THIELEPAPE, WILHELM CARL AUGUST
THIELEPAPE, WILHELM CARL AUGUST (1814–1904). August Thielepape, engineer, musician, and mayor of San Antonio, son of Werner Philipp and Elisabeth (Thompson) Thielepape, was born in Wabern, Hesse, Germany, on July 10, 1814. He graduated from a Gymnasium in Kassel, attended the university in either Göttingen or Bonn, and during the 1840s was active as an engineer at Berlin, Bielefeld, and Schwelm. Among his earliest Lieder are songs dedicated to Mathilde Gössling, whom he married in 1841.
In 1850 Thielepape settled in Indianola, Texas, where he established himself as a surveyor; he moved to San Antonio in 1854. He sang tenor in the Männergesang-Verein (men's singing society) and soon became its assistant conductor. His professional activities included architecture, engineering, teaching, photography, and lithography, the last with abolitionist newspaper editor Adolph Douai. In 1855 Thielepape surveyed the townsite of Uvalde. In 1857 he designed the San Antonio Casino, a 400-seat auditorium and social center (see CASINO CLUB), and possibly helped plan the Menger Hotel. On April 2, 1858, he was among the organizers of the city's German-English School. He moved to New Braunfels in 1859 to design the Comal County Courthouse. Like many Union sympathizers of German origin, Thielepape probably spent part of the Civil War in Eagle Pass and Mexico. He was among those who raised the Union flag over the Alamo on July 21, 1865. He founded the Beethoven Männerchor shortly thereafter and conducted the chorus at the Casino on October 14.
Thielepape was appointed Reconstruction mayor of San Antonio on November 8, 1867. He supervised an administration that built bridges, laid macadam streets, strengthened the public schools, and provided for the eventual arrival of the railroad. Throughout these years he continued to conduct and compose and founded a singing school. On March 12, 1872, Thielepape was removed from office, but he remained active in the community until, in April 1874, he turned his chorus over to Andreas Scheidemantel and moved to Chicago to participate in the building boom that followed the Chicago Fire.
Even in retirement, Thielepape continued to compose; he wrote his last song in 1899. He died in Chicago on August 7, 1904. His compositions, influenced by Felix Mendelssohn and Ludwig Spohr, included Lieder, six duets for soprano and tenor, and incidental music for Ludwig Anzengruber's play Der Meineidbauer, all with piano accompaniment; and one unaccompanied male chorus, Der Wind und der Wellen Lied. See also GERMAN MUSIC.
Theodore Albrecht, German Singing Societies in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, North Texas State University, 1975). Theodore Albrecht, San Antonio's Singing Mayor: W. C. A. Thielepape, 1814–1904 (MS, University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio).
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, Theodore Albrecht, "THIELEPAPE, WILHELM CARL AUGUST," accessed May 26, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fth41.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 3, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.