Comfort is in western Kendall County on I-10, about 40 miles west of San Antonio. The town was laid out in 1854 on the ruins of an old Indian camp, though there had been settlers in the area since 1852. A cooperative community, Comfort resisted local government and didn’t have a church until 1892. For many years, Comfort Competed with Kerrville to become county seat of Kerr County, but lost out when Kendal county was organized in 1862, and the town was removed from Kerr County.
Thomas Ingenhuett arrived in Comfort, along with his parents, and brother Martin, in 1854. Peter, an older brother who had come to Texas two years earlier, joined the family, and they began farming. Peter later sold his farm to his brothers and moved into town where he opened several businesses, including a hotel, a saloon, and a livery stable. The Ingenhuett men were also charter members of the Comforter Liedertafel, a male singing group, or mannerchor.
During the Civil War, Comfort was the center of pro Union sentiment, and lost many young men at the Nueces Massacre. A monument to these dead, the Treue Der Union Monument, is the only monument dedicated to Union dead in the South. It one of only four places that are authorized to perpetually fly the flag at half staff.
In 1878, Thomas and Martin established a lager beer brewery on the banks of Cypress Creek. Martin died in 1881, leaving Thomas as the sole owner of the brewery. Ingenhuett beer was considered as good as Menger Hotel Beer.
The brewery disappears from the tax records in 1884, but A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas says that the brewery survived until 1887, when the railroad arrived in Comfort. Beer from the Menger Hotel, the Pearl brewery and the Lone Star brewery was being shipped ice-cold into town. Thomas could not afford to refrigerate his beer and the brewery closed and went back to farming.
Thomas and Anna, his wife, had four sons, Otto, Martin, Oscar and Charles. Anna died in 1885, and Thomas married the widow of his brother Martin, Marie. Peter’s store was run by Gregory Krauter, his great-grandson, until it burned in a heartbreaking fire in 2005.
Much of the Comfort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There is a fun beer related story that needs repeating. Some July 3rd after Thomas closed the brewery, the Goldbeck Brothers were going through town, and passed the train depot. They spotted a car carrying Menger beer for the July Fourth celebration sitting in the sun. Realizing that the beer would spoil, the Goldbecks rushed to the cannon used to call the citizens for an Indian attack, and fired a shot. The citizens of Comfort responded to the shot and were a bit upset when they learned there was no Indian attack. They quickly realized that the Goldbeck’s were right to be concerned about the fate of the beer, however. The town quickly decided to celebrate July 4th a day early to prevent spoiled beer.
Germans do have their priorities.
Labels: Beer History