March 19, 1840. San Antonio. The Council House.
Peace negotiations between Comanches and Texans erupts into a full scale battle: The Council House Fight. When the shooting stops thirty Comanches and seven Texans are dead.
Mary Mavarick was visiting her friend, Mrs. Higginbotham during the calamity.
She recalled in her memoirs:
"While I was there, Dr. Weideman came up to her grated front window, and placed a severed Indian head upon the sill. The good doctor bowed courteously and saying, "With your permission, Madam," disappeared. Soon after he returned with another bloody head."
Dr. Edmund Weideman, physician, scientist and profound eccentric claimed to be in Texas on behalf of the Tsar Nicholas I of Russia to investigate agricultural prospects. A learned gentleman of about thirty-five, a surgeon and polyglot.
Of course, Mrs. Maverick and Mrs. Higginbotham were curious as to why the good doctor would placed two severed heads on the window sill, so the inquired as to his motivation.
He explained that he had viewed all the dead Indians and selected those two heads for their beautifully formed skulls. He had also selected two entire bodies to preserve as specimen skeletons.
"I have been long exceedingly anxious to secure such specimens—and now, ladies, I must hurry and get a cart to take them to my house."
He erected the resulting skeletons in his garden and dared anybody to steal from him. He proclaimed that the spirits of the indians were under his enchantment and would tell him everything they witnessed.
The Mexican population of San Antonio would cross themselves when they saw Dr. Weideman coming. They believed he was in league with the devil.
Devil or no devil, Dr. Weideman was a competent physician. He saved numerous lives in and around San Antonio and would never accept payment for his services.
Mrs. Maverick tells us that San Antonio lost this medical benefactor around 1843. He was with a traveling party near Gonzales when he and his horse were swept away and drowned trying to cross a flooded Creek.
But is that really the end of Dr. Weideman's story? The 1866 city directory for Chelsea, Massachusets lists a Dr. Edmund Weideman of the appropriate age living in that city.
Perhaps this story will be continued.