The Albert Carl Moye House 524 King William Street Albert Carl Moye was born in Kassel, Germany, on September 19, 1820. He married twenty-year-old Mathilde Wilhamina von Bartheld on October 31, 1841. Four years later, with their twoyear- old son, Otto, and infant daughter Wilhamina, the Moyes, along with 214 other German immigrants, set sail for Galveston, Texas, aboard the three-mast barque Neptune. They, along with many other Germans, had been lured to Texas by promises made in the terms of the Fisher-Miller Grant. Prospective settlers were to receive 320 acres (for a married man) plus transportation across the ocean and to their acreage; a house, furnishings, utensils and farming equipment; access to churches, hospitals, roads and general provisions for their welfare.
Unfortunately, the Moyes landed in Galveston in November 1845, just as the war between the United States and Mexico was heating up. This meant that all means of transportation were needed by the Army, leaving the Moye’s group and thousands of other German immigrants stranded on the Texas Gulf Coast. Many perished due to exposure to the elements and disease; some made the long overland trip on foot or by wagon to San Antonio, New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. The Moyes were detained for six months in Indianola, the port nearest the Fisher-Miller Grant lands. By the time they finally reached San Antonio, The Republic of Texas to which they were immigrating had joined the Union and the many promises that had attracted them to the Republic had vanished.
A newspaper chronicle of San Antonio’s significant events for 1845 lists: “First three-story building, the Plaza House, constructed. Albert Moye opened first saddler’s shop on Commerce Street. Texas admitted to Union.” At some point, Albert evidently abandoned his saddlery business and turned to vegetable farming. He became a U.S. citizen in 1852. After arriving in Texas, he and Mathilde had two more children: Emelie born in 1852 and Edward in 1855. In 1858, Albert served San Antonio and Bexar County as Justice of the Peace, tax assessor in 1860 and Alderman in 1864-1865.
During the Civil War, Albert was a Lieutenant and then Captain of Company B, 3rd Texas Infantry of the Confederate Army. The 3rd Infantry, raised in San Antonio, saw limited involvement in the war, being stationed mostly along the Mexican border.
After the war, Albert worked as a foreman then general manager of a lumber company and eventually started a real estate and insurance business, which was located at 10 East Commerce Street. A progressive businessman, Albert had one of San Antonio’s earliest telephones in his office. His number was 413. The 1880 census lists Albert, Mathilde, two sons, Otto and Edward as well as nephew, Wilhelm Keudell, all living in the same household. Both Otto and Edward were listed as “clerk in store.” Otto worked for Leroux & Cosgrove, a hardware and general merchandise store on West Commerce. Edward worked for Hugo & Schmeltzer, a wholesale liquor and grocery which was located in the long barracks of the Alamo. Nephew Wilhelm’s occupation was “photographer.” In 1881, Albert and Mathilde bought the lot at 524 King William Street from Edward Steves for $350 and built their house soon after. In the early city directories, the house is described as being “between Johnson St. and Ewell St.” Ewell St. was renamed Guenther about the turn of the century. The 1890 tax roles indicated that in addition to the home Albert owned a horse and buggy.
In 1866, daughter Wilhamina married Max Krakauer. The other daughter, Emelie, married Julius Piper in 1870. In 1886, the Pipers built what is now known as The Beethoven House at 422 Pereida. Julius died in 1907 and Emelie in 1912. Two of their daughters continued to live in the house until 1920 when they moved in with their sister, Tillie Piper, Wyse at 111 Wickes Street.
Albert and Mathilde’s son Edward married Lila Zork in 1881 and moved to El Paso, where Edward became a successful partner in the family connected wholesale hardware dealership, Krakauer, Zork and Moye. The firm made a fortune in the early 1900s selling guns and ammunition to smugglers who transported the arms across the border into the hands of Mexican revolutionaries. Their arms dealings were investigated by the FBI, which resulted in charges of “conspiracy to export munitions,” but they were eventually acquitted when the courts ruled that it was not illegal to sell arms – only to export them. Krakauer, Zork and Moye, along with other El Paso arms dealers, continued to prosper for several years by supplying arms to various Mexican factions.
Otto, who never married, died in 1903. Mathilde died in 1896 and Albert in 1899. They are all are buried in their family plot in San Antonio City Cemetery #4, also known as the “Confederate Cemetery.” From 1897 to 1900, Werner Wilkens lived at 524 King William while he was employed as treasurer for the Guenther Mill.
When Adolph Guenther Beckman and Mary Milby Giles married in 1915, they moved into 524 King William and lived there for about seven years. Mary Giles was the daughter of Alfred Giles, a prominent San Antonio architect in the late 1800s and early 1900s who designed the Steves Homestead as well as several other houses on the street. He went on to design several Texas courthouses.
Mary’s husband, Adolph Beckman, was a grandson of Carl H. Guenther, the mill founder. Adolph’s father, Albert Beckman, was married to Marie Dorthea, the second daughter of the mill founder. Being an architect, he designed and built not only his own home at 222 East Guenther but several other houses in the neighborhood and the 1884 Lone Star Brewery, later restored as the San Antonio Museum of Art. Albert died at his home of a heart attack at age 45 when Adolph was only 13 years old. When Adolph’s mother died in 1921, he and Mary moved back into the family home where he was born at 222 East Guenther (currently the Beckman Inn owned by Charles and Paula Stallcup). For the next several years, 524 King William was rented to various tenants until 1947 when it was bought by Robert and Theckla Morgan. Robert was a supervisor at the Nix Memorial Hospital downtown. He died in 1960 at age seventy-seven. His widow, Theckla, lived on in the house until her death in 1969. Deed records show that Mrs. L. A. Tschirhart owned the house in the 1970s, but I found no record of her ever living there.
Herbert and Veronica Stark moved into the house in 1970 and lived there until 1975. Herbert was the manager of Meny’s Paint Store on St. Mary’s (current location of Azuca Restaurant). Meny’s was where most of the neighborhood house restorers went for paint and advice until it went out of business in the early 2000's.
About 1976, Isabeth Hardy, a teacher and founder-director of The New Age School, moved into the house. The New Age School was a small, private, non-profit, all-day alternative school for young children. Renamed The Circle School, it continues today on Pershing Ave. near the Witte Museum but without Ms. Hardy. She has gone on to own and operate a fine art gallery in Johnson, Vermont.
Ms. Hardy lived in the house until 1984 when Mike and Betty Yndo moved there. At the time, Betty owned and operated King William Realty. They lived in the house for a year or two until it was purchased by Bart Nichols and Karine Berghauser in 1986 and the rest, as they say, is history.