Hugo Kott, the son of Richard and Johanna Allerkamp Kott was born in Gillespie County, Texas on February 2, 1874. His father was born in Gotha, Germany, the son of Ernst and Louise Kott who settled in Gillespie County in 1854. Richard served with Company B, Gillespie Co., 3rd Frontier District of Texas State Troops during the Civil War. He was a Kerr County minuteman during the Indian Wars. Richard married Johanne Allerkamp Heinen on Dec 20, 1869 in Gillespie County. The couple moved to Comfort where Richard farmed and in 1887 opened the Comfort Hotel.
Life in Lavernia
Hugo Kott grew up on the family farm in Comfort in Kerr County, where he attended school. Hugo moved to the Lavernia area, and on August 6, 1895 he married Marie Linne of New Berlin. Marie was the daughter of Ernest and Anna Loeffler Linne. Hugo and Marie had four daughters: Clara (1895-1964), Helena (1899-1980), Frieda (1901-1988), and Alma (1907-1966). Marie and Hugo made Lavernia their home. Hugo began his business career, establishing a successful mercantile business in Lavernia, Kott-Linne and Kott-Linne-Reich. Over the next few years he developed new business partnerships in association with his various business activities. Kott was postmaster of La Vernia from 1897 until 1913. He was elected school trustee in Lavernia, in 1907.
Kott served as a Wilson County Commissioner after an interesting election in 1912. In the 1912 Democratic Primary in Wilson County, Kott, a Republican, won the Democratic primary as the nominee for Wilson County Commissioner for Precinct #3. The turmoil led to a lawsuit: J.E. Dewees vs. E.A. Stevens, et al. The case went before the Texas Supreme Court. The Court ruled in October of 1912 that Kott’s name must appear on the official ballot as the Democratic nominee for the position of Wilson County Commissioner for Precinct #3. Kott won the election, and on November 14, 1912 he was declared the new County Commissioner for the precinct.
The Move to San Antonio
Kott and Marie moved to a home on San Pedro Street in San Antonio in 1914. On May 14, 1919, the 37th District Court in San Antonio granted Hugo and Marie a divorce. Marie remarried, and left the state. Marie Linne Kott Rose died in Los Angeles in 1974. Their daughters continued to live with Hugo in San Antonio. Clara married Jesse Saunders Mitchell, Helena married Gustave Guenther, Frieda married Charles Heieck, Jr., and Alma married Ben E. Harlos.
Hugo Kott married Eleanor Steimel the daughter of Joseph and Ellen Clements Steimel in 1923. They had a lovely home on Park Avenue, where they often entertained friends, family, and business associates. They had no children.
Hugo Kott became involved in banking with W.R. and other Wiseman family members. Kott and W.R. Wiseman were directors and President and Vice President of the City National Bank of Floresville. Kott and W.R. Wiseman were directors of the La Vernia State Bank. When Commonwealth Bank and Trust of San Antonio opened for business June 1, 1916, Hugo Kott and W.R. Wiseman were directors of the bank. Kott was also vice president of the bank. Commonwealth weathered the banking crash of 1929. However, on October 6, 1931 the directors of the bank voted not to open the doors for business after heavy withdrawals following the collapse of Central Bank and Trust. The state banking commission took over Commonwealth and brought in their liquidating agent. After reorganizing, Commonwealth reopened with the same officers on December 23, 1931. With continuing financial problems, the Commonwealth Bank and Trust officially closed on July 2, 1934.
Kott and W. R. Wiseman worked together in banking in La Vernia, Floresville, and at Commonwealth Bank and Trust in San Antonio. As a partner with W.R. and other Wiseman family members, Kott invested in real estate, cotton gins, and other business ventures. They had gins in the La Vernia area, Carpenter, Adkins, Martinez, and elsewhere. They leased their ginning equipment from the Anderson Clayton Co. of Houston, Texas. Their gins were very successful. However, to avoid what they considered excessive prices at the Kott Wiseman gins, farmers consolidated to form their own ginning companies, such as the Lavernia Farmers’ Ginning Company and the Farmers Gin Company of Sutherland Springs.
In 1919, Kott and W. M. Wiseman became involved in the oil boom in the Lavernia/St. Hedwig area. They sold stock in their company, Mutual Oil & Developing Company of LaVernia, Texas. They also leased land in the St. Hedwig area for drilling.
Kott and the Wisemans were always seeking new investment opportunities. In 1931, as Commonwealth Bank and Trust was failing, Kott, S. P. Wiseman, and Maggie Wiseman were the incorporators of the Lavernia Lumber and Trading Company. The company was chartered with capital stock of $16,000.
Kott owned a large farm near the current I10 and 410 interchange on the eastside of San Antonio. There, Kott promoted conservation of soil and water on farmlands by use of terracing, and other new farming techniques.
The End of an Exceptional Career
In 1960, Eleanor and Hugo sold their home on Park Ave. and moved to a smaller home on East Quincey that Eleanor had inherited from her parents. Eleanor died on September 21, 1963. Her funeral was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with the burial in San Fernando Cemetery #2.
After an interesting life in the business world, with its successes and failures, Hugo Kott died May 12, 1968 at his home in San Antonio. He was buried in Sunset Memorial Park in San Antonio. His obituary in the local newspaper said simply, “Hugo Kott, 94 year old retired merchant, 807 E. Quincy St. died Sunday.” He had five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.