William A. Archer was the son of the Rev. Philmer Wesley Archer (b. 1820) and his wife, Mary Susan Compton. The Reverend Archer was a member of the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for some years was a trustee of Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland, VA. He and his family served the church in Arkansas in 1870-1871, later moving to Texas. (Jewell; Lafferty; Preston)
William was born in Chesterfield County, VA. He graduated from Randolph-Macon College in June 1862. It was the final graduating class before the college closed for the duration of the war in 1863. He enlisted as a private in Company A of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry (the Boydton Cavalry). He was captured at the end of April 1863, and was imprisoned in Old Capital Prison in Washington, D.C., and then in Fort Delaware, DE. He was paroled in May 1863.
After the Civil War, William Archer attended the medical school of the University of Virginia in session 45 (1868-1869). He began a medical practice in Chesterfield County, but moved to Houston, Texas, where he practiced for many years. (Preston) In the 1870 U.S. Census, William Archer was still in Virginia, but by 1880, both P. W. Archer and William A. Archer were living in Houston, Texas. (1870 & 1880 U.S. Census)
Dr. Archer married Virginia Musidora Tilghman (1844-1912) in 1867, and the couple had six children, two of whom died in infancy. Their surviving children were Dr. Minnie Clifton Archer (the first woman physician in the Texas State Medical Association), Frances Ella Archer, Mary Virginia Archer, and Dr. William Edward Archer. (Brandl; Jackson)
Mrs. Archer died in 1912 of pneumonia. (Texas State Journal of Medicine, 1912) Within a few days, Dr. Minnie C. Archer, who had been nursing her mother, died of the same disease. (Medical Record, 1912; Red) Dr. William A. Archer died in Houston, TX in 1922, (Texas Deaths) reportedly of “senility” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. and Mrs. Archer and their daughters Minnie and Frances are buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, TX. Their daughter Mary Virginia (Archer) Henderson is buried in Buena Vista Burial Park in Brownsville, Texas. Dr. William E. Archer died in Puerto Rico and presumably is buried there. (Findagrave)
- 1870-1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
- Archer gravesites, Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, TX. Findagrave.com
- Brandl, Betty. Posting re: Virginia Musidora Tilghman, Dec. 17, 2010, quoting excerpt from the “Tilghman/Tillman Family Register 1225-1945, p.90.”
- Caknipe, John, Jr. Randolph Macon College in the Early Years: Making Preachers, Teachers and Confederate Officers, 1830-1868. Jefferson, NC, 2015.
- “Deaths [Dr. William A. Archer].” Journal of the American Medical Association, v.79, no.7, p. 573.
- Irby, Richard. History of Randolph-Macon College, Virginia. Richmond, VA, 189?
- Jackson, T. T. “Memorial address.” Texas State Journal of Medicine, v.8, June 1912, p. 48.
- Jewell, Horace. History of Methodism in Arkansas. Little Rock, AR, 1892, p. 421.
- Lafferty, John James. Sketches of the Virginia Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Richmond, VA, 1880, p.134.
- “News of the Week [Obituary of Dr. Minnie C. Archer].” Medical Record. March 2, 1912, p. 427.
- Preston, Laurie. “William Allin Archer, Class of 1862.” in The Men of Randolph-Macon College and the Civil War [website] Sep. 30, 2013.
- Red, George Plunkett. The Medicine Man in Texas. Houston, TX, 1930, p. 104.
- Schele de Vere, Maximilian. Students of the University of Virginia; a semi-centennial catalogue. Baltimore, MD, 1878.
- “Society News.” Texas State Journal of Medicine, v.7, March 1912, p. 312.
- “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K3CF-6WR : 5 December 2014), P W Archer in entry for William Allin Archer, 06 Jul 1922; citing certificate number 20634A, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,074,633.
- Texas Physicians Historical Biographical Database. [database online] Dallas, TX: University of Texas. Southwest Medical Center, Health Sciences Digital Library and Learning Center, c2017. http://library.utsouthwestern.edu/doctors/doctors.cfm?alpha=A