A year ago, I alluded to a book, Charcoal and Charcoal Burners, published in 1950, by Fritz and Emilie Toepperwein of Boerne. From around 1870 until 1919, the name Charcoal City was given to a region of land in the Guadalupe River Valley that extended from Sisterdale (Kendall Co.) on the north to just above New Braunfels (Comal Co.) on the south. Because they found little written reference to these people, the Toepperwiens took to the road collecting oral histories that they used to document charcoal burner families, their personal stories and the locations of the “towns” which made up Charcoal City.
The first settlers in this heavily-forested, water-rich area were German immigrants. By the 1850s, they had established small farms by clearing the land of trees and stones to give them fields and pasture land. They used the cedar trees for fence posts and to burn charcoal.