Palo Alto College
San Antonio, TX
Palo Alto Logo History 1302
Robert Hines, Instructor
Fall 2001
Geronimo from the air Geronimo, Texas
Small Town History

Monica Mueck

Dedication of this Webpage & Special Credit
extended to
Carolyn Heinemeyer Bading
Click here to View

"Oh, Yeah!  I've been through there on the way to the coast!" 
                                            Friends & Aquaintances from Elsewhere


Geronimo, Texas is a small, unincorporated town located in the northwestern part of Guadalupe County on Texas State Highway 123 about five miles north of Seguin, 15 miles south of San Marcos, and 10 miles southeast of New Braunfels.


Click on Pictures for enlarged views

Geronimo Creek
Geronimo Creek ~ Beautiful and inviting, peaceful and serene. 
Geronimo Creek waterfall
The creek warns of its power to become devastatingly treacherous.



No, this town is not named for the Apache Indian chief, Geronimo.  It was, instead, named for the usually serene and inviting, but occasionally treacherous, Geronimo Creek.  The creek ran through José Antonio Navarro's ranch which he named "San Geronimo" after St. Jerome.  It was from the ranch that the creek derived it's name when Navarro acquired it which was in 1824, five years before the Apache was born.Etlinger, p. 2; "Guadalupe Guide," Seguin Gazette Enterprise, 1981.


Geronimo is part of two land grants originally owned by Mexico from about 1821-1836.  In 1831, the Alamo hero, James Bowie, surveyed the 11 leagues of land obtained by A. M. Esnaurizer.  "This land is described as 'The Eleven Leagues of land on the northeast bank of the Guadalupe embracing the springs called Tio Geronimo, situated within the colony of Green DeWitt.Weinert, p. 51   Marjila Chirino, widow of Jose Salinas who was dead by 1830, obtained two leagues on Tio Geronimo Creek. (Jose Salinas was not the Jose Maria Salinas who obtained four leagues of land at the confluence of the Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers.)

This information on Jose Salinas comes from the title Marjila Chirino in Box 119, Folder 10 of the Spanish Collection of the Texas General Land Office.  The document is in Spanish and has not been translated into English.Greaser

1 league = 4,428.4 acres
1 vara = 33 1/3 inches
Credits for information in this table may be attributed to Carolyn Bading of Geronimo, TX 
and messages to her from Galen Greaser of the Texas General Land Office.


Jose Antonio Navarro (see websites below for more information on Navarro) was the Land Commissioner for Green DeWitt and chose the land to the east of the Esnaurizer grant for himself.Weinert, p. 51  According to Guadalupe County Courthouse Deed Records, M. Cherino sold two leagues of Land to José Antonio Navarro in 1834 for $200.[Deed Record Book E, pg. 134-137]  Navarro sold part of his land to "Alexander Ewing...for $16,000,Weinert  and part to his brother, Luciano Navarro. [Deed Record Book O, p. 52, 53]

Due to a scandal (which can be read about in Carolyn Bading's book when completed) Esnaurizar's grandchildren had to secure part of the land back in 1898.[2 Abstracts: 1) secured by Carolyn Bading from Robert Raetzsch:  A. W. Pieper by the Donegan Abstract Co.; 2) was left in the house purchased by Edwin & Carolyn Bading:  Louis J. Boenig by the Donegan Abstract Co.] 
"Downtown" Geronimo was part of the A. M. Esnaurizer property.C. Bading, from maps of land grants


Early Settlers
The Geronimo Creek area fed by a series of springs, one of which is known as the Tio Geronimo Springs, has been "coveted by settlers since the earliest days."  The pastures have always been well watered; the water in the creek runs clear; the soil is deep, black and rich, providing the perfect combination for farming, ranching and homesteading.  Trees grow tall and full providing shade for homes and pastures.  Scattered oaks grace the land while much is wide open and flat to gently sloping, providing land for crop farmers that did not have to be cleared.  Crops produce an abundant harvest and grass grows thick and tall on the widespread prairie land.  Weinert, p. 51

The German Immigration began in New Braunfels about 1845 and spread south toward what was to become Clear Springs and east toward the attractive farm and pasture land that was to become the Geronimo settlement.

