Existing for several years, the Wichita County Archives began as a repository of paperwork related to Wichita County. Housed in the Museum of North Texas History, the Archives is a destination for those researching property, family, cultural, and business history of North Texas and Wichita County.
As the Archives became known, people began donating items. As families wondered what to do with bits and pieces of family estate relating to Wichita County, they brought artifacts to the Archives. Items found in garage sales and estate sales, such as scrapbooks, photo albums, etc., were donated to the Archives. Some of these items have been real finds for the history researchers of Wichita County.
A few weeks ago, North Texas Genealogical Association member and friend of the Archives, Mike Moody, brought in items purchased at an estate sale. The items included an ornate Bible and a finished wooden box. The box contained letters, most handwritten in German, some dating back to 1875. Though printed in the United States, the Bible is largely written in German.
The Archives reached out to Midwestern State University Texas to translate some of the letters. Dr. Lee Gagum, Assistant Professor of German, offered to assist in translating some of the letters. We look forward to the results.
Arriving in Texas in 1882, Karl Emil Bauch came from Saxony in Germany and settled in Waco. Trained as a harness maker’s helper, Karl opened his harness shop in 1886 in Hillsboro. Coming to Wichita Falls in 1889, Karl opened a harness shop on Seventh Street, later moving to a location on Indiana Street.
In an article from 1933 honoring Karl and his wife, Bessie, on their 50th wedding anniversary, Karl remembered selling harnesses and saddles to Burk Burnett, W. T. Waggoner, the Coleman Ranch, and other cattlemen of the area. He recalled selling his entire stock of saddles, totaling 26, to Burk Burnett in “one throw.” Karl’s sons, Karl Junior and G. F. W., also went into the leather business in Wichita Falls. Karl Senior passed away in 1941.
Karl Emil Bauch, Jr. joined his father’s leather works business, retiring in 1971. Karl was born in Hillsboro and came to Wichita Falls with his family. He ran away to join a circus band at age 13. Returning to Wichita Falls, Karl helped form one of the first bands in Wichita County. Described as the head of the oldest business establishment in Wichita Falls, Karl passed away in 1971.
There is much more to the Bauch family story. We plan to share more as we receive translations of the letters.