Ferdinand Hagedorn was the third child of Carl and Marie Louise Hagedorn. He was born on September 23, 1833 in Hannover, Germany. Ferdinand sailed on the Neptune to America, along with his older sister and brother in law Anna Marie and Victor Witte, and their children Marie Lissette and baby Helene. They left Bremen, Germany in late April and arrived in Galveston on June 13, 1850. The passenger list shows his age as 12 but he was actually 17. According to oral family history, photographs, and written descriptions, the Hagedorns were all very thin and short in stature. This may have given the impression that Ferdinand was much younger than he really was. It is also possible that since records at that time were handwritten, the number “7” was simply incorrectly recorded as a “2.”
Ferdinand travelled to Austin county with his sister and her family. He remained living with them, and the 1850 census lists him as a farm laborer. Ferdinand’s parents arrived in Texas later in 1853 and lived in Washington County, adjacent to Austin County. Although we do not know how or specifically when Ferdinand died, we do know that it occurred prior to 1860, as he does not appear on the census. His father donated land for what would later become the Jaeger Witte Cemetery, and it is believed that Ferdinand is either the first or second individual to be buried there.
Ferdinand’s life was cut short. One wonders what his life might have been like if he had been granted more years. We will never know, but we can imagine he arrived in Texas filled with the hope of the possibilities he might find but were not to be.
1850 census, taken October 15, 1850
The grave shown below is believed to belong to Ferdinand. It is included in a group of three graves all with a single headstone reading “Hagedorn.” It is believed that the other two graves, which are closer to one another, are that of his parents.