Buchanan, William (1849–1923)

By: Cecil Harper, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

William Buchanan, businessman and philanthropist, was born on September 14, 1849, in Franklin County, Tennessee. He operated sawmills at Leadville, Colorado, and Forest City, Arkansas, before moving to the site of Texarkana, Texas, in 1873, shortly before the town was organized. Beginning with a small sawmill with which he cut into timber the tall pines felled to make way for streets in the new city, he eventually built what was said to be the largest lumber business in the Southwest. His holdings consisted of seven great mills and vast amounts of timberland. As his business began to expand he built a railroad track to connect his timberlands with his mill at Stamps, Arkansas. He extended his road from time to time to reach his timber holdings and finally chartered it in 1898 as the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway Company. The company grew until it included 300 miles of track. On October 9, 1923, Buchanan established the William Buchanan Foundation, "for charitable purposes and the alleviation of suffering and distress," and endowed it with a million dollars. Under the direction of his son-in-law, Stanley Seeger, the foundation worked in cooperation with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. On June 19, 1879, Buchanan married Hannah Ferguson. The couple had four children. Buchanan died on October 26, 1923.

Barbara Overton Chandler and J. E. Howe, History of Texarkana and Bowie and Miller Counties, Texas-Arkansas (Texarkana, Texas-Arkansas, 1939).

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

Cecil Harper, Jr., “Buchanan, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/buchanan-william.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994