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Masten, William K. (1821–1880)

Stephanie Piefer Niemeyer Biography Entry

William K. Masten, Methodist Church circuit preacher, mercantile business owner, and Confederate cavalry officer, was born in Ohio in 1821. He married Isabella M. Robinson in Bond County, Illinois, on November 15, 1842, and the couple moved to Dallas County, Texas, soon after. In 1850, while working as a teacher in Dallas, Masten was admitted into the East Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He was a circuit rider for the Tyler area and in 1857 settled in Mesquite where he led the first congregation of the Methodist Church. Masten also served as county clerk from 1856 to 1860. Masten Street in Dallas is named after him.

In March 1862 Masten joined the Fifteenth Texas Cavalry and was elected captain of Company C. On May 10, 1862, he was elected lieutenant colonel. The Fifteenth was dismounted in the fall of 1862 and served as infantry for the remainder of the war. On January 11, 1863, their post, Fort Hindman in Arkansas, fell to the Union Army. Many of the captured soldiers were paroled and returned to battle with the Sixth and Tenth Texas infantries fighting in Tennessee and Georgia.

After the war, Masten moved back to Dallas where he served as county clerk from 1865 to 1866 and then district clerk from 1866 to 1867. Sometime after 1870, the family left Texas and settled in California where William Masten died and is buried.

Virginia Chase, comp., "First United Methodist Church: Mesquite, Texas History" (, accessed April 19, 2011. Historical List of Elected Officials, Dallas County, 1846 – Present (, accessed April 17, 2011. Rev. W. H. ("Uncle Buck") Hughes, "Early Methodism in Dallas County," transcribed from Dallas Daily Times Herald, February 25, 1912 (, accessed April 19, 2011.


  • Religion
  • Methodist

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

Stephanie Piefer Niemeyer, “Masten, William K.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: