McFaddin, William M. (1819–1897)

By: Rosine McFaddin Wilson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 11, 2020

William M. McFaddin, rancher and participant in the battle of San Jacinto, son of Elizabeth and James McFaddin, was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on June 8, 1819. The family moved to the vicinity of Liberty, Liberty County, Texas, in 1823 and to Beaumont in 1833. At age sixteen William served at the siege of Bexar. He was a member of the group commanded by Thomas J. Rusk that buried the victims of the Goliad Massacre. He subsequently joined the army of Sam Houston at Columbus and was detailed to guard the wounded and baggage at San Jacinto. He was discharged on his seventeenth birthday, June 8, 1836. As a veteran and colonist, McFaddin received a headright in Williamson County and grants totaling 1,137 acres in Jefferson County. He inherited a fourth of his father's headright and began a lifelong practice of buying and selling land. He and his son William Perry Herring McFaddin founded the McFaddin Ranch of Beaumont and formed several companies in partnership with Obadiah Kyle and Valentine Wiess for acquiring land, raising cattle and rice, irrigating, and milling rice. During the Civil War McFaddin was detailed to supply beef cattle for the Confederate Army and obtained a license to ferry and swim cattle across the Neches River. He was appointed captain of Patrol District No. 1 by the county court. In 1837 he married Rachel Williams, daughter of colonists Nancy and Hezekiah Williams and sister of San Jacinto veteran Hezekiah R. Williams. They had nine children and also reared the children of several relatives. McFaddin, who had not received a formal education, maintained tutors for his children and those of his neighbors. The McFaddin home, known for hospitality, often sheltered travelers overnight and was used for funerals of neighbors. It burned in 1905. Oaks that sprang from acorns McFaddin brought from the San Jacinto battleground still stand on the grounds of the McFaddin-Ward House, the home built by his daughter in 1906. McFaddin died in 1897, leaving 4,575 acres in his estate and interests in jointly held land.

John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Tim Matthewson, "The McFaddin-Ward House: Governance and Interpretation," Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record 22 (1986). Rosine McFaddin Wilson, "The McFaddin Family," Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record 16 (1980).

  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

Rosine McFaddin Wilson, “McFaddin, William M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 11, 2020