Grayson County TXGenWeb
Fairview Cemetery

W. B. Munson
7 Jan 1846 Fulton Co., Illinois
6 Feb 1930  Grayson Co., Texas
Married 3 Sept 1876
Mary Ella Munson
8 Jan 1852 Montevalla, Alabama
24 April 1951 Grayson Co., Texas
D/O Jesse Morgan Newton & Frances Lavina

DENISON - W.B. Munson, 84, capitalist and one of the founders of the city of Denison, died at 5:15 o'clock Thursday afternoon at his home here, surrounded by members of his immediate family.  Death was not unexpected as Mr. Munson had been critically ill for some days.
Funeral services have been announced for Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the family residence conducted by the Rev. C.C. Keller, rector of the Episcopal church.  Pall bearers will be Julian C. Field, F.B. Hughes, J.W. Madden, Frans Kofeldt, Harry Tone and W.C. Green, and Long Tuck and W.R. Brents of Sherman.
Born Jan. 7, 1846, on a farm in Fulton county, Ill., Mr. Munson grew to young manhood in the exacting environment of pioneer rural life.  His first schooling was received in the rural schools of Fulton county.  Later he entered a college at Abington, Ill., for a term of one year.
With the opening of the Agricultural and Mechanical college at Lexington, Ky., (later reorganized as the University of Kentucky) Mr. Munson and his brother T.V. Munson, now deceased, entered the first freshman class and earned their way through school by working at odd jobs, among which was cutting cord wood during Christmas holidays.
After completing the four-year university course in three years, W.B. Munson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in June, 1869 and was the first graduate of the school.  For two years he enjoyed the distinction of being the only alumnus of the university.
In 1871, Mr. Munson came to Texas, first locating at Sherman shere he immediately began the study of law.  At the end of six months of study, he passed the state examination and was formerly admitted to the bar.
Shortly afterward, the M-K-T railway launched negotiations for a Texas terminal.  With Sherman turning the Katy proposal down, Mr. Munson accompanied by railroad agents, came to the present site of Denison and purchased land for the city in whose development he was destined to be a material factor.  Having already opened a real estate and surveying agency at Sherman, Mr. Munson was in a position to assist in platting the city and otherwise nourishing the growth of a then small village.
In 1873 Mr. Munson formed a partnership with Jot Gunter of Sherman, the company being known as Gunter & Munson.  The new firm engaged in real estate business and the surveying and locating of land for railroads and other companies.  The firm became interested in the cattle business operating ranches in Hutchison and Randell counties, which composed ....acres and were stocked with 20,000 head of cattle.  Then the partnership with Mr.....Mr. Munson returned reside temporarily.
Disposing of his cattle interests and dissolving the partnership with Mr. Gunter, he returned to Denison to turn his attention again to real estate.  In this step he formed a partnership with his brother, J.T. Munson, now deceased, in a firm known as Munson and Brother.
The firm of Munson and Brother was incorporated in 1915 as the Munson Realty company, still in operation, of which Mr. Munson has been president since its organization.
At one time he was president of the First National Bank of Denison. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Citizens State Bank which took over affairs of the defunct Denison Bank and Trust company and make good deposits of the latter institution.  Operating under a national charter, this bank today is known as the Citizens National Bank of whose directory Mr. Munson has been a member since the bank was established. His son, W.B. Munson, Jr. is president of the institution.
Among railroad lines which Mr. Munson helped establish were the Denison and Washita Valley railway; Sherman, shreveport and Southern railway, and the D.B. & N.C. all of which were later taken over by the Katy.
Hoping to make Denison the railroad center of North Texas, Mr. Munson secured charters for the building of the Frisco railway from the northeast, and Rock Island and Santa Fe from the northwest.  Due to influences over which he had no control, these roads were never built.  However, he obtained franchise for the Frisco from the north, which line was constructed.
In September, 1876, Mr. Munson was married to Miss Mary Ella Newton of Sherman and following a honeymoon trip to the centennial in Philadelphia, the couple returned to Denison to make their home at the old homestead here.  In 1926 Mr. and Mrs. Munson observed their golden wedding anniversary.
One of the outstanding adventures of Mr. Munson's colorful career was the organization of the Denison cotton Mill company in 1905 after two previous attempts at the project had failed. He has served as president of this company since its establishment.  Mr. Munson also organized the Southwestern Surety company which operated extensively here until merged with the Southern Surety company.
Mr. Munson developed and was president of the Denison Light and Power company and the Eastern Light and Power company which properties were later sold to the Texas Power and Light company.
After his brother, J.T. Munson, deeded 130 acres adjoining the city limits on the north to Denison for a park, Mr. Munson gave an additional 30 acres to the city and personally defrayed the expense of constructing the present lake.  The 50 acres included in Riverside park, northeast of Denison, also represents the gift of Mr. Munson to Denison.
Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Mary Rila Munson; three daughters, Mrs. L.M. Tonkin, McAlester, Okla., Mrs. R.L. McKinney, Little Rock, Ark., and Miss Eloise Munson, Denison; one son, W.B. Munson, Jr., Denison, and twelve grandchildren.


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