Supposedly, one of his relatives was one of Napoleon's bodyguards and went with him on the Isle of Elba when he was imprisoned there, May 1814 - Feb 1815. Napoleon was allowed a personal escort of 1000 men on the island, which lies off the coast of Tuscany.
He was first a draper (director of a weaving factory?), as his father was, then a schoolteacher in Wickersheim, and finally a tiler (tuilier) and owner of a tile factory in Oberhoffen sur Moder, where his parents lived. He moved to Oberhoffen in late 1857 or early 1858.
On 1 Dec 1853 he married Caroline Loeffler whose father was the minister of Wickersheim where Guillaume was a teacher.
On 6 Feb 1858 Caroline died giving birth to twin girls only one of which, Lina, survived. On 4 Aug 1858 Her Ņdeclaration of successionÓ (will) dated 4 Aug 1858 names her children as Guillaume, Louise and Caroline.
In 1858 Guillaume bought land and property in Oberhoffen.
On 11 Aug 1859 he married his first wifeÕs step-sister Frˇdˇrique Loeffler in Ingwiller, her home town.
In 1861 he appears with his family on the Oberhoffen census: Kohler Guillaume, tiler, aged 35; Frˇdˇrique Loeffler wife aged 29; children: Guillaume (6), Louise (5), Lina (3), Emile (1). Servants: Heppel Dorothˇe, 40, and Hausser Philippe, 22. Address: Windmuhl.
On 7 Jan 1863 he bought a tile factory from Heinrich Kopf.
In 1866 he appears with his family on the Oberhoffen census at the same address Windmuhl: Kohler Guillaume, tiler, aged 40; wife: Frˇdˇrique Loeffler aged 34; children: Guillaume (12), Louise (11), Lina (8), Emile (6), Ernest (4), and Eug¸ne (2). Also in the household were: Julie Loeffler, the wife's sister, 25.
On 19 Oct 1869 his wife Frˇdˇrique gave birth to twins Jules and Albert. She died a month later.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 had a big effect on the Kohler family. For three hundred years Alsace had been part of France but when Prussia won the war it became part of Prussia and was renamed Reichsland. The French language and customs were discouraged. Many Alsatians found a way to escape from Reichsland, including many of Guillaume's children.
On 28 Apr 1877 all of the elder GuillaumeÕs remaining property was finally sold.
During WWII Oberhoffen was the site of a major battle which destroyed most of the town. [See Battle of Oberhoffen Dec 1944 to Feb 1945] However, some parts of the tile factory can still be seen today.
This is a map of Alsace north of Strasbourg showing the location of Oberhoffen and Bischwiller. Here are maps of Oberhoffen in 1837, and in 2005. This is an aerial view in 1960. These show the Windmuhle area in 1900 and in 2005.