Infamous Texas serial killer haunts Seguin hotel

Wilhelm Faust intended to kill his wife, killed girl instead

By Mary Claire Patton - Digital Content Curator
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SEGUIN, Texas - Wilhelm Faust was a pharmacist living in Texas in the 1800s.

In 1874, Faust was staying at the Magnolia Hotel in Seguin, Texas, for work.

While Wilhelm Faust was working, Faust family friends, Julius and Louise Voelcker, and their daughter, Emma, 12, welcomed Helena, Faust’s wife, into their New Braunfels home.

On July 22, 1874, Wilhelm Faust, who was in love with his wife’s sister, traveled to the Voelcker’s home to kill his wife so that he would be free to marry her sister.

He rode on horseback the Voelcker’s home with an ax in hand.

Usually when Helena stayed with the Voelcker family she would sleep on the floor in Emma’s room while Emma would sleep in the bed.

For some reason that night they switched and Emma was on the floor while Helena Faust was in the bed.

Wilhelm unknowingly hit Emma in the dark of night, killing her instead of his wife.

Helena Faust was also hit with the ax in a near-fatal blow that blinded her for life.

Wilhelm Faust took off on his horse following the attack after he was scared off by a noise.

Almost immediately, Wilhelm Faust was suspected of being the murderer because of his disinterest in who attacked his wife and his lack of participation in searching for the assailant.

In October of 1875, Wilhelm Faust was convicted in the murder of Emma Voelcker and sentenced to life in prison.

During his trial Wilhelm Faust admitted to several other murders, according to historian and Magnolia Hotel owner, Erin Ghedi.

Locals were enraged by the sentence and tried to lynch Wilhelm at the Comal County Jail.

 

After the attempt on his life, Wilhelm Faust was moved to the old Comal County Courthouse. He was shot and killed through the window of his cell on July 28, 1876, by an unknown gunman.

Even until her death Helena Faust never believed that her husband blinded her or killed Emma, even though he confessed during his trial. 

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The following is a word-for-word translation of a newspaper article regarding Emma’s death.

Funeral of Miss Emma Voelcker, the Victim of a Horrible Murder
[Special to the Galveston News]

NEW BRAUNFELS, July 25, 1874

Miss Emma Voelcker, the only and beloved daughter of Julius and Louise Voelcker, who was so brutally murdered here a few days ago, was buried here today, at eight o’clock, with musical honors, by the band of this place. Her burial was one of the largest ever known in the country. Every man, woman and child who could possibly go went out, and tears were standing in every person’s eyes when they formed in the procession, which was three miles long. Her many friends will mourn her loss forever. She was about thirteen years old, the only daughter and the light of the family, who will never get over the loss of their only daughter, upon whom they always looked with happiness and pride. She was useful in every way to her mother and father, and therefor she will be missed much more.

Mrs. Faust is still alive, but there is hardly any hope of her recovery.

Several persons have been arrested, but there is no clue to the perpetrator as yet.

The people are wild over the horrible occurrence. There are several rumors on what caused the horrible murder, but it would not be wise to publish them.

Will keep you posted. 

Emma's gravestone can be found in the Comal Cemetery in New Braunfels, Texas. 

For more information on the Magnolia Hotel in Seguin, click here.

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