A.W. Brill Company History

A.W. Brill Company History   (1912/13   -   1960s)

Wholesale Leather, Leather Jobbers, Saddle Makers, Harness Makers, Buggies, Carriages, Shoe Findings, Wholesale Automotive Leathers, Interstate Automobile Dealer and Holster Designers & Makers of the "Brill" Holster or "Austin" Holster


August William Brill   Austin, Texas   5/1/1872   -   9/12/1954

1890s - 1912   Saddle Maker / Salesman  / Manager   W. T. Wroe & Sons Saddlery    Austin, Texas

1912/13   A.W. Brill Company Established ( It is possible August W. Brill bought W. T. Wroe & Sons Saddlery)

1912/13 - 1950s    Wholesale Saddlery Harness & Shoe Findings ( Also Automobiles & Leather for Autos)

Arno William Brill   Austin, Texas  11/13/1896   -   8/2/1968

1918/19 -  1960s   Retail Clerk, Saddle Maker, Business Manager / Holster Designer & Maker for many Lawman including many Texas Rangers, Military, Competitors in the Holster Industry and Gun Enthusiasts of all Kinds

(Examples of the Leather Work from A. W. Brill Company are currently in the Texas Rangers Museum)

1940s - 1960s   Land Developer with his Father August W. Brill Developing Sub-Divisions of property around Travis Lake in Austin, County Texas.



August William Brill (5/1/1872 - 9/12/1954) was born to Henry Brill (2/20/1844 - 5/22/1914) a Farmer and Louise Sieper Brill (12/21/1848 - 6/17/1896) a homemaker on May 1, 1872 in Welcome, Texas of (Austin County, Texas).  Henry Brill was born February 20, 1844 in Bergdorf, Germany and Louise Sieper was born December 21, 1848 in Industry, Texas in Austin County Texas.  Henry Brill and Louise Sieper were married in Industry, Texas on May 7, 1869 about 1 week after Henry Brill turned 25 years old.

Apparently there are no clear Immigration records showing when Henry Brill arrived from Prussia (Germany) the best I can tell it was in the mid 1860s around the end of the Civil War.   According to the 1880 Census Records show August W. Brill 8 Years Old living in Welcome Texas with his Father Henry Brill listed occupation "Farmer"  and Louise Brill "Housekeeping".

I do not find any additional information on the Childhood of August William Brill until he was 17 years old and he Enlisted in the Army National Guard July 7, 1889 according to his Sealy, Texas Muster Call Card.  There was nothing more in Public Records until the 1900 U. S. Census which has August William Brill working as a Saddler for (William) W. T. Wroe & Sons Saddlery & Harness Company of Austin, Texas.

August William Brill was married to Ida Wilhelmina Knolle (2/4/1875 - 9/8/1941) of Industry, Texas in Austin County Texas they were Married (12/11/1895) in the city of Industry, Texas.  Both Families the Brill Family and the Knolle Family were considered as some of the Pioneer Families of Texas and both families are well documented in Texas State History.

On November 13, 1896 Arno W. Brill (11/13/1896 - 8/2/1968) was born in Austin, Texas Arno was the Eldest of Three Sons also including Lionel K. Brill (5/14/1898 - 9/21/1950) and Virgil A. Brill (5/17/1905 - 1/23/1972). Over the Years Arno W. Brill would become a famous Holster Designer and Maker as well as a Land Developer. The Middle Son Lionel K. Brill was a traveling Salesman in the 1920s eventually becoming the Retail Business Manager until his untimely death in 1950 at 52 Years of age. The Youngest of the Brill Boy's Virgil A. Brill worked with the family Business A. W. Brill Company until approximately 1925 when he went to the University of Texas to Study Geology eventually going to work in the Oil Industry and by the mid 1950s he was President of Highland Limited Company in Houston, Texas.

Between the years 1900 - 1910 information from the Austin, Texas City Directories show August W. Brill as a Clerk, Saddle Maker, Salesman and Retail Manager in 1910.  I believe it was around 1912 or 1913 when August W. Brill either went into Business on his own or quite possibly he bought out the W. T. Wroe & Sons Saddlery & Harness Company.  William T. Wroe went into the Automobile Business he was approximately 60+ Years Old and he lived to approximately 90 Years Old, his Son Hiram A. Wroe was already a Bank President since just after the turn of the Century and Samuel K. Wroe worked with his Father in the Automotive Business.

August W. Brill continued to work the Business himself and was joined by his Son Arno W. Brill in approximately 1917 or 1918.   On December 25, 1917 Arno W. Brill married Kathleen Annie Inks (12/22/1900 - 8/1/1996) 3 Days after her 17th Birthday.  On February 24, 1919 Arno Brill & Kathleen Brill welcomed their first Born Child Idanell "Nellie" Brill who later would become the First Lady of Texas.  Arno & Kathleen had Five Children Idanell "Nellie" Brill (2/24/1919 - 9/1/2006), William "Billy" Brill (12/31/1920 - 7/16/1971), Sheba Kathleen Brill (10/1/1923 -   /  /    ), Robert "Bob" Brill (10/19/1925 -   /  /    ), Arnold W. Brill or A. W. Brill III (8/13/1928 -  12/10/1945).

Throughout the 1920s August W. Brill and Arno W. Brill continued to develop the business developing the Automotive Business and the Leather & Shoe Findings.  I believe it was in 1929 that Arno Brill spent some time with S. D. Myres learning the Holster Design & Making part of the Leather Business while working with S. D. Myres in the Border Patrol Equipment Division.  Although by 1930 according to the Austin City Directory Arno W. Brill was back working with the A. W. Brill Company again, in the 1929 Austin City Directory it simply stated Traveling.

Through the 1930s and the 1940s Arno W. Brill Starting acquiring some fame as a Superior Holster Maker and  during the time from 1930 - 1960s Arno W. Brill produced gun leather as good or better than you could get anywhere and he ran a very successful business as well as he acquired fame in the industries related to his products.  In 1930 Census Arno, Kathleen their Five Children and the Maid were listed as residing at 901 West Avenue Austin, Texas with Arno's occupation listed as Leather Wholesaler.  By the 1940s A. W. Brill Company was sought out by many Lawman, Military, Holster Making Competitors and General Gun Enthusiasts to design and make their gun leather.

Also in the 1940s August W. Brill and Arno W. Brill started developing Platte's of land for Single Family Homes around Travis Lake in Austin County, Texas.  To the best of my knowledge they developed multiple Sub- Divisions in that area and I believe they are called the Arno W. Brill Sub Divisions.  The A. W. Brill Company remained successful into the 1960s although Lionel K. Brill passed away in Austin, Texas at 52 years of age, in 1950 and shortly thereafter August William Brill passed away at 82 years old at Bandera, Texas in 1954.  Arno W. Brill continued working into the 1960s working the leather business which over the years had greatly diminished and on August 2, 1968 Arno Brill passed away in Houston, Texas.

FOOTNOTE:   August W. Brill and Arno W. Brill Histories must include mention of their far more famous Relative Arno & Kathleen Brills Daughter Idanell "Nellie" Brill Connally (2/24/1919   -   9/1/2006) the First Lady of Texas from  (January 15, 1963   –   January 21, 1969) while her Husband John Connally was Governor Of Texas.  Additionally it was John & Idanell "Nellie" Brill Connally who were in the car with John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy when the President was shot and assassinated in Dallas, Texas on 11/22/1963.  At the time of her Death in 2006 Idanell "Nellie" Brill Connally was the last surviving member of those in the Limousine when JFK was assassinated.

AW Brill Company makers mark AW Brill Company makers mark

AW Brill Company makers mark