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Gentry, Abram Morris (1821–1883)

Samuel Wood Geiser Biography Entry

Abram Morris Gentry, legislator and railroad promoter, son of Joseph and Mary (Van Meter) Gentry, was born in Brookville, Indiana, on May 14, 1821. In 1838 he moved to Houston, where he engaged in merchandising. One of the earliest railroad promoters in the state, he was instrumental in securing the charter for the Texas and New Orleans Railroad in 1859. As president of the railroad, Gentry extended surveys and made several trips to New York to secure additional funds for expanding the line, which was in operation before the beginning of the Civil War. After the war, during which he served with the Supply and Commissary Department of the Confederate Army, he spent much of his time in New York City and at Huntington, Long Island, where he also had property. But he maintained his home in Houston and devoted most of his time to financing the Texas Western Narrow Gauge Railroad out of Houston. This road, which was chartered on January 18, 1875, became the Texas Western Railroad by a new charter on April 28, 1881. Gentry also represented Harris County in the Senate for the Eighth and Eleventh legislatures. He married Mary Frances Rather in Houston on October 29, 1844. He died in Huntington, Long Island, on February 20, 1883, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.

S. W. Geiser, "Men of Science in Texas, 1820–1880," Field and Laboratory 26–27 (July-October 1958-October 1959). S. W. Geiser, "Southwest Siftings: Abram Morris Gentry," Southwest Review 29 (Spring 1944). S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1981). Texas Collection, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, January 1944. Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).


  • Eighth Legislature (1859-1861)
  • Eleventh Legislature (1866)
  • Senate

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Samuel Wood Geiser, “Gentry, Abram Morris,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 25, 2020,

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