While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »

ANDERSON, WILLIAM T. [1859-1934]

Kharen Monsho

ANDERSON, WILLIAM T. (1859–1934). William T. Anderson, clergyman and physician, was born a slave in Seguin, Texas, on August 20, 1859. During the Civil War he and his mother moved to Galveston, where he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The congregation sponsored him at Wilberforce University in Ohio for three years, and he received a theology certificate from Howard University in 1886. In 1888 he graduated from the Homeopathic Medical College of Cleveland. He then pastored AME congregations in Toledo, Urbana, Lima, and Cleveland, Ohio. In 1897 President William McKinley appointed Anderson chaplain of the Tenth United States Cavalry, with the rank of captain. In April 1898 the regiment departed for the Chickamauga area from its headquarters at Fort Assinniboine, Montana. Anderson remained behind and is believed to be one of the first black officers to command an American military post. On July 24, 1898, he joined the Tenth near Santiago, Cuba, where he treated the sick for fever and dysentery. After the war he coedited Under Fire with the Tenth Cavalry (1899, 1969), a book about the heroism of black soldiers in the war based on eyewitness accounts.

From mid-1899 to 1902 the regiment occupied Manzanillo, Cuba. In Cuba and later in Nebraska, Anderson helped enlisted men organize a regimental YMCA as a means to engage in self-help, address issues of concern, and discuss racial matters. In April 1907 he and the regiment were sent to Fort William McKinley, near Manila, Philippines. Anderson was promoted to major in August 1907 and commanded the United States Morgue.

On January 10, 1910, he retired because of a disability caused by a fever contracted in Cuba in 1898. He returned to Wilberforce and worked as an accountant and secretary to the bishop in the Third Episcopal District. Anderson died in Cleveland on August 21, 1934. He was survived by his wife Sada J. Anderson, who was also active in the AME church. An American Legion post was named for him in the Cleveland area.

Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: Norton, 1982).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Kharen Monsho, "ANDERSON, WILLIAM T. [1859-1934]," accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fanzq.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...