William Rheinheimer biography

WILLIAM RHEINHEIMER, a contractor, of El Paso, was born in Syracuse, New York, where he spent the first twenty-one years of his life, and during that time gained a fair English education, after which he learned the carpenter’s trade. He then came to the west, locating first at Kansas City in the spring of 1879, and in 1880 he made his way to New Mexico, where he was employed as a journeyman on the construction work of the Santa Fe Railroad, the line being constructed to San Marciel. Later he had charge of a gang of men building depots and other buildings for the railroad company along the new line and in this way he gradually made his way toward El Paso, arriving here on his first trip, September 5, 1881. He did not make a location here, however, until 1882, at which time he started in the building business associated therein with C. E. Fruin, as foreman, and later with Tom J. Holland as partner. He was in partnership, with the latter until 1897, since which time he has engaged in contracting and building on his own account. In1883 he left El Paso temporarily, but after two years returned, and has thus practically made his home here since 1881.

In April, 1904, while across the river in Juarez, New Mexico, Mr. Rheinheimer met A. H. Parker, L. H. Davis, and David Creswell, three pioneers of El Paso, and suggested to them in a social conversation that a pioneer society should be organized. That conversation was the beginning of such an organization which now includes in its membership over two hundred of the pioneer settlers of El Paso and is known as the El Paso Pioneers’ Association, the object of which is to preserve the history of this city and vicinity and in time establish a museum or collection of historic relics, of which there is already considerable interesting material.

Mr. Rheinheimer was married in Syracuse, New York, to Miss Elizabeth Nies, of that city, and they have five children, all born in El Paso, namely: Edward William, Frieda Juanita, Nelson Nies, Oscar Carl and Helen. Fraternally Mr. Rheinheimer is connected with the Knights of Pythias, the Eagles and the Foresters, and became a charter member of Court Robin Hood, No. 1, which was the first Forester lodge organization in Texas. Of this he is past chief ranger and was also at one time state deputy. He is deeply interested in the material an social progress of the city, of whose growth and development he has largely been a witness. He early had the prescience to determine what the future held in store for this great and growing country and allying his interests with those of El Paso he has contributed to its substantial improvement as the years have gone by and at the same time through the careful conduct of his private business affairs has won a comfortable competence.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, p. 455.