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PEARSON, FREDERICK STARK

PEARSON, FREDERICK STARK (1861–1915). Frederick Stark Pearson, civil engineer, son of Ambrose and Hannah (Edgerly) Pearson, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on July 3, 1861. He graduated from Tufts College in 1883 and received a master's degree in 1884. Later he was awarded honorary doctor of science and doctor of laws degrees (in 1900 and 1905). He was instructor in mathematics and applied mechanics at Tufts from 1883 to 1886. Pearson developed the electric transportation system in Boston and in 1894 became chief engineer of Metropolitan Street Railways in New York City; he served as consulting engineer for other street railway systems in Canada, the United States, Cuba, and England. He developed electric power systems for São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mexico City, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1911 he was chief engineer of the building of the Medina Dam on the Medina River in Texas and established an irrigation district of more than 35,000 acres in Bexar, Medina, and Atascosa counties. In 1912 he organized a syndicate in Hale County near Plainview for drilling irrigation wells to irrigate about 60,000 acres. This acreage was to be divided into farming tracts with improvements, which included about eighty-five deep wells.

Most of Pearson's financial backing came from British capital, and his Texas projects suffered setbacks when World War I broke out. In an effort to improve his financial condition, he and his wife took passage to England on the SS Lusitania. They died when the ship was sunk by a German submarine on May 7, 1915. Dr. Pearson had married Mabel Ward on January 7, 1887. They were the parents of two sons and one daughter. The town of Pearson, named for Fred Pearson, was established in 1912 by the Medina Valley Irrigation Company as a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad between LaCoste and Noonan Switch in Medina County. It was the site of a shop, a machinery and materials yard, and a house for a caretaker. The proposed townsite was never developed.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Mary L. Cox, History of Hale County, Texas (Plainview, Texas, 1937). Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Scribner, 1928–81). Cyril Matthew Kuehne, S.M., Ripples from Medina Lake (San Antonio: Naylor, 1966). Who Was Who in America, Vol. l.

Yancey L. Russell

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Yancey L. Russell, "PEARSON, FREDERICK STARK," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe06), accessed July 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.