William G. Veal, Methodist circuit preacher and businessman, was born near Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1831. He arrived around 1853 in Texas, where he became a resident of Birthright, Hopkins County. He soon thereafter became a merchant, paid his first poll tax in 1853, and had gained possession of one slave and 100 acres by 1854. After residing in Hopkins County for a few years, Veal moved to Parker County in 1857 and was licensed as a Methodist minister the same year. In Parker County he organized Veal Station, a school or academy. Later the school, under the leadership of S. W. Parsons, became known as Parsons College; it survived until the 1890s. Veal was elected delegate to the Texas Methodist Convention at Waco in 1857 and was promoted to presiding elder of the Weatherford District before 1859. In 1860 he and his wife, Ruth (Willson), owned real estate and personal property worth $23,000. Veal became a captain in Col. Thomas Coke Bass's Twentieth Texas Cavalry regiment of Parson's Brigade; he served in Arkansas, Indian Territory, and Texas. After the war he resumed his church activities. He was elected presiding elder of the Waxahachie District in Ellis County at the 1866 general conference. Soon thereafter he moved to Ellis County, leaving behind $1,424 worth of property in Parker County on which he failed to pay taxes. In Ellis County, Veal continued his pastoral duties, and by 1870 he had amassed personal worth of $55,000. He was elected a delegate to the general convention at Louisville, Kentucky, in May 1874. In 1875 he moved to Dallas County. Soon afterward, his illustrious career became tainted by sexual scandal. In June 1876 charges were filed against Veal for improper conduct toward a woman at Hutchins in Dallas County. An inquiry into the charges was conducted by the Methodist Church, and Veal was vindicated. However, in 1878, he was arrested and charged with attempting to seduce a woman at Waxahachie. After another inquiry by the church, he was suspended indefinitely from the Methodist Church.
By 1880 the Veals, including their daughter Ellen, who was eight years old at the time, had settled in Dallas County. By 1888 they made another move, this time to Fort Worth, again leaving taxable property. Veal was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge and the Masonic lodge. He was the first president of the Board of Trade in Dallas. In 1885 he served as the president of the Central Texas Pomological and Horticultural Association. He held the position of financial agent for Southwestern University, was a member of the Joint Board of Publications of the Texas Christian Advocate (see UNITED METHODIST REPORTER), and served on the Texas Education Commission of the Methodist Church in 1871. Two months before his death, Veal received death threats from someone in Dallas warning him not to be seen in the city of Dallas again or he would be killed on the spot. On October 25, 1892, despite pleas from his business associate, Veal attended a Confederate reunion at the State Fair of Texas. On that night while he was preparing for his duties at the convention, a gunman came to the door of his hotel room and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. Testimony by the assailant showed him to be the husband of a woman who reportedly had suffered unwanted advances from Veal ten years earlier.
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S. W. Geiser, Horticulture and Horticulturists in Early Texas (Dallas: University Press, 1945). Gustavus Adolphus Holland, History of Parker County and the Double Log Cabin (Weatherford, Texas: Herald, 1931; rpt. 1937). Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817–1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867–1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). Henry Smythe, Historical Sketch of Parker County and Weatherford (St. Louis: Lavat, 1877; rpt., Waco: Morrison, 1973). Homer S. Thrall, A Brief History of Methodism in Texas (Nashville: Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1889; rpt., Greenwood, South Carolina: Attic, 1977). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Founders and Pioneers
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Charlie C. Haynes, Jr.,
“Veal, William G.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 05, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
February 5, 2019
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: