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Way, Charles Burr (1832–1898)

R Matt Abigail and Aragorn Storm Miller Biography Entry

Charles Burr Way, attorney, mayor, and state representative, was born in Liberty, Amite County, Mississippi, on November 4, 1832. He was the son of John Osgood Whitehead and Lucretia Natalie (Burr) Way. In 1850 Way immigrated to Texas and settled in Waco in McLennan County. On June 11, 1856, he was admitted to the Texas bar. He quickly established himself in local affairs and worked as an attorney, recorder for the town council, and associate editor of the Waco Southern Democrat. He was also an active member of Waco’s Methodist Episcopal Church.

In October 1861 Way joined Company E of the Fourth Texas Infantry and served as a commissary sergeant. Shortly after the regiment reached Virginia, Way fell seriously ill. He attempted to rejoin his unit in December but was hospitalized again in June 1862. He received a medical discharge and returned to Texas in August 1862. In February 1863 Way was sworn in to replace the deceased William R. Sedberry as representative for Bosque and McLennan counties in the Ninth Texas Legislature. He was reelected to this position in November 1863 and chaired the committee on Indian Affairs during the Tenth Texas Legislature. After the war, Way was elected mayor of Waco and served from December 1866 to April 1869. On February 13, 1865, he married Martha Julia Howell in Waco. This couple had four sons and two daughters.

In about 1870 Way relocated with his family to North Carolina for health reasons. He settled in Grace, Buncombe County, where he began a long and fruitful career as an educator and school administrator. Aside from teaching in the local schools, Way also served as a postmaster, county school examiner, school board superintendent, and deputy clerk. He remained in Buncombe County until his death on February 5, 1898.

Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen, May 22, 1898. Charles Burr Way (b. November 4, 1832, d. February 5, 1898) (, accessed October 23, 2014. Clarksville Standard, February 21, 1863. Fayetteville (North Carolina) Observer, March 17, 1898. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Charles Way (, accessed October 23, 2014. Waco Tribune Herald, May 20, 1934. Waco Weekly Southerner, June 8, 1859.


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Ninth Legislature (1861-1863)
  • Tenth Legislature (1863-1864)
  • House

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

R Matt Abigail and Aragorn Storm Miller, “Way, Charles Burr,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: