Optional page text here. Dr. Edwin Pinckney Becton

Dr. Edwin Pinckney Becton

  For some reason today I felt compelled to do some research on the Becton family. Though I haven’t my personal records with me, due to geographical reasons, I still had the convenience of the Internet to guide me through this excursion. There is one figure in the Becton family who has always fascinated me. Though the only things I knew of Dr. Edwin Pinckney Becton were his services in the CSA during the Civil War as a medic and his subsequent profession in the medical field, the rest of this man remained a mystery. After doing some searching I found a wealth of information on this incredible man; a man who was held in high regard by his peers, (including several Texas governors), one of whom made a contribution to his obituary in 1901.

In his 66 years on this earth, E.P. Becton left an impact that was widely felt not only in his community but also the state. Several authors have written about him, including Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men in Texas, (1890), and George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C.] Red, The Medicine Man in Texas, (1930). Both articles, which I have included in this email as attachments, portray E.P. Becton as a man of dignity and passion for his life’s work/calling.

I feel I have done all I can on the internet in regards to my search for information. However my work is not yet done; rather it remains in its most infant stage. I have discovered that there is also a file on hand at the University of Texas’ Center for American History which includes original documents from E.P. Becton’s life including letters written to his first wife Mary Eliza Dickson, (who died in 1866), while he was away at war, as well as documents from his term as a member of Texas Legislation.

The first link will connect you to the University of Texas’ Center for American History website. It is a description of the manuscripts that they have on file at the Center. These can only be accessed in Austin, not online. E.P. Becton’s file is 2 inches thick.


The second link takes you to an interactive scan of a book entitled Types of Successful Men in Texas, (mentioned earlier). There is a 6 page spread on Dr. Becton, which includes an incredible speech he made in 1886 to the Texas State Medical Association during a dark period of its existence. The author nearly credits Dr. Becton for re-energizing the association and saving it through his words of wisdom and motivation. Reading his speech gave me chills.


The third link will show an excerpt from the book entitled The Medicine Man in Texas, (also mentioned earlier). This short two page article is a reflection of his life.


The third link provided includes the history of the 22nd Texas Infantry Regiment which Dr. Becton served in during the Civil War as its surgeon. This page, which also includes E.P. Becton’s name, gives a brief description on his regiment’s engagements in the conflict, (which were primarily focused in Arkansas and Louisiana).


Furthermore, I have attached a photograph of the man himself, (which is also displayed in the second link-- Types of Successful Men in Texas), as well as a copy of his obituary from The Arlington Journal, dated January 17, 1901. The photograph definitely gives away his Becton traits. I personally see a striking resemblance, (mainly in his eyes and nose), to that of Paw-paw’s father. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed compiling it.

Thursday January 17, 1901


The Superintendent of the Blind Asylum Departs This Life.

Dr. Edwin Pinckney Becton, superintendent of the State Asylum for the Blind, died at 1:30 o’clock Monday afternoon from an attack of la grippe. Dr. Becton was born in Gibson county, Tennessee, June 27, 1834, and came to San Augustine county, Texas, in 1841 with his father and mother, the former being a well-known Presbyterian minister. The family afterward lived in Nacogdoches , Rusk and Cherokee counties. Dr. Becton was graduated in medicine at the University of Tennessee in 1857. He enlisted in the Confederate army in 1862 and served as surgeon of the Twenty-second Texas regiment. After the war he located in Hopkins county. He was unalterably opposed to the liquor traffic, and took the stump for the Prohibition party in 1877. In 1857 he was married to Miss Mary Eliza Dickson, who died in 1866, leaving three children—namely, Mrs. J. L. Wortham, now of this city; Mrs. J. J. Nunnaly of Fort Worth, and Dr. Joseph Becton. Two children of the second marriage with Mrs. Olivia L. Smith—namely, Mrs. Ellie B. McDannell and E. B. Becton, Jr.—survive. His third wife also survives him. Dr. Becton was a member of the Presbyterian church, a Mason, Odd Fellow and Knight of Pythias. He was superintendent of the blind asylum for six years.
Gov. Sayers was very much affected by the news of Dr. Becton’s demise. “He was in office when I came in, and I kept him,” said the governor. “No other man in the state was so well fitted for the place. Not only was he thoroughly competent to fill the position, but his great sympathy for the unfortunates in his charge and unvarying treatment of them made him suitable for the state.”

Submitted by Drew Becton




Texans in the Civil War