William Mills Myers

Submitted by:  Lola Barnett

From The Walnut Springs Hustler
William Mills Myers was born at Montgomery, Alabama, on August 13, 1857,
and died at Portland, San Patricio County, Texas,  on Friday night, October 4,
1935, at the age of 78 years. Special funeral services were held at Sinton, twenty
miles north of Portland, on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 o’clock.  Rev. F. P. Bishop,
pastor of the Sinton church presiding.  Rev. M. H. Keen,  pastor of the Portland
Methodist Church, gave the funeral address.  He was also assisted by Rev.
W. S. Highsmith and Rev. J. E. Lovett, pastors of the Taft and Corpus Christi
South Bluff Methodist Churches, respectively.  Friends from Portland, Corpus
Christ, San Antonio, Brownsville, Taft, and other cities joined the large assemblage
of old friends of Sinton and community in paying a last tribute of respect to the
memory of a good man and former citizen.  Mr. Myers, universally known and
lovingly called “Uncle Billy,” had aided in building the church in which these
services were held and a memorial window stands a memorial to his love and
loyalty to his church while a member there.  The funeral party left Sinton at 5:00
o’clock and drove to San Antonio where they spent the night and came on here
the next day, arriving late Sunday night.  A number of friends awaited them at the
Methodist Church.  The casket was placed near the altar and a vigil kept by friends
during the remainder of the night.  Funeral services were conducted on Monday
morning at 10:00 o’clock in the church he helped to build more than 27 years ago.
 Rev. R. W. Nation, local pastor, was in charge of the services, and Mrs. L. R.
Whiteley directed the music.  Dr. E. B. Hawk, now dean of Theology at Southern
Methodist University, Dallas, and former pastor here during the years of 1909-1910,
and a devoted friend of Mr. Myers, delivered the sermon based on the 14th
chapter of the gospel of John.  With tenderness and great understanding he told
of his association with and lover for “Uncle Billy,” and bore testimony to his
beautiful spirit and undying fidelity to Christ and His church.  A more eloquent
funeral address was never in this city.  Rev. O. C. Crow, pastor of the First
Methodist Church in Brownsville, and a son-in-law of the deceased, spoke briefly
in tribute to the life and character of “the man I loved as I loved no other man
except my own father who died three weeks before.  The floral offerings, which
were beautiful, were banked high along the chancel and about the casket and
spoke in silent but in beautiful eloquence of the high esteem in which Mr. Myers
was held by the hundreds of people of this and other sections of the state.
The remains were laid to rest in the family plat in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Part 2
Mr. Myers was married three times.  His first wife, Miss Lola McKissack to
whom he was married in September, 1881. died April 15, 1905.  Four children
were born to this union, all of whom survive, as follows:  Linna, Now Mrs. O.C.
Crow of Brownsville; William M. Myers, Jr., Joe Allen Myers and Luty, now
Mrs. Lola M. Crow, the latter three of Sinton.  All were present at the funeral.
There are also seven grandchildren.  In July, 1906, Mr. Myers was married to
Miss Anna McKissack, a sister of his former wife.  She died in November, 1910.
On July 23, 1912, he was married to Miss Lillie Mayfield, who survives him
and was present with his children at the memorial services.  Mr. Myers made
his home in Waco from 1881 to 1885.  In Walnut Springs 1885 to 1913.  In the
Sinton community 1913 to 1926,  and in Portland from 1926 until his death.
He spent his entire active life in railroad service, beginning as a “water boy”
carrying water for the shopmen in Hearne and later as a fireman on switch
engines, finally through the line of training as engineer on freight trains to his place
of trust as a passenger engineer, which position he held and honored for more
than 35 years, a total service of 48 years spent as an employee of the H. & T. C.,
The Texas Central and M-K-T lines, “Uncle Billy” was not only a man of great
integrity, dependability and honor, but a deeply religious man as well.  He united
with the Methodist Church in Walnut Springs more than 46 years ago and has
been true to every tenet of his church to the day of translation.  He organized a
Sunday School class here composed of his fellow railroad men, and was president
of the class for several years.  He was Sunday School superintendent at Portland
for a number of years and was always a faithful contributor to the financial
program of the church.  He was known far and wide as a “praying engineer” who
knelt in his cab and prayed for divine guidance and protection before starting
each passenger run.  The story is told of his influence to even the humble porters,
one of whom used to kneel on the outside of the cam and pray as “Uncle Billy”
was praying inside.  A remarkable fact is recorded showing that he had only two
serious accidents during his long service of almost half a century.  On the eight
children, five sons and tree daughters, composing his father’ s family, only one
sister and a brother survive his, as follows:  Mrs. Bessie M. Holt of Waco and
Robert C. Myers of Fort Worth.”