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Zoeller, Helwig Karl Ludwig Adolph [Adolph] (1839–1909)

Aragorn Storm Miller Biography

Helwig Karl Ludwig Adolph Zoeller, farmer, Union officer, and state representative, was born in Darmstadt, Germany, on December 1, 1839. He was raised in Germany and immigrated to Texas in 1853. He arrived at Galveston and joined a relative in Kendall County. Here, Zoeller engaged as a farmer and married Augusta Elizabeth Wendler in 1860. This couple had four sons and three daughters. In 1862, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Zoeller joined a German “loyal league” of citizens organized to resist conscription into the Confederate Army. By the summer of 1862 repeated clashes with state authorities compelled Zoeller and others to attempt an escape to Mexico. Zoeller was one of the few who survived the journey, and he later traveled to New Orleans, where he and other Unionists were formed into the Federal First Texas Volunteer Cavalry (see FIRST TEXAS CAVALRY, USA) in 1862. Zoeller himself served as a captain and company commander. He saw action with this unit in southeastern Texas in the final months of the war.

At the cessation of hostilities, Zoeller returned to Kendall County, settled at Boerne, and established himself as a leader in public affairs. In 1870 he won election as representative, on the Republican ticket, for District 29 (which included Bandera, Bexar, Blanco, Burnett, Comal, Edwards, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr Kimble, Llano, Mason, Menard, and Wilson counties) to the Twelfth Texas Legislature. In addition to his service in the legislature, Zoeller served as a brigadier general in the Texas State Guard during Reconstruction and was elected justice of the peace in Kendall County in 1876. In 1878 he organized and was the first president of the Boerne Turn Verein German social club. Zoeller died on September 18, 1909, and was buried in Zoeller Cemetery in Kendall County, Texas. He was an Episcopalian.

Kendall County Historical Commission, A History of Kendall County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1984). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Adolph Zoeller, (, accessed June 10, 2014. Christopher Michael Rein, Trans-Mississippi Southerners in the Union Army, 1862–1865 (M.A. thesis, Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, 2001) available online (, accessed June 10, 2014. Zoeller-L Archives (, accessed June 10, 2014.


  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Politics and Government
  • Military
  • Soldiers
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Organizations
  • Twelfth Legislature (1870-1871)
  • House

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Zoeller, Helwig Karl Ludwig Adolph [Adolph],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 22, 2020,

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