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THAISON, ANDREW HANS

THAISON, ANDREW HANS (1849–1898). Andrew Hans Thaison, mayor of Laredo, was born on February 12, 1849, near the city of Haderslew, in Schleswig, a Danish province at that time. Immigrating to the United States at the age of nineteen, Thaison settled temporarily in Chicago where he worked in a brickyard. In 1869 he traveled to Iowa and then Nebraska, but returned to Chicago. In 1875 Thaison made his way to Texas where he first tried farming, but subsequently moved to Austin and resumed the brickmaking trade. In the autumn of 1881, the year the International and Great Northern Railroad reached Laredo from San Antonio, Thaison traveled to the border with his brother and set up a brick manufacturing plant and construction company-the Laredo Brick Works. About 1873 Thaison married Anna Jorgenson, who was also a Danish immigrant. Eight children were born of the marriage. Thaison first settled on Sanchez Street near the banks of the Rio Grande, but later built a two-story double-galleried Victorian home on fashionable Victoria Street. He was very active in local civic groups. He was a member of the Woodmen of the World, a Mason, and was in the Lutheran Church. As a member of the reform Guarache Party, Thaison's first foray into politics came in 1892 when he was elected city alderman. In 1895 he ran for mayor against Miles T. Cogley and was elected by a vote of 851 to 757. Seeking to reconcile much of the bitterness of the Botas and Guarachesqv that had characterized city government, Thaison promised to seek reforms in education, improve city sanitation, modernize the City Fire Department, and improve sidewalks, streets, and the city's water supply. Specifically, Thaison emphasized equality in teachers' salaries. Although he urged cooperation of the Botas and Guaraches, he became disillusioned with partisan politics as the two competing parties continued to vie for control of the city council. Thaison consistently had to cast a tie-breaking vote. He submitted his resignation on July 5, 1895, scarcely three months after being elected. Only after the city council rejected his withdrawal and citizens rallied to his support, did he retract his resignation. Under Thaison's leadership electric lights were installed, many streets were named, and houses were numbered. He also helped start the city's first streetcar company. City council set aside 500 blocks of land to be sold to the city's poor. In 1896 Thaison criticized political partisanship within the public schools and urged the superintendent to concentrate on improving standards. City council even tried to make it unlawful for the school superintendent to attend any political meeting where city politics was discussed. In May 1896 conflict again erupted when Thaison nominated Rafael Vidaurri as city recorder. When the Bota faction nominated C. C. Pierce, Thaison was again forced to cast the deciding vote in favor of Vidaurri. Political bickering and partisanship again dominated council chambers, and Thaison resigned. In a special city election on July 7, 1896, Thaison was succeeded by Louis J. Christen. Although Thaison again ran for mayor in 1897, he was easily defeated. Thaison died in Laredo on January 22, 1898, and is buried with his wife in the Laredo City Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Laredo Daily Times, January 22, 1989. Jerry Don Thompson, Laredo: A Pictorial History (Norfolk: Donning, 1986). Webb County Historical Commission, Su vida y su espíritu: Webb County Family Histories (Laredo, Texas, 1982).

Elena Holloway

Citation

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

Elena Holloway, "THAISON, ANDREW HANS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fthgj), accessed October 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.