Who was Prince Carl?
Born July 12, 1812 Carl was the youngest of eight children of the marriage of Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels with Princess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in Neustrelitz. By the early death of his father, he lived with his family in Braunfels. His mother, the younger sister of Queen Louise of Prussia, later married Duke Ernst August of Cumberland and so became Queen of Hannover. Thus Carl spent his childhood and youth more at that court.
The young prince very early was pushed into the military service and began his career aged 15 as an officer. The following years were filled with different regimental operations. He was K. u. K. Austro-Hungarian Field Marshal Lieutenant.
As in 1842 the “Verein zum Schutze deutscher Auswanderer nach Texas” (Association for the protection of german immigrants to Texas) was established by 21 nobles, Carl like his brother Alexander was founder member. He soon got the order to perceive as Commissioner General the interests of the so-called “Adelsverein” in America. In 1845, with approximately 300 German emigrates, he founded a small settlement in the north of San Antonio at the confluence of Comal and Guadeloupe river. It was an uninhabited area till then and following his German home he called the settlement “New Braunfels”. A few years later it was the fourth largest city in Texas.
He himself however returned to Germany in the same year and married Sophie Princess of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. The town founded by the Prinz is now one of the fastest growing cities in Texas. Today it has about 70 000 inhabitants. Still the German heritage plays an important role, and since more than 50 years the “German Wurstfest” attracts thousands of visitors to visit New Braunfels each year. The city still proudly calls itself “City of Prince” and worships Carl – also known as “Texas-Charly” – with huge murals and various settler monuments.
Carl has remained in Germany and spent his old age after completing the military service at his castle Rheingrafenstein near Koblenz. Together with his wife and daughter Sophia, who died at the age of 15, they have found their last resting-place nearby in Bad Kreuznach. Due to the outstanding merits of the prince the prominent monument designed by the sculptor Robert Cauer (the Elder) has recently been declared a cenotaph by the city of Bad Kreuznach.