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FEWEL, WILLIAM JOHNSON (1846–1921). William Johnson Fewel, soldier and businessman, son of Robert William and Louisa Marion (Crawford) Fewel, was born at Greensboro, North Carolina, on August 7, 1846. At age sixteen he left Princeton College and enlisted in the North Carolina infantry during the Civil War. He fought with distinction and was granted a captaincy, though the commission was never confirmed because of Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender. After the war, Fewel moved to Missouri and served as a major on the staff of Gen. Perry Catron of the United Confederate Veterans. There he married Euphemia Carrie Catron, cousin to Senator Thomas B. Catron of New Mexico. They had three children. Fewel arrived in El Paso a few months ahead of the railroad in 1881 and soon became one of its most active citizens. He organized the El Paso Coke and Gas Company, the first plant to supply the town with lights. He then organized the town's first volunteer fire-fighting company, built the first brick office building, built a structure to house the State National Bank (the oldest financial institution in El Paso), and organized the town's first streetcar company (mule drawn). From 1905 to 1907 Fewel served as a city councilman; he was instrumental in initiating the first street-paving program in El Paso. He died in that city on December 13, 1921. A street in Sunset Heights, a historic residential area in El Paso, memorializes his name.


C. L. Sonnichsen, Pass of the North: Four Centuries on the Rio Grande (2 vols., El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1968, 1980). Owen P. White, Out of the Desert: The Historical Romance of El Paso (El Paso: McMath, 1924).

Herb Marsh, Jr.


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

Herb Marsh, Jr., "FEWEL, WILLIAM JOHNSON," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.