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WELHAUSEN, CHARLES

Charles Welhausen
Photograph, Portrait of Charles Welhausen. Image courtesy of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

WELHAUSEN, CHARLES (1835–1916). Charles Welhausen, businessman, banker, rancher, and Confederate officer, was born in Hanover, Germany, on September 2, 1835. He was the son of Carl Conrad Welhausen. Welhausen immigrated with his family to Texas in 1843 and settled at Cat Springs, Austin County. In 1856 Welhausen moved to High Hill, Fayette County, and established a saddle shop.

He volunteered for service in the Confederate Army in October 1861 and enlisted as second lieutenant in the Fifth Texas Field Artillery, also known as Creuzbauer's Battery, a company consisting primarily of German immigrants of Fayette County. This unit was assigned to garrison duty in the Rio Grande valley through 1863. In the autumn of 1863 Welhausen returned to Central Texas as the company was ordered to refit with heavier guns. In April 1864 Welhausen and the Fifth Field Artillery were sent to the Texas Gulf Coast near Louisiana to assist Confederate efforts to counter Union attacks at Calcasieu Pass. On May 6, Welhausen participated in attacks on Union troops who were collecting livestock at Calcasieu Pass. This action culminated in the capture of Union gunboats Granite City and Wave. Shortly after the battle of Calcasieu Pass, Welhausen's brother-in-law, battery commander Edmund Creuzbauer, resigned and returned home. Welhausen was promoted to captain and assumed command of the Fifth Field Artillery. He commanded the Fifth Field Artillery until it was disbanded at Houston on May 22, 1865.

Grave of Charles Welhausen
Photograph, Grave of Charles Welhausen in Shiner. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Following the war, Welhausen returned to Fayette County and resumed his business. On January 1, 1867, he married Eliza Amsler, daughter of a prominent family, in Montgomery County, Texas. He soon became a prominent citizen in both ranching and banking in Fayette and Lavaca counties. In 1884 Welhausen purchased a homestead in Lavaca County from Henry B. Shiner and lived there until he moved with his family into the town of Shiner in 1895. He established the Captain Charles Welhausen Bank in 1891, and on November 19, 1900, this institution received a federal charter and was renamed the First National Bank of Shiner. In 1888 he was elected state legislator. Welhausen died in Shiner on November 3, 1916, and was buried at City Cemetery, Shiner, Lavaca County, Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Alwyn Barr, "The Battle of Calcasieu Pass," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 66 (July 1962). Paul C. Boethel, The Big Guns of Fayette (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1965). Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin (Creuzbaur's Battery, C.S.A.—"The Big Guns of Fayette"; Shiner–Welhausen Homestead). James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002).

Aragorn Storm Miller

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Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "Welhausen, Charles ," accessed September 29, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwe83.

Uploaded on April 21, 2011. Modified on May 11, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.