Kessler, Alexander Louis (1837–1897)


By: Katherine Lancaster

Type: Biography

Published: May 3, 2007

Updated: November 9, 2017


Alexander Louis, or A.L, Kessler, Texas legislator, was born in Nassau, Germany, on December 5, 1837. He was the son of Ludwig and Christina Kessler. The family immigrated to Texas in 1845, landed at Indianola, and eventually settled in New Braunfels. In 1857 Kessler worked in a surveying party that measured the boundary between Texas and New Mexico. During the Civil War, Kessler, fluent in Spanish, was sent by Gen. John Bankhead Magruder to conduct commerce with Mexican trading parties. In the years just after the war Kessler worked as a government contractor and private merchant. He married Hermine [Hermina] Floege in New Braunfels on June 14, 1866. They had a son.

Kessler was a member of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Texas Legislatures, representing the Twenty-ninth District. This district encompassed the following counties: Bexar, Comal, Kendall, Kerr, Gillespie, Kimble, Mason, Menard, Wilson, Atascosa, Bandera, and Edwards. Not only did Kessler serve in the Texas State Legislature from 1874 to 1876, he also served as mayor of New Braunfels from 1873 to 1875. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the New Braunfels Academy from 1875 to 1877, which was one of the first schools in Texas history to have used local taxes to fund public education. He accumulated a private fortune that included a tract of land on the Guadalupe River worth $22,000, one-half interest in 1,800 acres on the Santa Clara River, a brewery valued at $18,000, and sixteen parcels of land in New Braunfels worth $17,000. He invested over $18,000 in capital in leather tanning business. Kessler briefly operated a banking house in New Braunfels until a shortage of cash and a meager cotton crop forced a closure in 1877. He was nominated in Houston, San Marcos, and New Braunfels as a candidate for state treasurer in 1878.

Kessler continued to reside in New Braunfels where he owned approximately 1,000 acres and engaged in farming and stock raising. He was a Mason and also belonged to the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Knights of Honor. During the fall semester of 1883 he registered in the academic department at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1888 Kessler served as vice president of the Co-operative Manufacturing Alliance of Texas and president of the State Farmers Alliance Exchange. He led negotiations to obtain land for grain elevators, warehouses, and storerooms in Fort Worth and Galveston. He died on November 26, 1897, and was buried in Comal Cemetery.

Austin Weekly Statesmen, January 27, 1876, April 20, 1876, March 28, 1878, September 20, 1883. Dallas Southern Mercury, November 29, 1888. Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick Printing House, 1892). Fort Worth Daily-Gazette, March 16, 1888. Galveston Daily News, March 5, 1888. Galveston Weekly News, November 5, 1877. Oscar Hass, History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas, 1844–1946 (Austin: Steck, 1968). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers, Publishers, 1894). Charles E. Spellman, ed., The Texas House of Representatives: A Pictorial Roster, 1846–1992 (Austin: Texas House of Representatives, 1992). Vivian Zipp and Carol Friesenhahn, comps., Comal Cemetery Records, 1873–2001, Part 1, a to Key, Vol. 1 (2 vols., New Braunfels: Comal County Genealogy Society, 2002).

Categories:
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Politics and Government
Time Periods:
  • Reconstruction

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

Katherine Lancaster, “Kessler, Alexander Louis,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/kessler-alexander-louis.

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May 3, 2007
November 9, 2017