 1973, almost 26 per cent of the names listed in the Pilot Point phone directory were of German origin; St. Thomas Catholic Church is thriving, with many of its members decendants of those early German founders. M.C. (Editor's note, In the writings of Emil Flusche he writes with sadness of the death of his beloved wife Anna who died in Pilot Point in 1895. While doing research for this issue I visited the Catholic Cemetary at Pilot Point in February of 1989 and was pleased to see that there were attractive flowers adorning the grave of this "Deutsches Mutter" ninety-six years after her death.)