ROMBERG, JOHANNES CHRISTLIEB NATHANAEL (1808–1891). Johannes Romberg, poet, son of Bernhard Friedrich Christlieb and Conradine Sophie Friederike (Hast) Romberg, was born on November 10, 1808, at Alt-Buckow in the grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He was expected to follow his pastor father in a scholarly occupation, but measles and an eye infection weakened his eyes. He wanted to become a carpenter, but this was not an occupation approved of for someone of his social class, and he was apprenticed to a merchant, Johannes Dietrich Bauch, in the city of Schwerin. After ten years he became established as a merchant in Boizenburg. On October 8, 1833, he married Fredericke Amalie Elise Bauch, to whom he had been engaged ten years. They became the parents of nine children, one of whom died at childbirth and another of whom died on the trip to America. One of the children was born the day before the ship landed at Galveston; the last child was born in Texas. In 1847 the Romberg family, practically impoverished, arrived in Galveston. They settled first on the San Bernard River and later on Black Jack Creek in Fayette County, where Romberg became a leader in his community. About 1857 he founded the Prairieblume, a literary club that was one of the first of its kind in Texas and included German settlers from the Black Jack Springs and La Grange areas, who read and discussed their stories, articles and poems in the manner of the Latin Settlements of Texas. Romberg is generally conceded to be the most outstanding German-Texan poet and is among the notable German-American poets. Many of his poems, such as "On the Colorado River," "Winter in Texas," and "The Oaks," are of German pioneer and Texas inspiration. A collection of his poems, edited by Alfred Wagner, was published posthumously in Dresden and Leipzig in 1900. Romberg died on February 5, 1891, in the Black Jack Springs community and was buried beside his wife in the little country cemetery of Trinity Lutheran Church (known as the Black Jack Lutheran Church) located off the highway from La Grange to Flatonia.
Selma Marie Raunick, "German Verse in Texas," Southwest Review 18 (Autumn 1932). Selma Metzenthin Raunick, "A Survey of German Literature in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 33 (October 1929). Annie Romberg, comp., History of the Romberg Family (Belton, Texas: Peter Hansborough Bell Press, 1960?).
C. V. Pollard and Crystal Sasse Ragsdale
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