Waelder, Jacob (1820–1887)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 5, 2016

Jacob (Jakob) Waelder (Wälder), lawyer, legislator, and Confederate officer, son of Frederick and Sophia (Bonnert) Waelder, was born in Meisenheim, Hesse Homburg, Germany, on May 17, 1820. He came to the United States in 1833 and lived in Pennsylvania until 1838, when he returned to Germany to complete his education. In 1841 he established a newspaper at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1845. He served during the Mexican War as a lieutenant of a company in the First Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and rose to aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant general. At the close of the war he returned to Pennsylvania to practice law. In 1848 he married Elizabeth Pool Lamb; they were parents of one daughter. Because of his wife's poor health, Waelder, in 1852, resigned as district attorney of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and moved to San Antonio, Texas. He practiced law and in 1855, 1857, and 1859 represented Bexar County in the House of the Texas legislature. One of the few Germans who sympathized with the Confederate cause, he held a major's commission in the Confederate Army. After his first wife died in 1866, Waelder married Mrs. Ada Maverick in 1870. They became parents of five children. Waelder represented the Twenty-ninth District in the Constitutional Convention of 1875, distinguishing himself as a liberal in the debates on suffrage qualifications, methods of amending the constitution, and terms of district courts. He took a prominent part in San Antonio civic affairs, serving as first president of the Casino Club and as director of the German-English School. He belonged to the Agricultural, Cattle and Industrial Association. For valuable services rendered Texas railroad interests, the town of Waelder in Gonzales County was named for him. Waelder died at White Sulphur Spring, Virginia, on August 28, 1887. He was buried in San Antonio.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Dallas Herald, November 14, 1874. Anne Hammond, The West Texas State Constitutional Convention of 1875 (M.A. thesis, Texas Technological College, 1933).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Politics and Government
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Anonymous, “Waelder, Jacob,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/waelder-jacob.

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May 5, 2016

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