Keidel, Wilhelm Victor (1825–1870)

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 18, 2020

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).


  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers

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

Martin Donell Kohout, “Keidel, Wilhelm Victor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2022,

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November 18, 2020

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