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MCDAVITT, WILLIAM EARLY (1876–1955). William Early McDavitt, produce merchant, son of Marcellus and Charlotte (Hoey) McDavitt, was born on March 6, 1876, in Auburn, Kentucky. After his early education he attended college in Quincy, Illinois. He came to Texas and set up business at Alvin, where he planted and raised such fruits as figs, peaches, and pears. At Alvin he married Estella Lacy on April 6, 1900, and they had four children. The couple moved to Corsicana, where McDavitt engaged in shipping. News reports about a "Valley of the Nile" located at the southern tip of Texas caused McDavitt to leave for Brownsville in 1904.

In touring the Rio Grande valley he visualized the possibilities of growing vegetables and fruits to be shipped to big markets in the East, Midwest, and elsewhere. With his brother Karl H., he soon developed an extensive packing and shipping business. McDavitt was a pioneer in the shipping of vegetables by railway, steamship, and airplane. In fifty years of active business he sent over 50,000 loaded cars from the valley. He was a member of the United Fruit and Vegetable Association. He helped to organize the Texas Citrus, Fruit, and Vegetable Growers and Shippers, of which he became a director. Shortly before his retirement in 1954 he proposed the organization of the Associated Growers of Brownsville. He died on November 10, 1955, and was buried in Buena Vista Park, Brownsville.


Marcellus McDavitt, William Early McDavitt (MS, Texas Southmost College Archives).

Joe Lindaberry


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

Joe Lindaberry, "MCDAVITT, WILLIAM EARLY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 25, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on September 30, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.