New Braunfels Schuetzen Verein

New Braunfels Schuetzen VereinThe New Braunfels Schuetzen Verein ( NB Marksman or Shooting Club) is thought to be the nation's oldest shooting club in continuous existence. Organized July 4, 1849, just four years after the city of New Braunfels in 1845. It is probable that shares were sold to the immigrants by the Adelsverein in Germany before their departure to America because target shooting was a tradition in their homeland. Due to the necessity of establishing homes, businesses and community, the luxury of shooting as a form of entertainment was put on hold, however, realizing that proficiency in shooting was necessary for providing food and protection on a still wild frontier, members began to gather for practice and eventually to formally organize. Even though during the civil war and WW I when ammunition was very scarce, three to four members gathered to hold the annual king match, sometimes firing only one shot each to maintain status of the organization.

Although records from early years have not been located, first mention of NBSV (New Braunfels Schuetzen Verein) in the local newspaper was May 27, 1870 announcing participation in the 25th anniversary of New Braunfels. In 1892, Capt. Ernst Dosch, in a letter to the editor, thanked the NB Schuetzen Verein for their greetings for his 70th birthday, being the only survivor of the original fourteen charter members, to be able to shoot again with them. In additional to Dosch, three other original members, Herman Seele, Ed. Kreiger & Wilhelm Seekatz, were present for the 50th anniversary when the Turnverein, Mennachor and Schuetzen Verein provided entertainment for all at the big "Schuetzenfest". After meeting arriving competitors at the IGN Railroad station, they paraded with their banners to the plaza for speeches and reading of the Declaration of Independence. There remains no doubt, therefore that July 4, 1849 was the date of organization, as these four men as well as the editor of the local newspaper would not have taken part in the perpetuation of such claims were it not based on fact.

As the city of New Braunfels grew, the Schuetzen Verein moved several times to avoid residential areas. The club moved in the years prior to World War I and then again when New Braunfels doubled in size in the years after World War II. It was also during this time that the Mission Valley Schuetzen Verein merged with New Braunfels' club.

In the following decades, New Braunfels continued to grow, especially as it became part of an extended metropolitan area. With the city's continued expansion, the shooting club relocated again.

The Schuetzen Verein's most important event is the Koenig (King) matches held annually since before the Civil War. An important tradition in the community, members continued it even through the ammunition shortages of the Civil War and World War I, sometimes firing only once each to maintain status of the organization.

After more than 150 years of existence, the New Braunfels Schuetzen Verein continues to meet, serving as a reminder of the town's German heritage and historic past. (2006)

Marker Location: 391 Range Road

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Comal County Historical Commission