Andreas Engel was born November 30, 1864 in Gratz Stiermark, Austria. His parents died when he was very young and he was raised by an elderly Catholic couple who owned a dairy in a small village in Austria. In 1885 at age 21 he left Germany under an assumed name and a little money from his foster parents to avoid military service. His destination was Texas. He arrived in San Antonio with only fifty cents and soon obtained a ob herding sheep for Mr. Theo Poss on a ranch 30 miles north of the San Antonio area. With his pay he began to develop his own sheep herd but none survived the bad freeze of 1887. The nearby German community of Honey Creek had a Catholic Church which he sought for the company of native Germans. Here he met Mr. Casper Sueltenfuss who hired him to cut cedar trees on his ranch. Later Andreas bought a portion of the Sueltenfuss property. Andreas met Eva Bechtold and they were married in a little rock chapel near Honey Creek. They moved to a home on the Guadalupe River and there Andreas built his first general store. Flooding was a problem and customers could not get to the store for days during those periods. The opening of a dance pavillion was marred by the death of a young man with a heart attack so crowds never returned. He sold out to his friend Paul Sueltenfuss, son of his friend Casper. Frederich Hofheinz sold him three acres of land where the Boerne-New Braunfels and Blanco-San Antonio roads intersected. It was a good location for a store and Andreas began again in 1900. Frank Schwarz drilled the well, putting up the cypress water tank which stood for a hundred years. He also sold Andreas a cotton gin. Joe Woods built the two story gin, managed the operation and on September 15, 1900 the gin was operating. The flooding Guadalupe still cut off some of the transportation route to the gin and was so bad that the post office in Schiller had to be moved to the area chosen by Andreas for his business. Andreas named his little place Bergheim (Home in the Hills). He became its first postmaster in 1901. He had a new building built for the store in 1903 by William Stendebach. It was built from limestone quarried nearby. Andreas and Eva with their six children lived in a partitioned section of the store until 1907 when they built a house next to the store for their living quarters. All of the children helped in the store as they were growing up. In 1916, Andreas sold his business and home to his two sons, Alfred and Rudolph and built himself another home nearby. Andreas and Eva Engel celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1941 with the same priest attending that married them. Eva died May 22, 1946 and Andreas lived until January 16, 1958. They are both buried in St. Josephs Catholic Church Cemetery in Honeycreek, Texas.

Source: Edmonds, Bettie, "Kendall County Historical Commission, "Rivers, Ranches, Railroads, and Recreation; A History of Kendall County, Texas", Dallas, TX., Taylor Publishing Co., 1984; and Boerne Public Library files.- August 16, 2001

Back to Kendall County Main Page