September 5, 1815, Schmalkalden, Germany.
August 26, 1873, Schmalkalden, Germany.
A choral director and composer, Wilhelm studied at Cassel under Louis Spohr, and then in Frankfurt am Main with Aloys Schmitt and A. André. From 1841 to 1864 he was the director of the Krefeld Liedertafel, for which he composed numerous male choruses. In Krefeld in 1854 he set to music Max Schneckenburger’s 1840 poem Die Wacht am Rhein. In recognition of the success and of this song, he received the title of Royal Prussian Music Director in 1860, and four years later received a gold medal from Queen (later Empress) Augusta.
On June 24, 1871, he received a personal acknowledgment from Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The same year, he received an annual gift from the government of 3,000 marks, which was then more than four times a typical salary.
From 1865 on, Wilhelm directed the music society in Schmalkalden, where he lived until his death.
Wilhelm’s burial place