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Alexander M. Acheson



A history of Texas and Texans, Volume 3 (1914)

By Francis White Johnson, Ernest William Winkler, page 1566



Edited and Brought to Date by EUGENE C. BARKER, Ph. D.


With the Assistance of


To which are added Historical, Statistical and Descriptive Matter pertaining to the important Local Divisions of the State, and biographical accounts of the Leaders and Representative Men of the State in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities.





The successive steps by which Alexander M. Acheson has risen to his present position as chief engineer of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, at Dallas, Texas, are illustrative of the opportunities lying open to the men of progress and action in the great Southwest. Opportunity, however, waits on fitness and capacity, and it is interesting to note the wondrous selection in the sifting out of the fittest from the mass of common material that crowds all avenues of railroad work. Mr. Acheson has risen from a humble position in the field of civil engineering by his own unaided exertions, through capacity and merit, to a high place calling for the exercise of foresight and judgment, and to the management of an important branch of an important transportation line. Mr. Acheson was born at Washington, Washington county, Pennsylvania, July 20, 1858, and is a son of James C. and Mary E. (Mahon) Acheson.

Mr. Acheson was reared and received his early education in the historic town of Washington, situated on what was before the days of railroads the old National Highway, which ran from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, West Virginia. He attended the Washington and Jefferson College, where he took up the study of civil engineering, and during his leisure hours received his early business training in his father's mercantile establishment at Washington. Mr. Acheson was graduated from college in 1879, with the degree of Civil Engineer, and at once embarked upon the practice of his profession in the employ of the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad. Subsequently, he entered the services of the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad, where he was employed in the construction department, and at a later date was engaged with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad. In 1889 Mr. Acheson came to Denison, Texas, as assistant engineer of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, with which he has been connected to the present time. He came to Dallas in 1895, as resident engineer of the road, and in 1906 was considered the logical man for the position of division superintendent, an office which he held until 1909. In that year he became chief engineer of the M. K. & T. for "Texas Lines" and in November, 1912, was promoted to the responsible position of chief engineer of maintenance for the entire road. As a railroad man Mr. Acheson has become known throughout the entire Southwest. The duties and responsibilities of the positions he has held have demanded his entire attention, and he has had neither the time nor the inclination to seek political preferment. He has, however, taken the interest that every good citizen should feel in matters pertaining to the welfare of his adopted place, and his influence has been felt in movements making for progress along all lines. His fraternal connection has been with the Masons, where he has reached the Chapter degree, and he also holds membership in the Phi Kappa Psi, with which he became connected during his college days.

On December 6, 1894, Mr. Acheson was united in marriage with Miss Alice Brown Hanna, daughter of Samuel Hanna, of Denison, an early pioneer of that place and a member of the grocery house of Hanna Platter & Company. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Acheson: Alexander M. Jr., and Sam Hanna. The pleasant family home is situated in Hishland Park.


Dallas Morning News
30 Dec 1926
Page 2

Death Claims A. M. Acheson
Official of Trinity & Sabine Railroad Dies at His Dallas Home.

A. M. Acheson, 68, vice president and chief engineer of the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity & Sabine Railroad died at his home, 3820 Congress Avenue, early Wednesday morning. For many years he had been identified with railway development in Texas and other States.
Funeral services will be held at 10 o'clock at the residence. Dr. T.O. Perrin, pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, will officiate. A special interurban car will bear the body to Denison for burial. Brief services will be held at the Fairview Cemetery in Denison. The car will leave Dallas about 11:45 a.m. and will reach Denison about 2:30 pm.
Mr. Acheson was born at Washington, Pa. on July 20, 1858, the son of a family in which were many notable men. His parents were Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, both his father and mother being natives of Pennsylvania. He was educated in the public schools and Washington and Jefferson College.
In 1880 he entered the railway service as a rodman for the Lake Erie & Western. From 1881 until 1883 he was a levelman for the New York, West Shore & Buffalo. Both of these properties are now part of the New York Central lines. In 1883 he became a transitman for the Pennsylvania System, continuing in this capacity for two years. Then he was engaged in surveys for projected railroads for two years, at the end of which time he became assistant engineer for the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba. After two years' service in this position, he became assistant engineer at Denison and Dallas for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas of Texas; and after holding that position for eleven years, he became resident engineer for the M-K-T of Texas in Dallas. His marriage to Miss Alice Brown Hanna of Denison was soleminized in 1894.
In 1906 he became division superintendent for the Katy. He served in that capacity for three years and then was made chief engineer of the M-K-T of Texas. In 1913 he was made chief engineer of operation for the Katy system and the following year became chief engineer of the system. From 1915 to 1923 he was division superintendant for the Katy at Trinity. Upon the sale of the East Texas properties of the Katy and their formation into the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity & Sabine Railroad, he became chief engineer of that line.
As an engineer for the Katy and W.B.T. & S. Railway Mr. Acheson was instrumental in much constructive work, especially the Katy yards at Denison, Dallas and the Belle Mead yards at Waco and the main line from Smithville to Houston. He was on the locating committee of the Dallas Union Terminal. Mr. Acheson was long convinced of the need for another line from North and Central Texas to East Texas and completed several such surveys both for the Katy and W.B. T. & S.

At the time of his death Mr. Acheson was Republican county chairman for Trinity County. He was a Presbyterian, a Mason and a member of Phi Kappa Psi college fraternity. He was a charter member of Pentagon Lodge no. 1089, A.F. & A. M.
Surviving are his wife, two sons, A. M. Acheson Jr. and Sam H. Acheson; a brother, Val C. Acheson; five sisters, Misses Margaret, Grace, Nellie and Mary Acheson of Washington, Pa.; and Mrs. Madeline Rich of Oil City, Pa..

same page:
Formerly Trinity Superintendent. Trinity, Texas,
Dec 23
Special to the News

The news of the death of A.M. Acheson was received at Trinity at noon Wednesday. Mr. Acheson was for several years superintendent of the M-K-T Railroad circles and for the upbuilding of his town and community. Recently when the M-K-T Railroad was sold to the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity & Sabine Railroad, Mr. Acheson was retained  by the company as civil engineer. 


The Denison Press
June 8, 1945


TIme, in its mutation, takes interesting quirks.  Riding on the U.S. Government boat "The Moulton", named in honor of George Moulton who dreamed so much of a dam and lake above Denison, a group of men from all over were taking a preview of the event Saturday following a staged mock invasion for rehearsal purposes.

B. McDaniel, superintendent of the Denison city schools, remarked to the writer the he recalled when the late Dr. Acheson, who dreamed of navigating Red River when all thought him a dreamy old man who bored most meetings when he got a chance, as they then thought, "How it would please his eyes to see this," he declared.

But time worked a funny angle., for on that boar WAS Alex Acheson Jr., and in person.  He was a blood descendant of the late Dr. A.W. Acheson, and was here to cover the story as a news man from the staff of the Dallas Times-Herald.  And his story was a dandy and appeared on the front page of the Sunday edition of his paper.  And, to make it still more interesting, he was born in Denison.

Speaking of being born in Denison, others were here also at the event and on the boat and remained over Sunday who were born in Denison.  One such person was G.  Rislen, for over twenty years manager of the Ardmorite, Ardmore.  He was born on Chestnut Street, and the old home is standing, he says and he proudly displayed the birthplace to his grown son and nephew, both of the connected with the Ardmore radio station.  Mr. Rislen's mother was a Mrs. Chrisman and the old family home was at 813 W. Chestnut street.

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