Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


KING, WILLIAM ANTHONY (1868–1961). William Anthony King, physician and public-health leader, son of James A. and Mary (Albert) King, was born in Albertville, Alabama, on November 26, 1868. He moved in 1871 with his family to San Saba, Texas, where his father became a prosperous cattle rancher. After attending public school he entered Centenary College in Lampasas. He studied medicine as an apprentice to a private physician and received his license to practice before he graduated from college. He earned a medical degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1893 and pursued postgraduate studies in the Polyclinic of New Orleans. In 1895 he completed additional studies at the University of Nashville and the New York Polyclinic.

King practiced medicine and surgery in Floresville, Rancho, Cestohowa, Yorktown, and Falls City before settling in San Antonio, where he opened a practice treating skin, genitourinary, and rectal diseases in 1905. He began his career in public health as president of a citizens' group concerned with city sanitation, as a member of the city board of health, and as city physician. He served as San Antonio health officer for thirty years (1912–39 and 1941–44) and instituted many progressive measures. He was instrumental in passing the city's first milk and meat ordinances and a compulsory smallpox-vaccination law. The law, which King rigorously enforced, was contested but sustained by the state Supreme Court. King also established the nurses' division of the health office and successfully promoted the use of street sweepers. During World War I he directed a program to combat venereal disease in San Antonio. In the 1920s he was one of twelve city health officers in the nation selected by the National Public Health Association to attend the World Congress of Public Health.

He was a member of the Texas Medical Association. He served the Bexar County Medical Society as president, as Councilor of the Fifth District, and as secretary and chairman of the Section on Public Health. He was a Mason and a Methodist. King married Myrtle Montgomery on March 17, 1897. The couple had three children. King died at age ninety-two in a San Antonio hospital on September 10, 1961.

Texas State Journal of Medicine 58 (January 1962).
Megan Seaholm

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, Megan Seaholm, "King, William Anthony," accessed October 24, 2016,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.