Lifestyle

Odd Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Doss, Texas

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Doss, Texas is situated on Mormon Creek where FM 783 meets FM 648, 19 miles northwest of Fredericksburg in Gillespie County. Since Doss is an unincorporated farming and ranching community, census data is estimated and gives an approximate population of 225.

1. Doss boasts the state’s smallest school district.

Children at school

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Started in 1884, Doss School is one of the few remaining rural school systems in the state of Texas. A limestone schoolhouse replaced the initial 1894 frame structure in 1905 and the addition built in 1927 is still in use today. Doss Elementary School operates within the Doss Consolidated Common School District with a full-time staff of five—two teachers, two aides, and an administrative clerk. The 2015-2016 school year ended with nine students. Although this is the smallest class Doss Elementary has seen in several years, community members were eager to keep the doors open and held a meeting to discuss the current situation. Following the meeting, district trustees made a unanimous decision to begin the 2016-2017 school year in August, its 133rd consecutive year. As it currently stands, Doss Elementary is expecting enrollment this fall to total six.

2. Doss started as a gristmill and distillery.

Lange's Mill

Photo: www.texasalmanac.com

Brothers Thomas C. and John E. Doss founded the town in 1849, building a gristmill and distillery on Threadgill Creek. Later they added a dam and sawmill. August Steiness bought the mill from the brothers in 1864, dismantling the distillery and expanding the gristmill. Following Steiness’s death two years later, his widow sold the operations to William F. Lange, a German immigrant. The mill came to be known as Lange’s Mill and was operated by members of the Lange family from 1859 to 1888. Lange’s Mill has been greatly cared for by the community over the years and in almost perfect preservation is one of the last old burr mills in Texas.

3. Doss founding family has ties to Herman Lehmann and Quanah Parker.

Herman Lehmann

Photo: www.joeherringjr.blogspot.com

When flooding destroyed the dam at Lange’s Mill, William Lange employed stonemason Philip Buchmeyer to rebuild it from 1872 to 1875. Buchmeyer was married to Augusta Johanna Adams Lehmann, the widow of Ernst Moritz Lehmann and mother of Herman and William F. Lehmann. In 1870, Herman, then ten, and Willie, eight were captured by a raiding party of Apaches. Four days later, cavalrymen returned Willie to his family, but were unable to rescue Herman who remained with the Apache and later the Comanche until 1878. Herman lived with Quanah Parker’s family as his adopted son from 1877-1878 until U.S. soldiers brought him home.

4. Doss was the site of a reenactment of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Hilltop flagraising

Photo: www.warbirdinformationexchange.org

On February 19, 2005, a large scale reenactment of the Battle for Mount Suribachi and the Two Flag Raisings took place on the Welge Ranch in Doss, Texas. Several hundred military volunteers participated in the event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the battle and honoring the heroes of the day. The Admiral Nimitz Foundation and the National Museum of the Pacific War sponsored the experience, which also included a morning parade down Main Street in nearby Fredericksburg. The procession featured Iwo Jima veterans, other military veterans, active duty military, and dozens of WWII vehicles.

5. Doss was not always Doss.

Doss Post Office

Photo: www.rshannagallery.com

Although the community originated when the Doss brothers began operating their mill in 1849, the small town did not acquire a United States post office until 1898 when William F. Lange opened one in his general store. Before that, community members had used a room added on to the house of August Steiness as their mail delivery station. When William Lange opened his post office the name was naturally Lange, but in 1907, the post office moved to what is now the Doss town site and renamed Doss.