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Julius Schütze

Did you know that Julius Schütze was instrumental
in creating the first ever Austin school system?

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Julius Schütze 1835-1904

JULIUS SCHUETZE (1835–1904).

Judge, German-language newspaper publisher, and music teacher, was born in Dessau, Anhalt, Germany, on March 29, 1835. He was the son of Heinrich and Louise (Seelman) Schütze. He arrived at Indianola, Texas, with his family in November 1852. His brothers Louis and Adolf had preceded him to Texas.

Schuetze founded the Texas Sängerbund, a German singing society, in Meyersville and in 1853 he participated in the first state Saengerfest, held in New Braunfels. He also tuned pianos.

Schuetze tutored the families of governors Sam Houston and Pendleton Murrah, studied law under Judge Wooldridge, and was admitted to the bar. Upon the death of his first wife he married Julia Ohrndorf, née Brügerhoff; Schuetze had ten children. In 1864 he moved to Bastrop, where he taught at the Orgains School. After the Civil War he became chief justice of Bastrop County. Judge Schuetze served in the Twelfth Texas Legislature as a federal tax collector and was an Indian agent with a tribe in Colorado. He was a Republican and worked actively against prohibition.

From 1870 to 1873 he and O. H. Dietzel published Vorwärts ("Forward"), a German-language newspaper, first in New Braunfels and later in Austin. In 1883 Schuetze again published Vorwärts in Austin. Like his father, who had been a silk grower in Germany, Schuetze raised silkworms, which he exhibited at the State Fair of Texas. His article "Seidenbau in Texas" ("Silk Farming in Texas") was published in the Jahrbuch für Texas in 1884. Schuetze was active in the Order of the Sons of Hermann, which he served as national president from September 1897 until his death. He was also director of the Austin Sängerbund. 

 

He taught speech and music and married Henrietta Heinz of Seguin, a music lover. In 1858 he moved to Austin, where he taught at the first German Free School, the one you’re standing in today.

 

The German Free School Association of Austin was chartered by the Texas legislature on January 19, 1858, as the first chartered school in Austin, for the "education of the youth, the promotion of useful knowledge, and the advancement of the sciences." It was free of charge to all boys and girls without regard to religious opinions. 

State funds for teachers were distributed by the Travis County Commissioners Court in 1858 at the rate of 10 cents per day per student for students not paying tuition, and at 1½ cents per day per student for students who were paying tuition. A larger number of nonpaying students attended the German Free School than any other school in Austin. The school became public when the city schools opened in 1871, but the transition was not smooth.

The German Free School Association's original charter expired at the end of its twenty-year term in 1879. A recharter of the Association was filed with the Department of State in 1884 by trustees Julius Schuetze, G. P. Assmann, R. Haschke, Ed Wolf, Ed Steiner, Max Haas, and Henry Vogel. The school closed soon thereafter, and the building was used by the Germania Verein. Schuetze and his family continued to stay in the family quarters and eventually purchased the rest of the building. Ownership of the former school building changed hands several times after Schuetze's death.

He died in Austin on April 23, 1904.

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30th Anniversary Schutze Family

Front row: Alvina, Julius, Clara, Oma Julia, Noris

Back row: Henrietta, Julius Jr., Ed, Hugo & Adolph

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