William Thaxton, civil engineer, surveyor, state legislator, cattle driver, deputy sheriff, and tax assessor, was born in Warren County, Tennessee, on September 15, 1827. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Boyd (Barnett) Thaxton. While still a youth, Thaxton moved with his family to Independence, Missouri. During this period, he studied civil engineering, drafting, and surveying. In 1848 Thaxton immigrated to Texas and settled in Burnet County, where he married Barsha Ann Campell in 1851. They had one son and four daughters. In 1856 he relocated with his family to San Saba County and settled a homestead along Wallace Creek as well as worked in Central Texas as a surveyor. He quickly established himself among the prominent citizens of the community. In April 1857 Thaxton was named to the county survey committee to design a new road from San Saba to Fredericksburg. Around this time he was confirmed as a charter member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Thaxton raised a company of men for service in the Confederate Army. He became extremely ill, however, and was not able to muster with these men into the army. Instead, he served throughout the war as a conscript officer and as a captain in a San Saba frontier defense unit. In 1863 he was elected to represent San Saba, Burnet, Concho, Llano, and McCulloch counties in the House of the Tenth Texas Legislature. While in office, he helped charter and was named a trustee of San Saba Masonic College, incorporated by an act of the state legislature and operated by San Saba Masonic Lodge Lodge No. 225. Following the war, he engaged in several cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. In 1868 he returned to his homestead in San Saba and engaged in farming. In 1874 he moved to Travis County, where he served as a deputy sheriff and tax assessor. Thaxton died in Austin on September 6, 1884, and was buried there at Masonic Cemetery, Onion Creek Lodge.
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Alma Ward Hamrick, The Call of the San Saba: A History of San Saba County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1941; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1969). History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893). San Saba County History (San Saba, Texas: San Saba County Historical Commission, 1983). Alice Gray Upchurch, "A Sketch History of San Saba County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50 (July 1946).
Tenth Legislature (1863-1864)
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Aragorn Storm Miller,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 11, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 11, 2014
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: