Morehead, Charles Robert (1836–1921)

By: Nancy Hamilton

Type: Biography

Published: April 1, 1995

Charles Robert Morehead, pioneer, banker, and mayor of El Paso, son of Fanny (Warden) and Charles R. Morehead, Sr., was born at Richmond, Missouri, on February 28, 1836. He was educated in the public school and Masonic College in Lexington, Missouri. At sixteen he became a store clerk and at nineteen was employed by Russell, Majors, and Waddell, transporters of army supplies to posts west of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Having gained experience in operating wagon trains in Wyoming and Utah, several of them attacked by Indians, he was sent by his employers to Washington, D.C., in 1859 to discuss the proposed Pony Express with President James Buchanan and other authorities. On January 25, 1859, he married M. Lemire Morris of Maysville, Kentucky. He entered the mercantile and cattle businesses in Leavenworth, where he served as mayor in 1868–69. Acting for business associates in Missouri, he visited the Southwest in 1880 to look into mining opportunities. He returned to El Paso in 1881 and resided there until his death.

In 1881 Morehead and a group of associates established the State National Bank (M Bank of El Paso in 1990), and he served as its president until shortly before his death. Morehead was also involved in other business ventures, including a tin-mining enterprise near El Paso. He served as mayor of El Paso from 1903 to 1905 and was active in promoting Fort Bliss and public health efforts, especially improving area water supplies. He was a thirty-third-degree Mason, a Knight Templar, chairman of the El Paso School Board, and Trustee of the First Baptist Church. A grade school and street in El Paso are named for him. After the death of his first wife, Morehead married a public school teacher, Mary Harrison Gates, on June 12, 1912. He died at El Paso on December 15, 1921.

William Elsey Connelley, Doniphan's Expedition (Topeka, Kansas, 1907). El Paso Herald, December 16, 1921. William I. Latham, The Last Outpost in Texas (El Paso: Mangan, 1982). George G. Matkin, "Biographical Sketch of Charles Robert Morehead," Password, Winter 1966. Charles R. Morehead, "Diary of Charles R. Morehead," Password, Fall 1985. Elaine Lewis Morrel, The Rise and Growth of Public Education in El Paso (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1936). C. L. Sonnichsen and M. G. McKinney, The State National Since 1881 (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1971). Owen P. White, Out of the Desert: The Historical Romance of El Paso (El Paso: McMath, 1924).

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

Nancy Hamilton, “Morehead, Charles Robert,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995