In 1877, Rudolph Tschoepe purchased the land on which Navarro's ranch house stood from Alexander Ewing who was originally from Madison County, Alabama.Weinert, p. 51 Tschoepe's descendants still live on the property today.. 


Many old family names were associated with the early economy which was primarily based upon agriculture, with the central focus upon the cotton gins.  The economy was in it's prime from about the late 1800's until the mid 1900's when the gin closed.  Local businesses closed as business owners retired and larger neighboring towns became more accessible.

The Geronimo economy has been revived in the past five to 10 years with the tourist industry.  A growing appreciation for history and nostalgia has resulted in the opening of several novelty and antique shops.  The desire of parents to send their children to a smaller school has also been a major factor in the recent growth of the community.



Agriculture and Gin Companies

In approximately the late 1850's, C. B. Schramm from Germany opened the first gin, horse driven, in Geronimo.  E. Schramm found farmers and contracted with them through a written guarantee that they would bring their cotton to his gin.  The first recorded account of this was in 1871.

Von Boeckmann, who owned a verein (a German clubhouse), owned land on both sides of Geronimo.  He, Timmerman, and another investor bought the Schram Gin, tore it down, then built the Geronimo Gin probably during the 1890's, (top right) and was known as von Boeckmann Gin at the time.minutes of gin company    The gin was steam driven and used wood purchased from the farmers to fuel the fire to make steam.  By 1900 E. von Boeckmann sold the gin to his sons, Edgar and Charles von Boeckmann.Guadalupe County Courthouse Deed book 15, pages 405-407.

These same investors ventured into other businesses.  They ginned their own cotton first which angered the other farmers.  C. Bading

Cotton Gin
In 1909, The farmers organized, formed the Farmers' Union Gin Company and built the Farmers' Union Gin (middle right) where Geronimo Antiques is currently located (lower right).

[After the gin closed, the building was converted into a gymnasium for Navarro School.  It served as the Evan's Honey Shack for a few years in the 1960's and 1970's.  It is currently Geronimo Antiques. (bottom right)]

The Farmers' Union Gin bought out the von Boeckmann Gin in 1917 and both gins were used both at the same time.  In 1920, The board of directors officially adopted the name "The Geronimo Gin Company" and a seal was made.  The simultaneous operation of the two gins continued for several years until the directors closed the original gin (Farmers' Union) and continued ginning with the improved Geronimo Gin. 

The Geronimo Gin North Seed House was known as "The Eagle Hotel" because a man often slept in it, probably intoxicated, as per the reliable older community members' grapevine throughout the years.

During the 1970's, cotton root rot became a major problem for the farmers.  More and more farmers quit growing cotton and began to depend more upon milo, corn, wheat and hay crops.  The major livestock raised in the area include cattle, sheep, hogs, and in more recent years, goats.  The decline in cotton production resulted in the closing it's doors and its books in 1977.

Farmers Union Gin       Honey Shack       Gin office
The Geronimo Gin Office as seen from the roadside is a nostalgic remembrance of yesteryear.

The land for the first Navarro School was purchased in 1888 for the sum of $60 for 2-4/5 acres out of the M. Chrino two league grant from F. C. and Clara Weinert.  [per sale of land deed sold by F. C. Weinert & Clara Bading Weinert]   (Clara was Edwin E. Bading's aunt.)  Henry Herrmann, Edgar von Boeckmann and W. M. Weinert as trustees signed the deed.

The school was named for José Antonio Navarro, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a large land owner in the community.
Some of the earliest names recorded for the area were associated with the schools.  Names included in the 1888 Navarro School Board Minutes (right) which were written in German were von Boeckmann, Heinemeyer, Herrmann, F. Engelke, Schriewer, Glenewinkel, C. Specht, A. Glenewinkel, Bading.
1888 Navarro School Board Minutes, page 1
(Click on image to view enlarged version)
Navarro School Board minutes


Old Navarro School Agricultural School
Original 1888 one room Navarro School house.  It was moved from the original location to the corner of Texas State Highway 123 and Friedens Church Road to avoid its destruction. (history above)  The first teacher, E. M. Bittner, received $35 per month.  School supplies were purchased in October and classes were held December, February, March, and April. Navarro Agricultural High School as it appeard shortly after it was constructed. 

Picture is a scanned image of a courtesy photo printed in the October 2, 1988 Seguin Gazette-Enterprise in the Navarro 100th birthday article.

