A brief who’s who of Austin in the 1880s. Of all the person listed here only a scant few are remembered today. Some of the names are familiar and have associations with buildings or places in the city — Driskill, Littlefield, Hancock, Brackenridge, Zilker, Wooldridge — but we may be a little vague on who they were, where they were from and what they did in Austin that was memorable. There were many prominent, successful citizens in Austin but unless they left a legacy that provided a long-term benefit to the city, they are likely forgotten. There were others who were neither prominent nor influential but nevertheless left behind stories — and sometimes their stories, incidents and accomplishments were told in the pages of the daily newspapers.
Naturally, the city’s most prominent residents were more likely to receive notice in the daily news (and many of those are listed here) but there are also singular appearances by otherwise ordinary folks that seemed worth noting. Criminals and those whose dubious and dangerous exploits found them on the wrong side of the law attracted their share of newspaper attention; and members of local law enforcement, including the police, sheriffs, and officers of the court were in the news with great frequency as well.
Names are links to newspaper articles. Brief biographical info is provided when available, as well as additional links when available. This page is an ongoing endeavor and will be updated regularly. Any corrections or additions are welcome.
CITIZENS, THE FAMOUS, THE ORDINARY
George Assman (1849-1910) born Bavaria, locksmith – Henry Barnhart (1855-1901) born TX, attorney – John Billeisen – (1849-1912) born Germany, noted restaurateur, one-time proprietor of Simon’s Restaurant – John Bremond Jr.(1841-1918) Noted merchant and fireman – William Brueggerhoff – (1844-1883) born Prussia, merchant with extensive business interests in Austin and Travis County – Kate Carr born Ireland, Insane Asylum matron – Abner Cook (1814-1884) born North Carolina, architect and builder, moved to Austin 1839, built the Governor’s Mansion and many other significant buildings in early Austin including the main building of The University of Texas (more) – Josephus Cummings (c.1849-1895) born Travis County, physician – John Dickinson (1858-1942) born Houston, resident of Austin from 1881 to 1888, Secretary of the Capitol Commission – Jesse Driskill (1824-1890) born TN, moved to Austin 1871, noted cattleman, builder of the Driskill Hotel (more) – Harry Duff (1844-?) born TN, saloon keeper, one-time proprietor of the Iron Front Saloon – Jacob Fontaine (1808-1898) born AR, African American preacher and civic leader (more) (more 2) – Alexander Grant – John Hannig 106-year-old ex-slave – Fritz Hartkopf – saloon keeper, Club House Saloon – Fred Heep (1853-1920) farmer, husband of Alma Burditt – George Herzog orchestra conductor – Samuel B. Hill (1841-1917) born Ohio, moved to Austin 1877, noted photographer (more) – Hamilton Hillyer (1835-1903) born GA, noted photographer, opened studio in Austin in 1867 (more) – John Ireland (1827-1896) born KY, moved to TX 1853, CSA 1862-1865, Governor of Texas from 1883-1887 – Charles Jones (d.1885) Colorado Foundry operator – Mattias Kreisle – Will Lambert (1840-1898) Texas Ranger, CSA 1861-64, journalist, Austin Daily Statesman reporter (more) – William Leader (1831-1899) born Philadelphia, published Austin Dispatch – George Littlefield (1842-1920) born MS, moved to TX 1850, CSA Terry’s Texas Rangers 1861-1864, successful cattleman, banker, moved to Austin 1883, major benefactor of The University of Texas – Charles Lundberg (1835-1895) born Sweden, proprietor of Lundberg Bakery, noted for his generosity to the poor and needy – Sallie Mack (c.1830-c.1918) born VA, long-time Austin resident, domestic servant and caretaker, mother of Alex Mack – Calvin Mason – Josiah Mathis (1827-1886) physician – James McFall, City Engineer – Charles Millett (1832-1890) born New York, Lumber Dealer and builder of Millet’s Opera House – E. Taylor Moore (1846-1919) attorney, state legislator, prosecutor for Moses Hancock and James Phillips trials – John Neff (c.1850-1896) saloon keeper, proprietor of the Iron Front Saloon (more) – Michael Paggi (1840-1911) born Italy, arrived Austin 1870, Icemaker, Carriage Maker, Blacksmith, operator of Barton Springs Bathhouse (more) – Elisha Pease (1812-1883) born CT, moved to TX 1835, Republic of Texas official, governor of Texas 1853-1857, long-time resident of Austin (more) – Sophia Phillips (1826-1888) long-time resident of Austin, mother of James Phillips – Julien