Whitenton, William Maynard (1867–1929)

By: John C. Henderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

William Maynard Whitenton, railroad man, was born in Victoria County, Texas, on September 22, 1867, and moved in 1873 to Belton, where he was raised by relatives after the death of his parents in 1875. In 1882 he went to work as a team driver and section hand for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Company (Katy) in Temple. When the new station opened at Holland, he transferred to learn telegraphy, then returned to Temple in May 1883 as night telegraph operator. He moved to Fort Worth in March 1884 and was promoted to dispatcher on September 1, 1885. In 1890 he moved to El Paso to work for the Southern Pacific. After two years he moved to Marshall to work for the Texas and Pacific, and then to New Orleans, where he was dispatcher and, later, chief dispatcher for the T&P. He moved to Mexico in 1898 and worked for a year with the Mexican Central Railroad. On October 1, 1899, he moved to Shawnee, Oklahoma, as night telegrapher for the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad. He was subsequently promoted to dispatcher, chief dispatcher, trainmaster, and, after the purchase of the Choctaw road by the Rock Island in 1902, superintendent. On December 1, 1909, he was promoted to manager of the Southern and Choctaw districts of the Rock Island. He became general manager on January 1, 1911. He left the Rock Island in 1914 to become an operating expert for the Chicago Association of Commerce and served on its committee investigating smoke abatement and electrification of railroad terminals. Whitenton returned to the Katy operating department in Dallas on January 1, 1917. In 1923, after reorganization of the Katy from receivership, he was promoted to vice president in charge of operations for the new Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company, where he served until his resignation. In Highland Park, he was a director of the Republic National Bank, active in the development of the Texas Children's Hospital, and the building committee chairman of the Highland Park Methodist Church. He was a Mason, a Shriner, and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Whitenton died on December 11, 1929, and was survived by his wife, Annie May (Winslow), and a sister, Fannie Powell.

Dallas Morning News, December 11, 1929. V. V. Masterson, The Katy Railroad and the Last Frontier (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952).

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

John C. Henderson, “Whitenton, William Maynard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/whitenton-william-maynard.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995

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