During their first years in Fredericksburg, the German settlers suffered terribly from poverty, hunger and disease. Fort Martin Scott proved to be the economic boon early Fredericksburg desperately needed. Local teamsters hauled wagonloads of freight from San Antonio to the fort. Skilled carpenters and stone masons constructed the fort's buildings. Local hunters sold meat to supplement the hungry soldiers' boring diet. Soon, Fredericksburg was growing and prosperous.
Relations between the townspeople and the soldiers were sometimes strained. On July 1, 1850, a drunken private, John Dohal, was in John Hunter's store in town demanding whiskey. Hunter refused to serve him and when the private used abusive language, Hunter stabbed the soldier, killing him on the premises. The next day, angry troops bent on revenge came to town and burned Hunter's store to the ground, pushing the townspeople back at gunpoint when they tried to intervene. Hunter was the county clerk at the time and, unfortunately, all of the records from Fredericksburg's first four years were lost in the fire.