By Mollie LaSalle
WOODVILLE – The Pickett House played host to German author Barbara Ortwein on the evening of Friday, Nov. 18.
Ortwein gave a lively and fun-filled lecture on her three historical novels about the German immigration to Texas in the 1840’s.
In her three historical novels, Ortwein tells the story of the Engelbach family and their compatriots on their journey from Germany to Texas. Her first book, “Between Worlds, Never to Return spans the years 1844-1847; her second book, “Deep in The Heart Of Texas But Not Yet At Home, spans the years 1847-1865, and her third book, “At Journey’s End: Texans Forever!” spans the years 1865-1898.
Ortwein, born in Lippstadt, spent 40 years as a teacher of German and music in Winterberg, Germany, before retiring and moving to Prague in the Czech Republic.
Ortwein’s main characters, Johann and Karl Engelbach are fictional, but they interact with real immigrants in the Texas timeline of her books, as they participate in the historic emigration and settlement in Texas during the time period. During her research, she was “amazed there were so many Germans who immigrated to Texas, there was land, land and more land at ridiculously low prices.”
Ortwein entertained the audience, reading passages form her books, and sang songs in German and English, including “Down By The Brazos,” “Yellow Rose of Texas” and “Deep In The Heart of Texas.”
She also offered up a few songs in German including “Trink, Trink, Bruederlein, Trink (Drink, Drink, Come Brother, Drink)”, “Hoch Solln Sie Leben (Here’s To Our Host)” and “Ein Prosit Der Gemuetlicheit (A Toast Now)”.