BEVILLE, ALEXANDER ARCHER

T. Bradford Willis
Alexander Archer Beville (1841–1930).
Alexander Archer Beville (1841–1930) practiced dentistry in Waco beginning in 1870. Courtesy T. B. Willis Photograph Collection in partnership with The Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas Libraries.
Dental Instruments of Alexander Archer Beville.
Mother-of-pearl dental instruments (made by S. S. White) and used by Alexander Archer Beville in his practice of dentristry in Waco. The instruments were preserved by Beville's granddaughter, Jane Katherine Beville, and purchased by the author at her estate sale in 2007. Photograph by T. Bradford Willis.

BEVILLE, ALEXANDER ARCHER (1841–1930). Alexander Archer Beville, early Texas dentist, was born on July 11, 1841, in Amelia County, Virginia. He was the son of Alexander and Catherine (Walthall) Beville. During the Civil War, Beville enlisted as a private on July 20, 1861, at Wytheville, Virginia. A member of Company C, Fifty-first Virginia Infantry Regiment, he served as a clerk for the brigade commander, and, according to his own description on a Confederate pension application, on August 25, 1864, he was wounded in the foot by a bullet at the battle of Leetown.

After the Civil War, Beville married Margaret Jane Keister in Blacksburg, Virginia, on December 24, 1867. They had two sons and two daughters, but one son and one daughter died in infancy. The family moved to Waco, Texas, in 1870. According to several sources, Beville, was the first dentist to permanently reside and practice in Waco. After fellow dentist William R. Clifton arrived in Waco about 1871, he and Beville formed a dental partnership which lasted one year. In 1876 Beville’s office was located at 49½ Austin Street. Beville’s son Alexander Jacob graduated from the dental department of the University of Maryland in 1892 and then joined his father in the practice of dentistry in Waco. Their office was located at 401½ Austin Avenue.

Grave marker of Alexander Archer Beville.
Grave marker of Alexander Archer Beville. In 2008 the author obtained a granite grave marker from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the stone was erected at Beville's gravesite at Oakwood Cemetery, Waco. Photograph by T. Bradford Willis.

Alexander Archer Beville was one of the organizers of the Texas Dental Association and served on its executive committee. On September 1, 1873, he was elected secretary of the Texas Dental Association. He was elected second vice-president of the association in May 1887 and served on its finance committee. In 1894 he was elected president of the Texas Dental Association.

Active in the community, Beville was a charter member of the Austin Avenue Methodist Church of Waco and was a member of the Pat Cleburne Camp and the local Masonic lodge. He was retired well before 1920 when he was listed on the census as sharing a household with his son and family. Alexander Archer Beville died at his residence, 1712 Austin Avenue, on October 16, 1930, and was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery of Waco.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James A. Davis, 51st Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg: H. E. Howard, 1984). Buckley B. Paddock, History of Central and Western Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1911). Walter C. Stout, The First Hundred Years: A History of Dentistry in Texas (Dallas: Egan, 1969). Waco Daily Examiner, May 4, 1887. Waco Times-Herald, October 17, 1930; December 23, 1957. Waco Tribune-Herald, April 7, 2012.

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Handbook of Texas Online, T. Bradford Willis, "BEVILLE, ALEXANDER ARCHER ," accessed November 19, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbevi.

Uploaded on May 8, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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