Means, William (1809–1876)

By: Cecil Harper, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 1, 1995

William (William A., William Marshall) Means, soldier, legislator, and public official, was born in Georgia on December 14, 1809. He married Frances Amelia Blackburn around 1831, and in 1832 the couple moved from Louisiana to what is now Sabine County, Texas. Means was in the Texas army from January 21 until April 21, 1836, and was a baggage guard during the battle of San Jacinto. After his army service he returned to Sabine County, where he served as the county's first sheriff. From 1843 until 1845 he represented Sabine County in the House of the Eighth and Ninth congresses. Shortly after his last term in Congress, Means and his family moved to DeWitt County; there they lived until the late 1850s, when they moved to San Patricio County. Means helped to establish the community of Meansville in 1874, when he and his son Napoleon, with fourteen others, built the combination church and school building that served as the focus of the settlement. On January 31, 1876, Means was killed while confronting a posse that had come to his house to arrest three of his sons for disturbing the peace in Bee County. His death precipitated the Means-Garner Feud.

Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

Cecil Harper, Jr., “Means, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995