who was Elizabeth Beitel?


Elizabeth Armhurst was born in Baden-Baden Germany in 1813. She became engaged to Joseph Beitel. Joseph went to America. In 1830 Elizabeth joined Joseph in Philadelphia. She married Joseph and had three children. In 1838 they headed towards Texas. They journeyed by oxcart, then by schooner, The Mason, to Galveston and then by steamboat to Houston where Joseph established a bakery.

In 1840 they moved to Bastrop and helped build a stockade on the banks of the Colorado River for protection. They eventually moved to northeast San Antonio. They were blessed with seven more children since leaving Philadelphia.  They established the Beitel ranch and raised cattle and moved them up the Chisholm Trail.

Joseph fought off Comanches in the aftermath of the Council House Fight of 1840 and took part in the Battle of Salado in 1842.  In 1856, Joseph was elected Bexar County Commissioner. The ranching was interrupted by the Civil War. Joseph and four sons served the Confederate Army leaving 14 year old Albert to care for the mother and sisters and care for the ranch.

After the War, the cattle drives dried up and the Beitels opened a lumber yard. Wagonloads of lumber would be shipped from Florida to San Antonio.  Beitel Lumber Company was instrumental in bringing the Southern Pacific Railroad to San Antonio in 1876.

Joseph passed away in 1898 leaving his sons to manage the various lumberyards. On May 13, 1903 Elizabeth Armhurst Beitel deeded a tract of land (six acres) to Pastor Gohdes, trustee of the Evangelic Lutheran Mission at Lookout, Texas, in consideration for the sum of one dollar. The deed stated, "Said tract of land is to be used for the purpose of building a church and to be named Elizabeth Beitel Memorial Church and is to be used within the next ten years."

Sadly, less than two months before the organization of Beitel Lutheran Church, Elizabeth died on November 28, 1903. She and Joseph and other family members are buried in City Cemetery No. 1, San Antonio, Texas.