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Johann “Jean” Schneider was from the town of
Welgesheim, Hessen Darmstadt (Germany) and arrived at the port of Galveston
on 8 April 1846, Texas had joined the Union. He receiving both 320 acres
of free land and lot #120 in the original layout of the new German town
of New Braunfels. After becoming established
he wrote to his fiancée in Germany to join him in Texas. They were
married sometime in 1849-1850.
In 1858-1959 Jean and family moved from New Braunfels to Austin. At that
time, the population of
Austin was about 400. Jean acquired property and began work on his “Beer
Vaults”. An ad in the Austin State Gazette newspaper on 14 April
1860 shows Jean operating a brewery from the rear of Kirchberg’s
Saloon on Congress Avenue.
On 18 January 1862 Jean was killed when he was thrown from
a wagon and broke his neck while gathering sand at the river bank in Austin.
His widow and children continued to live on their property on the NW corner
of 2nd and Guadalupe in Austin. The completed beer vaults were in their
back yard and served as a 2-room root cellar.
Jean’s eldest son, Jacob Peter “JP”, became a merchant
and prominent citizen of Austin. His
first store was a simple wooden building next to the family home. Later,
JP built a two story brick general store building across the street from
the family home. That building still exists (currently it houses Lamberts
restaurant) and has a Texas Historic Marker.
It is unclear whether Jean ever used the vaults for brewing, since he
died shortly after their completion.
-Thanks to Micheal Schneider, Jean's great-great-grandson,
for this information