Who are the Wends?

The Wends are a Slavic people from Eastern Germany. Historically they have lived in a region called Lusatia, which is primarily located in Eastern Germany today. Though the Wends have never had their own nation, they do have their own language (Sorbian) and distinct culture.

Conditions in Lusatia in the early nineteenth century caused some Wends to contemplate immigration. Beginning in 1849, some immigrated to Texas seeking to preserve their faith, language, and culture. The largest group, consisting of about 570 persons, sailed for Texas in 1854 along with their pastor, the Rev. Jan Kilian. These Wends settled in the southern part of modern-day Lee County and established a community called Serbin.

Image by Serbski kulturny archiw/Sorbisches Kulturarchiv; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany.

Marjana Domaškojc (1872–1946) wearing traditional Wendish clothing ca. 1940
Marjana Domaškojc (1872–1946) wearing traditional Wendish clothing ca. 1940
Interior of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Serbin Showing Organ

Why Immigrate?

The primary reasons that the Wends immigrated to Texas were to preserve their language, culture, and Lutheran faith. Learn more about the events that shaped their decision.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church - Serbin, Texas

The Churches

Between 1854 and 1900 the Wends expanded from Serbin to communities as far away as Copperas Cove. Learn more about the congregations they formed and were involved with.

San Antonio & Aransas Pass Depot in New Serbin About 1905

The Communities

Learn more about the communities where the Wends of Texas established their new homes.

Image from the Archives of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society

Book Coming Soon

Wendish Lutherans in Sam Houston’s Texas will tell the story of the first fifty years of the Wends in Texas with historical sketches and photographs of the churches and communities they settled.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church - Fedor, Texas

More Information

Screenshot of wendishresearch.org

The Wendish Research Exchange

If you’re interested in researching your family’s Wendish connections, this is a great place to start!

Screenshot of texaswendish.org

The Texas Wendish Heritage Society

The TWHS has members all over the world who are working to preserve the unique culture of the Texas Wends

Further Reading

The following books contain more information about the Wends in Lee County and other parts of Texas.

These links are Amazon affiliate links; if you purchase a book after clicking on one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.