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Gillespie County Historical Markers

Texas Historical Markers Website Visits

Brodbeck Cemetery

In November 2018, the Brodbeck Family Cemetery was visited by Marion and Steve Daughtry.  Marion and Steve have a hobby of visiting and photographing the historical markers of Texas. There are over 18,000 historical markers and the Daughtry's have visited and photographed over 9000 of them. Recently, they added the Brodbeck Family Cemetery to their Gillespie County list.

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Edwards Aquifer Website

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The "Jacob Brodbeck First Powered Flight" Legend


This image from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library is believed to show an airplane with a propellor powered by coiled springs that was flown and crashed by Jacob Brodbeck in 1865, although this has not been verified.

Brodbeck was a German Hill Country pioneer and inventor who worked on an "airship" project for over 20 years, according to the Texas State Historical Association. If he indeed flew an airplane in 1865, that would be almost 40 years before the Wright Brothers.

Most accounts place his flight in a field near Luckenbach on September 20, 1865, but some place it in San Pedro Park, where a bust of Brodbeck was later installed. No one knows for sure, so this is a bona-fide legend.

BRODBECK, JACOB (1821–1910). Jacob Brodbeck, pioneer school supervisor and sometimes considered the first man to fly in an airplane, was born in the duchy of Württemberg on October 13, 1821.    FULL ARTICLE


Ep. 26: Texas Takes Flight

The first man to fly a powered aircraft was a Texan named Jacob Brodbeck.  History credits the Wright brothers but it’s time to correct the record!  Learn about German immigration, a fascinating Texan, and the first airplane flight in this episode of Wise About Texas.

An aerial view of the Herff farm where Brodbeck flew (photo Cibolo Nature Center)

Justice Ken Wise sits on the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas.  Justice Wise traces his ancestry back to the Republic of Texas in 1836.  He was born and raised in Houston and attended Texas A&M University where he competed on the intercollegiate rodeo team.  He attended law school at the University of Houston and practiced law for 8 years before taking the bench as Judge of the 152nd and 334th District Courts.  Justice Wise has studied Texas history since his youth and has a tremendous passion for the stories and values that built Texas.  Justice Wise enjoys reading and writing about Texas history and has published scholarly articles in several different journals.  He is a very popular speaker on various Texas history topics.  Justice Wise started Wise About Texas to preserve and promote Texas history.  You can reach Justice Wise at

Daughters of the Republic of Texas Blog

Was a Texan the First Man to Fly in an Airplane?

SEPTEMBER 30, 2009

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“These subscriptions I shall not ask as donations, but as shares, to be refunded together with a part of the proceeds of the sale of the patent right, or the sale of air-ships, as the case may be. I have put the price of one share at five dollars. Every shareholder will receive a certificate, securing to him a proportionate interest in the proceeds of the enterprise.”  Jacob Brodbeck in Galveston Tri-Weekly News on August 7, 1865

Porter Briggs, The Voice of the South

Jacob Brodbeck and the Texas Flying Machine

North Carolina’s license plates may read “First in Flight,” but it was in the fine state of Texas that man first rose above the ground to fulfill our everlasting dream of flight. It was in 1865—a whopping forty years before the infamous Wright brothers conquered gravity—that a schoolteacher by the name of Jacob Brodbeck took to the skies for the first time in human history.  FULL ARTICLE

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Explore Magazine, the real Kendell County

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Explore Magazine is based in Boerne, Texas in close proximity to Dr. Herff's farm where Jacob Brodbeck flew his first AirShip.  This article explores Jacob's flight and gives a short history of his life and adventures.  OCTOBER 31, 2013

Texas Folklore Society

The Texas Folklore Society produces an annual book with tales of Texas legends. In the 2017 volume, the author highlights Jacob Brodbeck and his early flying expeditions in the very first chapter of the book. Pages 3-11 chronicle Brodbeck's early days, the development of his AirShip and his flights in both Boerne and in Luckenbach. 

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Click on picture of the book to purchase a copy.

Vintage Texas Blog

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A Texas Wine, Food, Nature, Culture Blog, dedicated their May 24, 2009 feature to Jacob Brodbeck titled; Texan had “Wine-Powered” Flight before the Wright Brothers.  There is an emphasis that Jacob was an early wine maker in the Luckenbach area and used the funds to have money for his family and to further develop his AirShip. Read the article here.

Jacob as a winemaker does have validity as there is still a grape destemmer owned by a Brodbeck descendant that once belonged to Jacob.

Luckenbach, Texas website

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Long before Waylon and Willie and the boys sang in Luckenbach, Edward, Edwin and Hilmar helped to form the first singing club called Luckenbach Frohsinn Gesang Verein, literally, “Happy Singing Society”. Jacob is also noted as being a teacher, inventor and musician. Read all about Luckenbach's history and the parts that the Brodbeck family contributed HERE.

Jacob's Spring Grille

Located at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport in the Hyatt Hotel, is a restaurant dedicated to the Father of Aviation, Jacob Brodbeck. The cafe is named for him and the spring mechanism that drove his AirShip.  They have an artists conceptual drawing of his plans and a model of the Airship as they envision it, hanging from the ceiling. 

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Texas Less Traveled Website

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German-born Texas immigrant and Texas Hill Country school teacher/inventor JACOB BRODBECK makes his  first manned power flight some 40 years before the famous flight of  Orville and Wilbur Wright, about the time the brothers abandoned their diapers...full article

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