In 1912, six acres of land on the corner of Friedens Chruch Road and Huber Road was purchased from L. H. Heinemeyer for the total sum of $5.00.  Navarro was primarily an agricultural school at the time, that taught students proper farming methods.  It was called the Navarro Agricultural High School.  (see picture above right)  The first class graduated in 1918 with 10 graduates.  The class members were Helmuth Alves, Marvin Bormann, Lydia Braunholz, Samuel Bretzke, Myrtle Greebon, Monroe Harborth, Eugene Heinemeyer, Oscar Schlichting, Helmuth Wittenborn, and Etelka Zipp.Navarro Graduates 1918-1988  pamphlet

Several smaller schools in the area consolidated with Navarro in 1918.  They included the Specht School (Barbarossa), the Cordova School, and the Harborth School (Schmoekel), and two out of district schools, the San Geronimo School and the Galle School.

In 1954, new school buildings were constructed.  They are the 300 and 400 wings of the present day Navarro High School which are now adjoined by the Central Office.  Then in 1957, the Dietert School (Zorn) consolidated with Navarro.
Aerial View of Navarro ISD NISD Historical Marker
Aerial View of Navarro ISD from the southeast.  Texas State Hwy 123 runs in front.  Baseball field (left) is on the south side of the high school.  The two original buildings are the long wings to the north of the baseball field (toward the far right of the photo)  with the green area between them behind the adjoining section in the front. Navarro School Historical Marker

(Click on picture for enlarged view)

Navarro ISD is now composed of three campuses, Elementary, Middle and High School. 
All three continue to be named "Navarro."

Friedens United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ from the air
United Church of Christ Friedens
United Church of Christ plaque
Friedens UCC is located on the corner of Frieden's Church Road (East to West - bottom left to top right of photo) and Barbarossa Road (North to South - left to right of photo).

Friedens Church History - Clicking on this link will take you to the Friedens Church website.  When finished viewing, click on the "Back" button in your browser.

"Friedens Kirche 1904" granite inset in the red brick and the Friedens Church Historical Marker are located on the north side of the church near the west end (end near Barbarossa Road).

Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the Friedens Church Historical Marker.

Lone Oak Cemetary

Lone Oak Cemetary
Lone Oak Cemetary Historical Marker
Lone Oak Cemetary

This cemetary is located across from the front of Friedens Church at the intersection of Barbarossa Road and Friedens Church Road.
The cemetary is where the German people and their descendants in the community are buried.   The Hispanics and African-Americans are buried in different cemetaries.  There were not many blacks in the community, because many Germans did not have slaves.

Lone Oak Cemetary
Historical Marker

Click on the picture above to read the inscription.
This will take you to another website, therefore,
when finished viewing, click on the "Back" button in your browser.

Community Ties


  The Seven Timmerman Sisters


These women will tell you "We're Famous!"  They are descendents of the original Timmerman Family that settled in Geronimo area, but they only partially rely on that for their notoriety.  Unique in their own right, none of them ever married, and they all began dressing alike when they went out in public and for social gatherings.  They have been featured in such magazines as Texas Monthly and Life, and have made it into newspapers across the state, including the Houston Cronicle. 

Of the seven, two are still living, Meta and Wanda.  Meta is the quiet one and is content to sit back and listen while Wanda shares her stories with anyone who is willing to listen.

They claim fame for the many contributions they and their family have made to both the Geronimo and Seguin communities.  They owned and operated a flower shop from their home until all of them had passed retirement age.  Church was always a major part of their life.  They were not only seen at every service and function, but they contributed their artistic skills to decorate and singing skills in the choir.  They proved their love for children by teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.  In the community, they boosted the spirit of the Seguin Matadors and Navarro Panthers by showing up and cheering at games of every sport, and often feeding the football players complete meals.  During the Christmas season, they would spend many hours, if not days, constructing a display under a large Christmas tree in their home depicting the earliest settlers who were part of the German immigration into the area.  The sisters would then welcome into their home visitors, both locally and from afar, individuals and groups, to view the display and listen to the retelling of the beloved stories they had heard growing up, and shared so many times in an effort to keep the local history alive.

