Thursday, November 03, 2011, AUSTIN In a celebration of agriculture and family heritage, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today honored 119 farms and ranches spanning 74 Texas counties at the 36th Annual Family Land Heritage (FLH) ceremony. The ceremony, which was held in the House Chamber at the Texas State Capitol, recognized families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for 100 years or more.


Following are the Austin County Honorees:



Austin County, nine miles west of Sealy on FM 1094

Founded: in: 1869

Founder: Ludwig Louis Eckelberg

Current Owners: Eckelberg Estate, Gary Eckelberg, Thomas J. Eckelberg, Chad Eckelberg


The history of the Eckelberg Ranch began on Nov. 7, 1859 as Ludwig Eckelberg, traveling from Bremen, Germany, arrived in the port of New York.  It was in Texas where he settled in the small community now known as Cat Spring.  Ludwig and hsi wife, Louise, raised their children, Thomas and Antoinette, in this small farming community.  They grew crops and according to legend, traded horsese to confederate soldiers.


Thomas married Hattie Hartmaann an raised their children Waco and Ivy, on the farm.  Ludwig's grandson, Waco, married Gracie Sisa and had two sons: Gary and Thomas Joseph.  Waco's family continued living on the ranch until 1951 when they moved to Sealy.  He continued the family tradition of raising cattle on the ranch until his death in 1994.


Gary and Thomas Joseph moved to the farm in 1977 with their families.  Great-great-grandson Chad moved to the farm in 2011.  Together the Eckelberts continue to carry on the family tradition.


Acres in Original Parcel: 257

Crops or livestock Raised: 1869 --cattle, corn, cotton, horses; 2011 -- cattle, horses.

As told by Gary and Thomas Joseph Eckelberg, great-grandsons of the founder.

Family Land Heritage 100 year honoree



J & J Ranch

Austin County, Seven miles west of Sealy Between  Hillboldt Road and FM 2187

Founder in: 1888

Founder: Fritz Doernbrack

Current Owners: Luella Hillboldt and Janis Class


Luella Doernbrack Hillboldt was born on the property.  When she was a little girl she rode a hors to school about four miles from home.   Growing up on the farm, she hd tto pick cotton, milk cows, cut tops off the corn then pull the corn by hand.  She also had to help her mother with cooking, canning and cleaning.  Most everthing had to be done by hand a there was no elecctricity.


Hillboldt is 91 years-old and lives alone in the house that she and her husband bought when they got maried in January 1938.  Her daughter and son-in-law have lived on the property since May 1973.  They raise cattle and kieep up the fences and all other things that need to be done on the place.


Acres in original parcel: 200

Crops or livestock raised: 1888 - cattle, chickens, corn, cotton, hay, hogs and peanuts; 2011 - Cattle.


As told by Luella Doernbrack Hillboldt, great granddaughter of the founder.

(She died 23 Dec. 2010.)


Family Land Heritage 100 year honoree




Austin County, Seven miles from Bellville off FM 529

Founded in: 1905

Founder: Fritz Lamp

Current Owners: Arlene (Lamp) Cloyd and Alan W. Cloyd


In 1870, Fritz Lamp arried in Texas from Germany.  In 1888, he married Anna and they raised 10 children.  In 1905, he acquired 115 acres from Carl Wollgast Estate.  He raised corn and hay for his cattle and pigs.  In 1924 their son, Ben, married Ella and made their home on the property.  In 1940, they became the owners of 56 acres after the death of Fritz Lamp.  In 1954, they bought 59 acres from the Richard Lamp Estate and continued with farm life.


In 1978-79, the property was handed down to Arlene Lamp Cloyd, her parents and her brothers.  In 2003, Cloyd folloed her father's dream and built a home next to the farmhouse.  The farmhouse has seen the history of the Lamp family continue with Cloyd's daughter residing in the home.  They raise cattle and hay, and are members of the Cattlemmen's Association.


Acres in original parcel: 115

Crops of livestock raised: 1905 - cattle, ccorn, hay and hogs; 2011 -cattle and hay.


As told by Arlene Lamp Cloyd, great-granddaughter of the founder.






Austin County, 13 miles west of Bellville on US Hwy 159 and FM 2754

Founded in: 1909

Founder: Frank Sisa

Current Owners: B. W. Sisa and Carrie Jo Kollman


Frantisek (Frank) Sisa was born in 1865 in Zadverice, Moravia.  He came to America in 1883 and married Rozalie Pomykal in 1884.  They had seven children.  During his life, he purchased several farms, including 57 1/2 acres from Frank and Mary Polcak in 1909.  After the death of Frank in 1925 and his wife in 1929 the land was deeded to his son, Joe.


Joe was married to Albina Janosky in 1915 and they had 10 children.  After the death of Joe and Albina, their son, Joseph Bohden Sisa, purchased the remaining 51 acres from his brothers and sisters in 1968.  J. B. Sisa and wife, Orrilie Chaloupka Sisa, gift-deeded 11 acres to their son, Billie Wayne Sisa and his wife, Sandra Bennett Sisa.  In 1994, the remaining 49 acres was also deeded to the son and wife.


The 1880s German-style house that was originally part of the farm was moved in 1997 to Texas Ranch Life outside of Bellville.  It is part of the working ranch's western-style bed and breakfast.


Acres in Original Parcel: 57.5

Crops or Livestock raised: 1909 - Cattle, Corn, Cotton and Hay; 2011 - Cattle, Hay and Horses.

As told by B. W. Sisa, great-grandson of the founder.




TXGenWeb  Project



USGenWeb  Project 

USGenWeb Archives

WorldGenWeb Project

WGW  Archives

We are the Austin Co. Texas Coordinators for the TXGenWeb Project, a part of the USGenWeb Project. If you have any comments about, or suggestions for this page, please contact us.  

Thank you for your  nominations for
County of the Month

 Maintained by Jane Keppler

Copyright Feb 2003 Jane Keppler