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TRENCKMANN, WILLIAM ANDREAS

TRENCKMANN, WILLIAM ANDREAS (1859–1935). William Andreas Trenckmann, teacher, publisher, and author, son of Andreas Friedrich and Johanna (Jokusch) Trenckmann, was born on August 23, 1859, at Millheim, Austin County, one of the Latin Settlementsqv. His father, formerly owner and director of a private school in Magdeburg, had left Germany in the wake of the revolution of 1848 and soon settled as a farmer near Cat Spring, Texas; he was the first president of the Cat Spring Landwirtschaftlicher Verein, the oldest agricultural society in Texas (see CAT SPRING, TEXAS). As a child Trenckmann attended the Millheim frontier school of Ernst G. Maetze, whose example influenced him for life. In 1876 he joined the first class to enter Texas A&M. He was valedictorian of the first graduating class in 1879. Trenckmann started his career as a teacher in Frelsburg, and he later taught in Shelby; he was principal of the Bellville school when he married Mathilde Miller on April 20, 1886.

In 1891 he began publication of Das Wochenblatt, a German-language weekly newspaper. He edited and published it continuously for over forty-two years, until its sale in 1933; he continued to write for it until his death in 1935. From the time of its first publication, the paper soon became a respected voice in the Texas German communities and beyond, primarily as a means of informing and educating German-speaking immigrants and their descendants about politics, current issues at all levels, and American institutions. As a staunch supporter of civil liberties and free election, Trenckmann opposed Sunday laws, prohibition, the Ku Klux Klan, and Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist movement. When the United States entered World War I, it was particularly gratifying to Trenckmann that Albert Sidney Burleson, postmaster general, issued Permit No. 1 to Das Wochenblatt, thus exempting it from censorship imposed on war news and discussion appearing in German publications. Trenckmann contributed numerous stories, essays, reviews, and larger works in serialized form or in special issues to Das Wochenblatt; he produced a series of calendars as annual supplements and a booklet, Austin County (1899), the first geographical and historical account of the county. During his years in the Texas legislature he wrote Die Lateiner am Possum Creek (1907), one of the few works of fiction to treat the plight of the minority of Texas Germans who supported the Union in the Civil War. In 1903 he published a play, Der Schulmeister von Neu-Rostock. In later years he serialized his memoirs, Erlebtes und Beobachtetes (1931–1933).

Trenckmann represented Austin County in the House of the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Texas legislatures from 1907 to 1909 and moved with his wife and four children from Bellville to Austin. He served as a member and chairman of the board of directors of Texas A&M; he was asked to become its president but did not accept. He also served as chairman of the board of directors of the Blind Institute (now the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired). A complete file of Das Wochenblatt is available at the library of the University of Texas at Austin. Several of Trenckmann's larger works have been translated. He died in Austin on March 22, 1935.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American, March 23, 1935. Charles Nagel, Boy's Civil War Story (Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1937). Texas Legislative Council, Members of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1980 (Austin, 1980?).

Clara Trenckmann Studer

Citation

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

Clara Trenckmann Studer, "TRENCKMANN, WILLIAM ANDREAS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ftr08), accessed April 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.