top of page


                                        MATHILDE BRODBECK NEUMANN


    Mathilde Brodbeck was the first of six daughters born to Jacob and Christine Brodbeck. Jacob and Christine came to have twelve children together.  Mathilde arrived towards the end of the American Civil War on June 5, 1865. Jacob Brodbeck had relocated the family to San Antonio after taking a teaching position at the German-English School. In addition to academics, he taught music. His descendants still possess many leaves of sheet music which he had meticulously copied by hand. Jacob composed music as well.

     Dr. Ferdinand Herff had recently assisted with the opening of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio's first hospital. Dr. Herff was a close associate and friend of Jacob. He proved to be a loyal supporter and advocate for Jacob's Airship development. Dr. Herff delivered Mathilde at the Brodbeck home on Flores Street. Jacob and Christine honored their friend by naming this daughter after the doctor's wife, the former Mathilde Klingelhoeffer.

        In September of 1865, Jacob flew his Airship for a gathering of potential financiers at Dr. Herff's farm near Boerne, Texas. The craft took off to the amazement of the crowd, however, experienced a mechanical failure resulting in a sudden crash. Though Jacob was not severely injured, the performance was a huge disappointment to the onlookers. Jacob Brodbeck collected the remains of his Airship and returned with his family of six to the homestead farm in Luckenbach, Texas.

     Mathilde attended school at Luckenbach along with her brothers and sisters. She became acquainted with a young man in nearby Meusebach Creek, Texas, by the name of Frederick Neumann. Fritz, as he was commonly called, proposed marriage. Mathilde and Fritz were married in 1887. The newlyweds lived in the Meusebach Creek for a number of years.

        The couple welcomed their first child, a son, Arthur Reinhold Neumann, in May of 1889. Arthur was the second grandchild of Jacob and Christine Brodbeck. Mathilde's oldest brother, Henry Brodbeck, had a daughter, Meta, born in 1888. Fritz and Mathilde had another son, Felix in 1892, then Erwin in 1899. The Neumanns moved to the Rocky Creek Community and completed the family with Edgar in 1904. Mathilde passed away in 1925, about a year before her mother, Christine. Fritz then moved to the Cypress Mill Community to be near his oldest son, and died there in 1937.

       All of the Neumann sons had the opportunity to meet their grandparents, Jacob and Christine Brodbeck, for many times over the years the Brodbecks welcomed the children and their families to the old Brodbeck homestead. Arthur Neumann was especially proud of his Opa and Oma, and would relate stories of the Airship as well as the tough times they endured. Arthur's daughters, Olivia Bertha, Hilda Mathilde and Elnora Alma cherished these stories and retold them to their families. Elnora Neumann Kneese made a written record of these accounts and painted a picture of the Airship.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Reta Killingsworth 2021

Mathilde & Fritz Neumann Family c. 1903
Top - Copy.jpg
bottom of page