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 »


John J. Biesele

BIESELE, LEOPOLD (1827–1905). Leopold Biesele, German revolutionary who became a rural school teacher in Guadalupe County, was born in the grand duchy of Baden in 1827, perhaps in Bruchsal or possibly in Lörrach, near Basel. At the time of the democratic uprising in Baden in 1849, Lt. Biesele was stationed in Kehl. The soldiers of his company deposed their captain and elected Leopold in his stead. Insurgent forces were besieged in Fortress Rastatt by Prussian troops invited into Baden by Grand Duke Leopold to quell the revolt. After the rebels surrendered, court-martial proceedings were brought against insurgent officers. The military trial of Leopold Biesele for high treason resulted in his being turned over to the civil courts, which had him incarcerated. He escaped from the Bruchsal prison and was understood by his relatives to have swum the Rhine to France and freedom. Biesele was included, with rank of major, in a list of fugitive rebel officers published in 1855. He never let himself be photographed, possibly because he did not hear of the general amnesty of 1862.

He traveled to Texas in 1851 and settled on York Creek in Guadalupe County. On January 9, 1853, he married Babette Vogel, also from Baden; they had at least eleven children. Biesele helped to organize the Blum school, in which he taught from 1863 until 1876. Thereafter, he taught nearer his home until he retired from teaching in 1883. He deeded land to the York Creek Gesangverein and organized an orchestra made up of his relatives. His son Julius, father of Rudolph L. Biesele, played the violin. At a family reunion in 1899, Biesele presented a poem on his experiences as a revolutionary Forty-eighter, in the style of the poems of political satire common in nineteenth-century Germany. It was printed in the Neu Braunfelser Zeitung in 1906, about a year after his death in Guadalupe County on June 3, 1905.


Wolfgang Dressen, ed., 1884–1849: Bürgerkrieg in Baden: Chronik einer verlorenen Revolution (Berlin: Wagenbach, 1975). Guadalupe Gazette Bulletin, July 28, August 4, 1927. New Braunfels Zeitung, April 19, 1906.

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, John J. Biesele, "BIESELE, LEOPOLD," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbi03.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on December 6, 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...