While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


S. W. Pease
John (Johann) Conrad Beckmann
Photograph, Portrait of John (Johann) Conrad Beckmann. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

BECKMANN, JOHN CONRAD (1815–1907). John (Johann) Conrad Beckmann, ironwork craftsman, was born on June 13, 1815, in Rülle, near Osnabrück, Westphalia, the son of Johann Heinrich and Katarina Maria (Kohmöller) Beckmann. He immigrated to New York in 1839 and traveled to Baltimore and Cincinnati. He then returned to Zurich, Switzerland, and brought his betrothed, Regina Mueller, to New York, where they were married in 1841. His brothers Joe and Bernhart were already in New York.

John Conrad Beckmann's San Antonio home
Photograph, John Conrad Beckmann's San Antonio home at 116 Casino Street. Image courtesy of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Beckmann had been trained in Zurich as a locksmith, as a woodworking craftsman, and as a blacksmith. He moved to San Antonio, Texas, in 1846. Later he was employed by the United States government to set up three forges in the Alamo for blacksmith work for the army and for the renovation of the Alamo. His first home, built in 1849, was behind the Alamo on Crockett Street. Later he built a home and blacksmith shop on the southwest corner of Commerce and Casino streets. With the urging of Dr. Ferdinand Herff, Beckmann fashioned hand-wrought iron bedsteads for his German friends.

Grave of John Conrad Beckmann
Photograph, Grave of John Conrad Beckmann in San Antonio. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

He was a charter member of Alamo Masonic Lodge Number 44. As a founder of the German-English School, he took part in the cornerstone laying in 1859, the hundredth anniversary of the birth of German poet Friedrich Schiller. Beckmann was a founder and charter member of early San Antonio German organizations: the Casino Club, the Turnverein (see TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT), the Krankenkassenverein (hospitalization insurance association), Arbeiter Verein (workers association), the Beethoven Männerchor, and the Teutonia Mixed Chorus (see GERMAN MUSIC). Beckmann died on April 12, 1907, in San Antonio and was buried in the Alamo Masonic Cemetery. He was survived by one son, although the Beckmanns had been the parents of seven children; several died in a cholera epidemic. Beckmann's portrait, painted by artist Edward Grenet in the early 1880s, is said to have encouraged the young artist in his career as a portrait painter.


Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). San Antonio Express, April 13, 1907. San Antonio Light, April 1, 1973. A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, S. W. Pease, "BECKMANN, JOHN CONRAD," accessed August 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbe16.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on November 16, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...