During the early 1900's, the Timmerman family constructed and operated a park complete with a swimming pool beside Geronimo Creek in the pasture area just east and south of where their home still lies today. (pictured below right)    July 11, 1919, the Guadalupe Gazette, Seguin, Texas, reported to have the first "social whirl" bathing party at the Timmerman's park near Geronimo.  The swimming pool was basically spring fed, but a well was built to help fill it up.  It was located across the road and south east of their home.  Across the road to the north of the pool and east of their home was a fish pond and fountain which lay in the center of a compass rose (below left) made from concrete somewhat like a sidewalk.

The pool was closed only a short time after it opened due to some type of epidemic outbreak.  However, for many years later, the park was used for church picnics and Easter egg hunts.   I can even remember hunting easter eggs down there with my friends when I was small.  We would ride "for a long time" on the "Bunny Bus" from the church until we finally reached "Bunny Land."C. Bading, V. Mueck, B. Neumann

Compass Rose Timmerman Sister's Home
Compass Rose
Timmerman Road can be seen running approximately from east to west (left to right across top corner of photo).  The compass rose lies to the north of the road, and the swimming pool to the south. 

Best viewed from the air, the compass rose has actually saved the life of a pilot who lost control of his airplane.  Spiraling downward, he saw it, realized he was heading straight for the ground, and pulled up just in time to save his life.

Timmerman Sister's Home
This photo was taken from the road in front of the house.  The flower shop was operated out of the room on the right end while facing the house.  Still welcoming others into their home, it currently serves as the temporary home for a church which will be built on the property to the west (left) of the house.  (The compass rose lies to the east (right).

Several landmarks in the small Geronimo community remain as reminiscent relics of the past.  They contribute to the small town a nostalgic feeling of stepping backward a few years in time.  Although there are many more than pictured on this page, any history of Geronimo would be incomplete without the following.  Information on the following was gathered through visits with Bonnie Neumann and Carolyn Bading, both of whom grew up in the community and are descendants of the original Heinemeyer family.
Post Office Bretzke's Store
Geronimo Post Office
A small, but friendly operation is often the meeting place of those utilizing its services. 
The Geronimo Post Office was originally a bank, started by von Boeckmann, before the post office moved in.  The banker had been embezzling funds and found out that the auditors were coming.  One night, after consuming a beer with a friend, he committed suicide by shooting himself.  The spelling of the banker's name is uncertain, but it is something close to Thieme.
Bretzke Store
was a general store during the late 1800's.  Saddles, shoes, clothing, cotton sacks, feed, seed, fertilizer.  It was first owned by Robert Bretzke, then by David Bretzke, his son.  Affordable Antiques is the business currently operating out of the building..
Heinemeyer's Store VFW
Heinemeyer Store
William Heinemeyer opened this store in the late 1890's, but community grapevine contends that it had been in existence and operated by a previous owner.
Koebig Store ~ Geronimo VFW
Koebig Store was built in 1917.  Koebig had been running Bretzke Store, but decided to open his own.  He carried more groceries than Bretzke, but was still a general store.  The post office was located in the back and was where they stored the chicken feed.  Postal customers often had to climb over sacks of feed to get to their mail. 
When the post office moved out, it moved into a mobile building prior to moving to the little red brick building where it is housed today.  The original post office boxes are in the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, Texas.
Model T Shop Meyer's Blacksmith Shop
Model-T Shop~Schubert's Garage and Gas Station
Victor Bading and Gene Dietert owned and operated a Model-T Shop where they actually built the cars. 
It was later turned into a gas station and garage by A. A. Schubert.  It is now the Emporium, a novelty and gift shop.
Meyer's Blacksmith Shop
There were also two other blacksmith shops.  Since torn down, one was owned and operated by Herman Krueger next to where the old Navarro School house is now located.  The other was Scheel's Blacksmith Shop where a local family now lives.

Community Events
  Geronimo Volunteer Fire Department

Geronimo Fire Department Geronimo Fire Department Bar-b-que
Members of the Geronimo Volunteer Fire Department can be seen in the background preparing for their annual barbecue meal and auction.(left)  Members barbecue their own meat in a large pit under the shed shaded by large trees (right) while the womens' auxiliary prepares the side dishes indoors.  Community members bring homemade deserts. 

