The Dessau community was settled in the 1850’s by German immigrants. The names of some of the early settlers were Martin Wieland and his two brothers, Fritz and Albert, and sister Hermine, Gustav Grosskopf, Fritz Krueger, Andrew Krueger, Willie Hennig, Carl Nauert, Christian Nehring, Frederick Goerlitz, and Mr. Schwartzkopf. They named the community after the German Duchy Anhalt-Dessau where Martin Wieland grew up. Dessau was founded in 1854 and is twelve miles north of Austin, Texas.
Soon after their arrival, these families began to conduct prayer meetings and bible studies in their homes. They alternated between homes until the early 1870's when they formed a Lutheran congregation and built the church that is still standing today. In 1874, eight acres of land were purchased from Christian Nehring for ten dollars. The church and the parsonage were built in 1876. The construction of the building was made possible by the labor and materials furnished by the members of the congregation and other settlers in the community. The construction was supervised by one of the early settlers, Fritz Krueger. In 1877, two more acres were added to expand the cemetery and to build a school house. The first burials were in 1874. Church services were conducted in German until 1940. After 118 years the congregation disbanded in 1994.
The original church building faces east and is at the top of a hill. The Dessau Lutheran Cemetery is directly in front of the church. Many of the early settlers and their descendants are buried in the cemetery which has over 200 graves.
The Dessau Lutheran Cemetery has been designated as a “Historic Texas Cemetery” (2009).
The Lutheran Church of Dessau has been recognized by the “Texas Historical Commission” with a historical marker (1984).
Here's a brief history of the Dessau Cemetery and Evangelical Lutheran Church Association:
1874 - Eight (8) acres were purchased from Christian Nehring for the church and parsonage for $10.
1877 - Two more acres were added for a cemetery and school house.
1973 - Rev. Donald Luckemeyer performed last service as a American Lutheran Church (ALC) congregation.
1984 - Historical Marker Dedication - Dessau Lutheran Church
1987 - ALC Mission Church established.
1988 - ALC Joins other Lutheran churches to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
1994 - ELCA Mission Church closed its doors and church property deeded to ELCA Southwestern Texas (SWT) Synod.
1995 - Cornerstone Baptist Church leased church and property.
2000 May - SWT Synod votes to sell "The Dessau Lutheran Church Site".
2000 June, 10 - Dessau Cemetery Association meets with Dr. Wahlberg.
2000 June, 16 - Written Record of position of SWT Synod sent to Charles Mueller, President of Dessau Cemetery Association (DCA).
2000 June, 20 - DCA and Ad Hoc Committee meet to discuss and plan
how to get its message to Bishop Bennett and the Synod Council members.
2000 July, 5 - Letter from Bishop Bennett responding to concern of letters he had received.
2000 July, 24 - Meeting at Gethsemane Lutheran with Bishop Bennett and Dr. Wahlberg.
Dessau Lutheran Cemetery Association