Hein and Maria Bertling
Details about Hein and Maria’s immigration can be found in A New Land Beckoned 1844-1847, by Chester and Ethel Geue.
Some have posited that Maria Bertling, Henry’s mother, died en route to the USA and Hein, his father, died shortly after arriving in New Braunfels. However, Maria Bertling, aged 35 from Hannover died in New Braunfels in 1846. She is buried in the New Braunfels Cemetery. Also buried there is Christian Bertling who is listed among the immigrants with Hein’s family. He was 22 years old when he died. He is likely Hein’s brother. Most deaths during this time were caused by the cholera epidemic. This information can be found in The History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas 1844-1946, by Oscar Haas (1968), and the list of deaths of those buried without tombstones are transcribed at the Comal County GenWeb site. Because of the specific information available about Maria and Christian’s ages and place of birth it is likely that Hein was still alive to provide the information. Henry would have been only 11 at the time. Because Hein is not listed among those dead in 1845-46, he probably died in 1847 or later.
“During the years 1845-1846 Pastor Ervendberg registered 394 deaths in his local church record--twenty one of these were in 1845 and the balance in 1846. The vast number of 1846 deaths was caused by cholera epidemic which occurred that year. . . . When you see New Braunfel Cemetery do not expect headstones to be there for these. It was a time of great hardships and there wasn’t time to mark the graves for later.”
History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas 1844-1946
by Oscar Haas
(Houston Public Library: Clayton Genealogical Library 1968)
Clayton Genealogical Library, Houston, Texas
“The spring and summer of 1846 proved very trying on the inhabitants of New Braunfels. The winter of 1845-1846 had brought with it a considerable amount of rain. . . . Disease broke out among them and developed into an epidemic. The germs of the disease were brought to New Braunfels when the immigrants were finally moved from Carlshafen [another German settlement]. The warmer the weather became, the more the disease spread. . . . On the banks of the Comal a long shed, which came to be called the hospital, was erected, where the sick were taken and visited daily by Dr. Theodore Koester.
The epidemic was caused by a disease known as petechial fever . . . The disease was accompanied by a very severe fever, during which small crimson spots, caused by an extravasation of blood into surrounding tissues after a rupture of the vessels, appeared on the body. Petechial fever is called epidemic cerebro-spinal meningitis in Webster, New International Dictionary. Others described the disease as scurvy accompanied with dysentery.”
The History of the German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861
by Rudolph Leopold Biesele, Adjunct Prof. of History at the Univ. of Texas
(Press of Von Boeckmann-Jones Co. 1930)
Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas
Hein and Maria’s Family Tree
1. Henry Bertling
(b. 1835 Platendorf, Hannover, Germany d. 1921 Gonzales Co., Texas)