Steves, Edward (1829–1890)

By: Donald E. Everett

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: May 4, 2016

Edward Steves, lumberman, second son of Heinrich and Christina (Schlippes) Steves, was born on December 14, 1829, in Barmen, Elberfeld, Germany. He sailed twenty years later aboard the two-masted Neptune to Galveston, Texas, then to Indianola and New Braunfels. Steves acquired 160 acres of state land near Comfort, and on December 26, 1857, he married Johanna Kloepper, a native of Hanover living in the village of Comal. They had three sons on their Kendall County farm. In 1866 Steves entered the lumber business in San Antonio, where he became known for his Louisiana cypress and long-leaf Florida pine, brought by oxcart from Indianola. His business expanded rapidly after the arrival of the railroad in 1877, and his four-acre lumberyard beside the depot served a trade area that extended to northern Mexico and Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County. Real estate investments had become increasingly important to Steves by 1882, when he retired from active participation in the lumber business. By that time his fine home, along with others on King William Street, had come to symbolize the success of German immigrants in frontier Texas (see STEVES HOMESTEAD). As alderman, Fair Association trustee, director of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway and the Board of Trade, and chief volunteer of Volunteer Fire Company No. 2, Steves expended his prodigious energy toward improving San Antonio. In 1883, in association with his earliest patron in the city, John Kampmann, Steves received a contract to pave Commerce Street with mesquite blocks. At the same time he suggested that telephone, telegraph, and electric poles be removed and that cables be placed underground so as not to mar the beauty of the street. He gave the city a fountain for public use in Military Plaza and stoutly opposed closing the irrigation ditches necessary to San Antonio home gardens. He thought that the city should bore artesian wells to obtain pure drinking water. He owned the San Antonio racecourse and was a member of the Schuetzen Verein, the Turnverein (see TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT), and the Casino Club. He died on April 20, 1890.

Donald E. Everett, San Antonio: The Flavor of Its Past, 1845–1898 (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1975). Grinstead's Graphic, December 1923. Mary C. H. Jutson, Alfred Giles: An English Architect in Texas and Mexico (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1972).


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business

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

Donald E. Everett, “Steves, Edward,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 25, 2021,

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June 1, 1995
May 4, 2016