Gantt, William Henry (1824–1867)

By: James L. Hailey

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

William Henry Gantt (Gant), pioneer physician and scientist, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1824. He graduated from Missouri Medical College, moved to Texas in the 1850s, and settled in the Union Hill community of Washington County, where he practiced medicine. There he served as a meteorological observer for the Smithsonian Institution from 1857 to 1861. He prepared a meteorological table that was presented to the Smithsonian in 1856. He also sent specimens of infusorial earth and birds' eggs to the institution. A report he made in 1866 on the showers of Leonid meteors was sent to the institution after his death. On December 8, 1858, the board of Soule University appointed Gantt, Ashbel Smith, and others to a committee to investigate the possibility of establishing a medical school at Galveston or Houston. Dr. G. W. Neely and Gantt proposed a plan for opening such a facility to the Soule board on February 18, 1858. The proposal was accepted, but implementation was delayed six years. Gantt held the position of professor of physiology and pathological anatomy at Galveston Medical School (Texas Medical College) in 1866–67. In this position he coedited the Texas Medical Journal. He died on September 6, 1867, during the yellow fever epidemic that swept Galveston that year.

Ralph W. Jones, "The First Roots of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (April 1962).
  • Education
  • Educators
  • Medical
  • Health and Medicine
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • School Founders
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners

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

James L. Hailey, “Gantt, William Henry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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