History

Emma Voelcker and the Murder That Shook New Braunfels

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When people think of New Braunfels, Texas a few things come to mind: Schlitterbahn, tubing the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, visiting nearby Gruene to hear live music and eat at the Gristmill. What many people don’t know though, is that in 1874, New Braunfels was the scene of a grisly murder that involved 12-year-old Emma Voelcker.

A Grisly Case of “Mistaken Identity”

Emma Voelcker

Photo: Facebook/NBghosttours

The pharmacist in New Braunfels during this time was German immigrant Julius Voelcker. Voelcker had four sons and one daughter. On the evening of July 22, 1874, the pharmacist in Seguin had to go out of town, so he had his wife spend the night with the Voelckers in nearby New Braunfels. The wife slept in the bed of 12-year-old Emma Voelcker that night (while Emma slept in the trundle).

Sometime in the wee hours of the night, someone came into the Voelcker home and brutally attacked Emma with an ax, as she lay on the trundle bed, killing her. The wife of Faust awoke to this horrible attack and was hit once between the eyes with the ax, causing her to be blind for the remainder of her life – and also, rendering her unable to identify the murderer.

The town was outraged at the crime and innocent citizens were lynched as the townspeople demanded to know who could have possibly done something so violent to such an innocent child. It wasn’t until November of 1874 that the true murderer was caught.

Wilhelm Faust: Murderous Pharmacist

emma's grave
Photo: Facebook/hauntedmagnoliahotel

As it turns out, Wilhelm Faust, the Seguin pharmacist, was intending to kill his wife that evening (even going so far as to urge his wife in the days leading up to the trip, to “be a good houseguest” and sleep on the trundle bed). When he broke into the Voelcker home in the dark that night, he assumed that the sleeping form on the trundle was that of his wife and, sadly, he was mistaken.

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