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Wilhelm Carl August Thielepape (July 10, 1814 – August 7, 1904), was an[1] architect, engineer, teacher, photographer, and lithographer. He was mayor of San Antonio, Texas, during part of the Reconstruction era, and later an attorney in Chicago, Illinois.

Wilhelm Carl August Thielepape
134th Mayor of San Antonio
In office
Preceded byJ. H. Lyons
Succeeded byS. G. Newton
Personal details
Born(1814-07-10)July 10, 1814
Wabern, Hesse, Germany
DiedAugust 7, 1904(1904-08-07) (aged 90)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Known for1867–1872 Mayor
San Antonio, Texas

Early yearsEdit

Wilhelm Thielepape was born July 10, 1814 in Wabern, Hesse, Germany,[2] to Werner Philipp and Elisabeth (Thompson) Thielepape. He married Mathilde Gössling in 1841.

After graduation from a gymnasium in Kassel, he attended various universities during the 1840s.


Arrival with Prince Carl of Solms-BraunfelsEdit

Thielepape arrived in Texas in 1844,[3] with the first Adelsverein colony accompanying Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels from Germany. After participating in a tour of the eastern and central United States in 1850, Thielepape settled in Carlshafen (Indianola), Texas,[4] as a surveyor.

Uvalde County and Comal CountyEdit

On May 2, 1855, Reading Wood Black hired Thielepape,[2] to plat and lay out Encina, the town later known as Uvalde, Texas.[5][6] For a short time, Thielepape lived in Comal County where he designed the 1860 courthouse.

San AntonioEdit

Thielepape moved to San Antonio in 1854.

On April 2, 1858, he was among the organizers of the San Antonio's German-English School.[7]

In 1857, Thielepape designed the San Antonio Casino Club on Market Street,[8] which opened in 1858. The club had its beginnings as a social gathering in 1854 in the home of Carl Hummel. When the club was chartered in 1857, its membership consisted of 106 German Texan men. The Market Street location hosted family entertainment, balls, social gatherings, music, activities, lectures and plays. Thielepape was a tenor who also founded the Beethoven Männerchor (men's choir)[9] on February 23, 1867,[10][11] to preserve German song, music, and language. He conducted the Beethoven Männerchor at the Casino.

Wilhelm Thielepape was among those who raised the Union flag[12] over the Alamo on July 21, 1865, and who also passed out wine and songbooks in celebration of the Union victory. The four-month delay between the end of the Civil War in April and this celebration is not long in light of the 2½ years between the Emancipation Proclamation and the news of it being delivered in Galveston.

Thielepape was appointed Reconstruction Mayor[13] of San Antonio on November 8, 1867. In his tenure as mayor, Thielepape's administration built bridges, laid macadam streets, and strengthened the public schools. On March 12, 1872, Thielepape was removed from office and succeeded by Francois P. Giraud, but he remained active in the community.

In April 1874, Thielepape turned the Beethoven Männerchor over to Andreas Scheidemantel.

Chicago and later yearsEdit

Thielepape then moved to Chicago to participate in the building boom that followed the Great Chicago Fire. By 1887, he was an attorney[14][15] with the Germania Life Insurance Company in Chicago. He died in Chicago on August 7, 1904.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Palmquist, Peter E; Kailbourn, Thomas R (2005). Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: A Biographical Dictionary, 1839–1865. Stanford University Press. pp. 12, 202, 272, 448, 580, 581. ISBN 978-0-8047-4057-9.
  2. ^ a b Albrecht, Theodore: Wilhelm Carl August Thielepape from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 6 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  3. ^ Carl, Prince of Solms-Braunfel (2000). Voyage to North America, 1844–45: Prince Carl of Solms' Texas Diary of People, Places, and Events. University of North Texas Press. pp. 110, 124. ISBN 978-1-57441-124-9.
  4. ^ Malsch, Brownson (1977). Indianola: The Mother of Western Texas. State House Press. pp. 42, 142. ISBN 978-1-880510-30-8.
  5. ^ "Uvalde, Texas". Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 5 June 2010. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  6. ^ "History of Uvalde, Texas". City of Uvalde, Tx. Retrieved 5 June 2010. City of Uvalde
  7. ^ Blanton, Carlos Kevin (2007). The Strange Career of Bilingual Education in Texas, 1836–1981. Texas A&M University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-58544-602-5.
  8. ^ "The Casino Club – San Antonio". German San Antonio. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  9. ^ German culture in Texas: A free earth : essays from the 1978 Southwest Symposium. Twayne Publishers. 1980. pp. 22, 123. ISBN 978-0-8057-8415-2.
  10. ^ "Beethoven Männerchor Constitution". Beethoven Männerchor. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  11. ^ "Beethoven Männerchor History of the Founding of the Organization". Beethoven Männerchor. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  12. ^ Kelley, Bruce; Snell, Mark A (2004). Bugle Resounding: Music and Musicians of the Civil War Era. University of Missouri. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8262-1538-3.
  13. ^ Berg-Sobré, Judith (2003). San Antonio on Parade: Six Historic Festivals. TAMU Press. pp. 41, 53, 113. ISBN 978-1-58544-222-5.
  14. ^ Annual Report by the Director of Insurance, Volume 20, Issue 2. Illinois. Dept. of Insurance. 1888. p. 14.
  15. ^ State of Illinois (2010). Reports to the General Assembly of Illinois, Volume 5. Nabu Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-148-54530-1.

External linksEdit