THE TRUE STORY OF THE BARON DE BASTROP
Who was this mysterious man?
How did a man from South America, by way of Europe, make such an indelible impression on Texas?
Born in 1759 in Dutch Guiana (now Suriname), Philip Hendrik Nering Bögel (also known as Felipe Enrique Neri) grew up in Holland and became a soldier and tax collector. In 1795, he arrived in Spanish Louisiana and presented himself as the nobleman Baron de Bastrop. He was an empresario and colonist who lived in Nacogdoches and was later elected alcalde of San Antonio.
While there, he intervened for Moses Austin with Governor Antonio Martinez, who initially rejected Austin’s application for a new colony. The Baron assisted Stephen F. Austin with the venture and was also elected to the legislature of Coahuila and Texas in 1824. Although his true identity was not revealed until long after his death, the life of the Baron de Bastrop is remembered for his fateful influence in the future republic and state of Texas.
In the 1930s in his namesake city and county, the state placed a Centennial marker in his honor at Bastrop State Park (pictured) and a Centennial monument on the courthouse grounds. The inscription on that bronze plaque reads, “Let this name bring to mind the friend and advocate of the pioneer in a foreign land."
-- Written by the Texas Historical Commission
Stan Ginsel has researched the life of the Baron, from his youth to his death. He is working to dispel the false rumor the Baron was "a bit of a scoundrel."
Instead, the Baron was instrumental in Texas becoming Texas, and should be recognized for his valuable contribution to our state's history.
For more information about the Baron de Bastrop click here.
Mark of the Baron