Wakefield Farms - A Bed and Breakfast/Vacation Rentals - Brenham, Texas, 77426, United States

Family History / Original Owners

This cottage can be architecturally characterized as a Texas saltbox; distinguished from a New England saltbox by the break in the back roof line. It was built sometime in the early 1850's. by William Zeiss, a German immigrant who came to America in 1852 (determined by the date on his "Reise Pass".) to escape the political turbulence of that time.

His Reisepass or travel pass was dated the 10th of September, 1852 in Ziegenhain, Hesse. First he traveled to Bremen where he boarded the ship "Anna Elise" with 91 other passengers including a much older cousin. After arriving in Galveston on the 18th of December, 1852 and going through the immigration station at Indianola (which later was blown away in a hurricane), he was in America, 19 years old and virtually alone.

Wilhelm was the youngest of eleven children born to Johann Lorentz Zeiss (1781-1856) and Anna Katharina Edliing (1789-1856), all born in Ziegenhain, Hesse where church records indicate that the family's ancestors have resided there since the year 1608.

William's family were told: Wilhem first ran a fruit wagon from Galveston to Brenham, Texas, about 125 miles, and was learning the baking trade in Houston from Mr. Schotz at Schotz Bakery until he opened his own bakery in 1856 in Brenham. Brenham, Washington County; was one of three areas being settled by many German immigrants as early as the 1830's. Brenham, New Braunfels and Fredericksberg are to this day still very much impacted with the influence of German history and culture.

All the while farming, William also made his mark as the first German merchant and baker in Brenham. And, it is believed that this Texas saltbox was the first bakery in Brenham, Texas. The place of the old flu from the bakery oven can still be seen in the cutout in the southwest ceiling corner of the current bath. Also, the old store window William sold his bread from is still in tact on the southeast wall of the bedroom. During the restoration of the house, it was speculated that due to the framing techniques used, the back two rooms were, originally a porch on the back of the two room dwelling as the vertical 2" X 4"'s did not go all the way up to the roof. Thus, the porch, most likely, was dried in to accommodate the bakery and its oven.

In the 1890's time frame, an addition to the cottage was constructed. The addition amounted to a new entry and living room/dining room extension. The two front rooms of the cottage were converted to bedrooms (today's parlor and bedroom) and the back two rooms were used as kitchen and bath (today's bath and utility). This addition was demolished in the 2000 restoration and the century old building materials were saved to restore the original dwelling with vintage material.

The property was passed on to William and Anna G. (Herring) Zeiss' son, William Nicolaus Zeiss in 1926. Then in 1945, William Nicolaus passed the property on to his son, William Henry Zeiss. The last Zeiss relative to reside in the cottage was Selma Zeiss Wymola who occupied the cottage in the early 1930's. Thereafter, the family used the cottage as rental property. By early 2000, the rental property exhibited lowered ceilings, sheet paneling and carpeting; virtually creating a dwelling within the dwelling. The cottage suffered a fire in early 2000 and this interior material was destroyed. Miraculously, the original dwelling sustained minimal damage that was reversed in the restoration. The cottage was purchased in 2000 from Owen Zeiss and Barbara (Zeiss) Kuecker (children of William Henry) after almost 150 years in the Zeiss family!

"William Zeiss Celebrates His 94th Birthday

William Zeiss, Sr., one of Brenham's oldest and most highly-esteemed citizens, has reached the great age of 95 (sic) years and is probably the oldest resident of Washington county. His birthday falls on September 9th, but the celebration was held Sunday, in order that relatives from a distance might join in the festivities.

This venerable gentleman was born in Zeinenhahn, near Kassel, Germany, and spent his boyhood there, learning the tailor's trade. In December, 1852, he emigrated to America, the land of promise, landing at Galveston, from where he went to Houston, remaining there two and a half years. On June 19, 1855, he came to Brenham, then a straggling little village, and grew up with the town, watching it develop into one of the best little cities in the state. For seventy-two years, far longer than the average life-time, he had made his home in Brenham and is known and esteemed by numerous warm friends who will offer congratulations on his birthday.

Mr. Zeiss was married on February 3, 1857, and had three children , one of whom died in infancy. His wife passed away about fifteen (sic) years ago. His two sons, Henry Zeiss and William (sic) Zeiss, Jr., celebrated his birthday with him, as did three grand-children, and four great grand-children, besides other relatives, who enjoyed a pleasant family gathering.

A mammoth birthday cake, on which gleamed 95 candles, was the central feature of the table laden for the birthday spread, given in honor of this aged citizen who was one of the builders of Brenham, and who delights to talk about the old days when he was one of the town's energetic young citizens. For many years he conducted a bakery most successfully where the Ruetz Bakery now stands, but long since retired from active business (sic) life because of advancing years.

Mr. Zeiss was the recipient of many handsome birthday gifts, and he spent a very happy day with his family. Among the presents was one from Mrs. Josie Flood of Monticello, Arkansas, a dear friend who was here for the birthday celebration."

In the 1890's time frame, an addition to the cottage was constructed. The addition amounted to a new entry and living room/dining room extension. The two front rooms of the cottage were converted to bedrooms (today's parlor and bedroom) and the back two rooms were used as kitchen and bath (today's bath and utility). This addition was demolished in the 2000 restoration and the century old building materials were saved to restore the original dwelling with vintage material.

The property was passed on to William and Anna G. (Herring) Zeiss' son, William Nicolaus Zeiss in 1926. Then in 1945, William Nicolaus passed the property on to his son, William Henry Zeiss. The last Zeiss relative to reside in the cottage was Selma Zeiss Wymola who occupied the cottage in the early 1930's. Thereafter, the family used the cottage as rental property. By early 2000, the rental property exhibited lowered ceilings, sheet paneling and carpeting; virtually creating a dwelling within the dwelling. The cottage suffered a fire in early 2000 and this interior material was destroyed. Miraculously, the original dwelling sustained minimal damage that was reversed in the restoration. The cottage was purchased in 2000 from Owen Zeiss and Barbara (Zeiss) Kuecker (children of William Henry) after almost 150 years in the Zeiss family!

Wakefield Farms - A Bed and Breakfast/Vacation Rentals
601 Pulawski School Lane, P.O. Box 533
Brenham, Texas, 77426, United States
Call: 979-251-1459

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A Historic Bed and Breakfast/Vacation Rentals on a Working Ranch!

ALL OUR BEDS ARE KINGS AND ALL OUR BATHS HAVE JACUZZI TUBS! OUR PRICING AND OUR AMENITIES SURPASS ALL OTHERS IN THE AREA! CHECK AND COMPARE! OUR PRIVATE COTTAGE HAS A NEW INTERIOR DECOR REFRESH. A Real, Working Ranch on 60 Acres of Privacy, 3 Private Cottages and a Pool! Visit our Historic dwellings & modern swimming pool (just a stones throw away from the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham & around the corner from the Bluebonnet Festival in Chappell Hill) and we'll tuck you in luxurious Restonic bedding with Ralph Lauren linens! At Wakefield Farms, our private cottages have been restored to give you the very best of private farmhouses with modern amenities. Bring your husband or boyfriend. They will love our decor and will have a remote to Satellite TV in their hand! If it's hot, our pool makes the heat disappear. And, when you've had a long day walking around the Brenham Downtown Square or Round Top Antiques Festival, you can relax back at Wakefield Farms in our jacuzzi tubs regardless of the weather. Our doors are always open at Wakefield Farms bed and breakfast! We'll put on our Sunday best and a pot of coffee for you!