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 »


Martin Donell Kohout
Logo for Adelsverein
The logo for the Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, otherwise known as Adelsverein. Image available on the Internet. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Grave of Wilhelm Victor Keidel
Photograph, Grave of Wilhelm Victor Keidel in Fredericksburg. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

KEIDEL, WILHELM VICTOR (1825–1870). Wilhelm Victor Keidel, the first doctor and county judge in Gillespie County, founder of the town of Pedernales, and son of Dr. Georg Keidel, was born in Hildesheim, Hanover, in March 1825. He attended Georg Augusts Universität in Göttingen from 1841 to 1845 and sailed from Bremen on the brig Margarethe on September 1, 1845. He arrived in Galveston on December 1 of that year and enlisted in the United States Army for six months during the Mexican War, before moving to Fredericksburg. Keidel was Gillespie County's first doctor, presumably employed by the Adelsverein, and the first county judge, elected in 1848. He left Fredericksburg to found a settlement on the Pedernales River and offered to treat without charge any who accompanied him there. By 1850 the settlement, named Pedernales, had forty-four residents of German descent. Keidel continued as the unofficial leader of the community. On September 11, 1854, he hosted a meeting to plan Live Oak School, of which he became a trustee; he also founded the Society for Good Fellowship and Promotion of General Information, a political and cultural club. In 1854 he was elected vice president of a statewide organization of German societies at a meeting in San Antonio. He planted hackberry trees along local roads to beautify the community and, as a doctor, treated both whites and Indians; the latter paid by hanging fresh venison or turkeys in nearby trees. Keidel's first wife, Albertina (Kramer), died on July 1, 1852, at the birth of their son Albert. Keidel married his second wife, Caroline Kott, in 1856; nine years later, due to her poor health, the family moved back to Fredericksburg, but she died in August 1865 of a fever after the birth of their son Herman. Keidel refused to take sides in the Civil War and treated both Unionists and Confederates. He died of typhus pneumonia on January 9, 1870.


Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974).

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, Martin Donell Kohout, "KEIDEL, WILHELM VICTOR," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fke05.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 20, 2016. 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...