Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Jeanette H. Flachmeier
William Cameron
William Cameron. Courtesy of the Texas Transportation Archive. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

CAMERON, WILLIAM (1834–1899). William Cameron, businessman, was born on a farm near Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland, on January 11, 1834, the son of John and Isabella Cameron. He attended college at Dundee and served three years as an apprentice in a lawyer's office before 1852, when he immigrated to the United States. He subsequently worked in Illinois and Missouri and in 1860 became construction foreman for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. At the outbreak of the Civil War he organized a militia at Sedalia, Missouri. He was captured in the battle of Springfield on August 10, 1861, sent to St. Louis, and later paroled. In 1864 he married Letitia Stewart of Pleasantown, Missouri, and settled in Sedalia. The couple had two children. About 1865 Cameron contracted with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad to supply ties and construction timber. He built his first retail lumberyard at Warrensburg, Missouri, in 1867 and continued to establish yards along the railroad line as it advanced to the southwest.

Grave of William Cameron
Grave of William Cameron. Courtesy of T. Bradford Willis.
Grave of William Cameron
Grave of William Cameron. Courtesy of T. Bradford Willis.

In 1871 he moved to Denison, Texas, and in 1872, in partnership with J. S. Mayfield, established yards at Denison and Dallas. Mrs. Cameron died at Denison in 1873, and on September 1, 1875, Cameron married Flora Ann Berry of Little Rock, Arkansas; they became parents of three children, one of whom, William W. Cameron, carried on the business after his father's death. On August 1, 1876, Cameron opened a yard at Waco, where he made his home and headquarters after 1878. By 1890 the William Cameron Company had more than sixty retail lumberyards. Cameron entered the sawmill and timber business in 1885 with organization of the Texas Lumber Company to secure virgin timberlands in East Texas and Louisiana. Between 1885 and 1897 he expanded also into the grain and flour mill business. He built mills at Fort Worth and Waco and elevators along the line of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway. Cameron was a director of the First National Bank of Waco, the Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans, and the Southern National Bank of New York. He died at Morgan City, Louisiana, on February 6, 1899.


R. J. Tolson, A History of William Cameron and Company (Waco: Cameron, ca. 1920). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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:

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, Jeanette H. Flachmeier, "CAMERON, WILLIAM," accessed December 09, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on February 5, 2018. 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...