In contrast to the situation in nineteenth-century Wisconsin, German settlers often found themselves directly involved in conflicts with Indians. The dominant Native group in Central Texas at the time, the Comanches, resisted white encroachment more vigorously than Indians in Wisconsin had, often leading raids against European-descended settlers. This speaker recounts her grandfather’s violent encounter with a Comanche brave. The similarity between Texas German and standard German is underscored by the fact that the interviewer used the latter language with his consultant, who understood him perfectly.
Dialect: Texas German, Texas German Dialects
Location: Central, Texas
Yes, and you said that your grandfather broke his knee.
No, they shot him in his knee.
Yes, the knee was shot up. They didn’t think that he would survive.
So he didn’t break it when he fell from the horse?
No, no, they shot him in his leg, in the knee, and then they shot him, and he fell, and his horse fell on him.
Was his horse dead?
Yes, his horse was dead. And he couldn’t get out from under the horse. And then afterward, when they found him, then they brought him home. And my uncle, my father’s brother, had the rifle that killed the Indian. And every time they killed an Indian, they would carve a mark in the rifle, they put a “V” in the stock.
Uh-huh, and how many Indians … how many “V”s were there …?
I don’t know how many were carved in there, but he [my grandfather] only killed one.