Dedication and Special Credit
Carolyn Heinemeyer Bading
has included much of the information found on this webpage and more in a carefully researched book about the history of Geronimo, Texas.  The book has now been published: The History of Geronimo, Guadalupe County, Texas 78115, by Martha Carolyn Heinemeyer Bading. Research and interview information is all documented. The history of Geronimo story begins when Texas was under Spain, in 1780's, telling of the life of scouts who ventured to the Tio Geronimo Springs, revealing the landowner's name of the Tio Geronimo Springs. Chapter three is dedicated to Jose Antonio and Luciano Navarro, telling of their lives on the two leagues Chirino Land Grant before and after Texas Independence from Mexico. The book continues with the development and life in the small village of Geronimo to 2003. Included in the book are photos of the businesses in Geronimo and more. You can purchase The History of Geronimo, Guadalupe County, Texas 78115 for $26.95 plus 6.75% Texas State Tax (no tax out of the State of Texas) plus $5.00 for Shipping and Handling by writing to: Carolyn Bading PO Box 82 Geronimo, TX 78115 e mail address: Carolyn Bading
When asked, "What validates your information as correct should it conflict with any that might be related by another community member?"  Carolyn replied that she relies on information recorded in documents, mostly secured from the Guadalupe County courthouse, the Bexar Archives in the San Antonio Library, the University of Texas Law Library, School Records stored in the old Guadalupe County Jail museum in Seguin, TX, and the National Archives of the United States.  One such piece of information she secured is a 1934 microfilm that contains the Geronimo Post Office history.


     Bading, Caroline.  Personal interview.  3 Oct. 2001.
     Neumann, Bonnie.  Personal interview.  27 Sept.2001.
Annotated Bibliography
Weinert, Willie Mae,  An Authentic History of Guadalupe County.  The Seguin Enterprise, Seguin, TX. 1976. 
Seguin Conservation Society Reproduction of Willie Mae Weinert's book published in 1951.  Primarily, the first 50 years of the history of Guadalupe county.

"Navarro celebrates 100th birthday," Seguin Gazette-Enterprise.  Seguin, TX. Sunday, October 2, 1988.
Photos with captions of Navarro school buildings and classes, old and new, accompanied by an article about the 100th birthday celebration.

"Navarro Graduates 1918-1988," Pamphlet compiled for 100 year celebration, 1988.
Navarro graduates names gathered from school records were listed in this pamphlet for display during the school's 100 year birthday.  It includes a few notes about the graduates for certain years.

Etlinger, Josephine Blume Seeliger, Sweetest You Can Find.  Watercress Press, San Antonio, TX, 1987

          "Geronimo Creek."  The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Tue Sep 18 22:29:25 US/Central 2001].

           "Geronimo, Texas."   The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Wed Sep 12 17:14:14 US/Central 2001].

             Lone Oak Cemetery.  My German Ancestors and their Descendants: Homepage of Thomas Franklin Keyser  [Accessed Tue Sep 18 22:23 US/Central 2001]

            "José Antonio Navarro State Historical Park."  The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Tue Sep 18 23:06:57 US/Central 2001].


          “Navarro, José Antonio.”  The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Tue Sep 18 23:05:50 US/Central 2001].
             The Seven Sisters of Geronimo Creek: a Texas Cookbook [Accessed Tue Sep 18 22:44 US/Central 2001]

             The Timmerman Sisters:  Bread Pudding and Wine Sauce [Accessed Tue Sep 18 22:45 US/Central 2001]

          Texas Landmarks - Guadalupe County, The TexGen Web Project [Accessed Tue Sep 18 22:56 US/Central 2001].
The Ueckert/Thromeyer Homepage [Accessed Sun Nov 18 10:03 US/Central 2001]

Special Thanks
  Jeremy Engler - Pilot who took me up in plane so I could take aerial views of the Geronimo area.
  Vicki Mueck - Assisted me with the tasks of locating sources for gathering my information, taking pictures, and
                           designing and creating my webpage.

Web Author's Note

Due to constraints of time and logistics, I was unable to visit with everyone I wanted to interview.  There are also more aerial views of which I would like to take photos.  Should inaccuracies be detected and as more information is gathered, we will continue to update and maintain this webpage which will be linked from both Robert Hines' History Homepage at Palo Alto College and the Navarro ISD Homepage.

Please feel free to contact us if you have information or pictures you feel should be represented on our Geronimo webpage.

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