Prade (c.1850) born France, confectioner, saloon keeper, ice cream vendor – Henry Radam (1859-1938) born Germany, postmaster, grocery store proprietor – Frank Rainey (1836-1914) Superintendent State Institution for the Blind (more) – Frederick Ruffini (1851-1885) born Germany, moved Austin 1877, noted architect (more) – William Saylor (1844-1887) mayor 1881-1884 – Herman Schmidt , proprietor of Pearl House- James Sheeks (1855-1894) attorney – Addison Smith livery stable keeper- Richmond Smoot (1836-1905) born TN, pastor of Southern Presbyterian Church and founder of Austin School of Theology – Charles Stoddard (1842-1924) dentist, practice in Austin 1880s – William Swain (1839–1904) born Houston, state comptroller 1883-1887, (more) – Richard Swearingen (1838-1898) physician, state health officer (more) – John Tobin (1838-1904) born AL, pharmacist, merchant – William Walton (1832-1915) born MS, moved Austin 1853, CSA 1862, attorney, biographer of Ben Thompson (more) – C. W. Winn, owner of Avenue Hotel – Alexander Wooldridge (1847–1930) born New Orleans, moved to Austin 1872, attorney, civic leader, banker, mayor 1909-1919 (more) – Dudley Wooten (1860-1929) born MO, city attorney 1884-1886 (more) – Thomas Wooten (1829-1906) born Kentucky, arrived Austin 1876, physician, president UT Board of Regents (more) – Adila Zavalla, public school teacher – John Zernigoi born Austria, Insane Asylum attendant – August Ziller (1846-1918)
SCOUNDRELS, CRIMINALS, AND QUESTIONABLE OTHERS
Jeff Ake (1846-1938) – Duckie Belcher prostitute – Roger Blunt (1830-1894) saloon keeper – Rube Boyce (1853-1927) – Buzzard Liz – Charlie Cunio (1830 – ?) born Italy, Guy Town saloon keeper – Sallie Daggett Guy Town brothel keeper – Professor Damos – Madame Duke, clairvoyant – Blanche Dumont (1861 – 1933) born England, Guy Town brothel keeper – Nathan Elgin (1866-1886) – Henrietta Hardeman, prostitute – Florence Harrigan, con artist – Jack Kane, horse thief – Annexa Kelly, prostitute – Willie Lewis – Alex Mack (1857-?) suspect in the Servant Girl Murders – G. J. Mackinson (1867-?) highway robber – Addie Mercer, prostitute – Henry Pfannkuche (1837-1883) city council – Ike Plummer suspect in Servant Girl Murders – John Stokes, burglar – Ida Stotts, prostitute – Lottie Stotts (1851-?) Guy Town brothel keeper – William Turner, murderer- Enoch Wesley horse thief- Fanny Whipple assignation house proprietor – Dave Williams – Rosa Wilson prostitute – Nick Woods.
LAWMEN, POLICE, SHERIFFS, JUDICIARY
Wallace Badger, deputy sheriff – Richard Boyce police day clerk, 1883-1885 – John Bracken (1857-1939) born Rusk, TX, police officer 1884-1887, Texas Ranger Frontier Battalion Company B 1888, sergeant Company M 1st Volunteer Infantry Spanish American War 1898, capitol night watchman 1920-1939 – Henry Brown police night clerk, 1885 – J. Conners mounted police, 1885 – John Chenneville (1847-1904) born New Orleans, moved Austin ~1870, fireman, sergeant of police and detective for 25 years – Edward Creary, (1840-1893) born ME, sheriff 1880-1882 – Bart Delong police officer, 1885 – Zachary Fulmore (1846-1923) county judge – Wilson Gregg (1855-1899) born SC, justice of the peace, attorney – Malcolm Hornsby (1841-1892) sheriff 1882-1888, family was among earliest Travis County settlers – William Hornsby deputy sheriff – William Howe – George Hutcherson police officer, 1885 – Claude Johns police recorder, 1885 – Isaiah Johnson – Matt Johnson deputy sheriff, 1885 – John Kirk (1839-1911) born PA, deputy sheriff 1878-1880, fire dept. 1881, city marshal 1882-1884, county tax collector 1897-1906 – Grooms Lee (1848-1923) born Austin, Texas Ranger Frontier Battalion Company D 1874, county surveyor 1890-1923, city marshal 1884-1885 – James Lee constable, 1885 – George Madison African American police officer, 1885 – Louis Morris African American police officer, 1885 – Emile Oberwetter (1855-1926) born TX, police officer 1883-1885 – Fred Peck deputy sheriff, 1885 – Thomas Purnell justice of the peace, 1885 – John Rainey African American Deputy Sheriff – Cyrus Randolph police officer 1882 – E. Richardson police officer, 1885 – M. Robertson deputy sheriff, 1885 – Kohlman Sendry mounted police, 1885 – Theodore Sublett (1852-?) deputy sheriff- Frederick Tegener (1833-1901) born Prussia, justice of the peace 1881-1884 (more) – Ben Thompson (1843-1884) born England, CSA 1861-1865 Texas Mounted Rifles, noted gambler and gunfighter in TX and KS, city marshal 1880-1882 (more) (more 2) (more 3) – Alden Thorp police officer – William Von Rosenberg Jr. (1859-1919) born Austin, justice of the peace, attorney.