William H. Getzendaner (Dickinson Chronicles)

John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “William H. Getzendaner,” Dickinson Chronicles, http://chronicles.dickinson.edu/encyclo/g/ed_getzendanerWH.htm.
William H. Getzendaner was born of Swiss parents, Abram and Mary E. Getzendaner, in Frederick County, Maryland on May 13, 1834.  He prepared for his undergraduate work at the nearby Frederick Academy, then entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, some fifty miles to the north.  Getzendaner enrolled at Dickinson in 1855 with the class of 1858. He was elected to the Union Philosophical Society and became a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.  Getzendaner graduated with his class and returned to Frederick to continue the law studies he had begun in his final undergraduate year.  Soon after this, he went south and west to Texas.

Getzendaner first arrived in Huntsville, Texas and, after six months, moved to Waxahachie and settled there.  He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1859 and began practice in the town.  When the Civil War broke out, Getzendaner helped recruit Company E of the 12th Texas Cavalry and was elected as lieutenant.  He became quartermaster of the regiment and later served as adjutant general of General W. H. Parson's cavalry brigade.  Getzendaner saw heavy action during the war in more than thirty engagements and was wounded twice.  He returned to Texas and entered banking in 1868, starting a private bank with local Judge J. W. Ferris that eventually was to become the Citizens National Bank of Waxahachie.  Getzendaner served as the bank's president and was also the president and a board member of the Dallas and Waco Railroad.  He became the first mayor of his home city in 1872, and the area sent him to the state senate for four years between 1883 and 1887.  Getzendaner's role as a leading citizen was further cemented when he gave the land for the central park and the library of Waxahachie.

In 1868, Getzendaner married the widow Willa Latimer Neel of Ellis County, Texas. The couple had two children, Willa and Ralph.  His first wife died in 1899, and Getzendaner then married Quincy Davis in November 1901.  William H. Getzendaner died of asthma on May 12, 1909 in Waxahachie.  He was a day short of his seventy-fifth birthday.
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