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Alexander Thomson Letter

  • US TxAM-C 37
  • Collection
  • 1832-08-05

The Alexander Thomson letter is dated August 5, 1832, from Texas, Austin's Colony. Addressed to "Mr. Wm. D. Thomson, Giles County, Tennessee, Cornerville P.O.," with the salutation "My dear son," and signed "your Aff. Father, Alexs. Thomson."

The text of the letter recounts recent events in Austin's colony which, in retrospect, have a direct bearing on the brewing struggle for independence of the colony from Mexico. Most noteworthy is the account of the early revolt of Anglo-Texas colonists against the Mexican government's steady encroachment on the freedom of colonists to conduct free trade or encourage further immigration into Texas from the United States.

In the letter, Thomson details the build-up of hostilities between Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn, born in Virginia, but in service to Mexico, who was made commander of Fort Anahuac.

Noteworthy also in the letter are the expressions of loyalty and admiration shown toward General Antonio López de Santa Anna by the colonists, who saw him as championing their rights in the condemnation of Bradburn, who was known to be a supporter of the hated General Anastacio Bustamante. Bustamante, who had been the dictator of Mexico since January 1830, was now involved with Santa Anna and his allies in a fierce civil war. (see general note)

As the Thomson letter records vividly, the Texas colonists threw their support to Santa Anna, believing him to favor their freedom to enforce their own laws and maintain their own system of trade and civil courts. The letter records Stephen Austin's whole-hearted support of Santa Anna and Thomson's encomium on Santa Anna as "a true republican ... determined not to lay down his arms until republicanism prevails," rings ironically optimistic in the face of events only a few years later, culminating in the bitter defeat of the colonists by Santa Anna at the Alamo, and the equally bitter final defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto, assuring Texas's independence from Mexico.

Accompanying the letter are three other items.
A sepia-toned picture apparently reproduced from an oil painting. The picture is pasted inside a dark brown oval paper matting on a piece of cardboard measuring about 20 cm by 15 cm. The image measures about 13 cm by 7 cm. Though the original painting is as yet unidentified, "Alexander Thomson" is written on the back of the cardboard in pencil.

A sheet of letterhead stationery for the "St. Louis Southwestern Railway Lines, St. Louis 2, Mo.," with the logo for the "Cotton Belt Route," and below that "F. W. Green, President." On this much-folded piece of letterhead is an undated and unsigned biography of Alexander Thomson handwritten in pencil.

A photocopy (circa 1980) of a booklet originally prepared by Ralston P. Haun in Coleman, Tex. around 1936, which includes a transcription of the August 5, 1832 letter, as well as other family letters and papers. According to the copy of an explanatory note appended to the booklet, dated May 1, 1980, and signed Jim Glass of Houston, Tex., one of the three copies made by Haun was given to Ana Gardner Thomson and passed down to her granddaughter Ana Haun Frómen, thence apparently to Gardner Osborn. The booklet includes transcriptions of five other family letters and two memoirs. Though speculated upon in the Glass note, the current disposition of the other letters and papers is still unverified.

Thomson, Alexander, 1785-1863

Cavitt Family Papers

  • US TxAM-C 805
  • Collection
  • circa 1870s-post 1900s

The collection consists of personal correspondence and documents of J. F. Cavitt and other documents of significant importance. Included is the correspondence of and articles about Ann Cavitt Armstrong, that sheds a light on the early settlement period of Texas. Financial documents also shed a light on the early history of Texas, including court documents and receipts of slave purchases.

Cavitt, Joseph Franklin

Clyde McQueen Collection

  • TxAM-CRS C000045
  • Collection
  • 1944-1999

This collection consists of the research collection McQueen built and used to write Black Churches in Texas. A Guide to Historic Congregations (Texas A&M University Press, 2000).

The contents consist mainly of "Texas County Historical Black Church" information sheets, each listed as an "inventory" in the finding guide, accompanied by related church history materials including church worship service programs, also called orders of worship; church homecoming and anniversary publications; handwritten and typed letters mostly regarding church history; newspaper clippings about historic congregations and members; notes about the history and location of churches and contact persons in congregations; business cards for contacts; published church histories; photocopies from published books about related counties, cities, and congregations; Texas county maps; color slides, photographic prints and negatives of church cornerstones, existing church buildings, Texas Historical Markers, and congregation members.

Also present are photocopies of newspaper clippings covering African American religious issues and manuscript drafts for McQueen's book, many of which are heavily annotated by McQueen.

The inventories and related church history materials were amassed by data collection teams organized by McQueen and also collected by McQueen himself. Norris Braly, a member of the Burleson County Historical Committee, documented the first church history in February 1988. McQueen documented the last congregation on August 24, 1997.

Most of the church worship service programs are laser printed. However, there are a few earlier documents that are photocopies of mimeographed sheets, and a few that were professionally printed. When the word "typed" is used to describe a church history, it means that the history was not professionally printed.

Variant congregation names exist within the documents (for example, Macedonia First Baptist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church). For the purpose of this finding guide, we have chosen to use the form of the congregation name given in Black Churches in Texas. Files exist within the collection for congregations that do not appear in Black Churches in Texas because exact organization dates could not be determined at the time of publication. Conversely, not every church listed in McQueen's book has a folder in the collection (for example Colored Methodist Episcopal Church of Sweeny in Brazoria County).

McQueen used different versions of the inventory form to document the churches. Though the information requested is the same, the format may differ. McQueen also copyrighted many of his slides, and so most of them bear handwritten copyright information.

McQueen, Clyde, 1926

E. M. "Buck" Schiwetz Collection

  • TxAM-CRS 312
  • Collection

This collection contains letters, magazine and newspaper articles, magazines, prints, and other materials documenting the work of artist Edward Muegge "Buck" Schiwetz, as both a commercial and fine artist.

His sketches and watercolors are featured in a vast majority of the print material in the collection, from Christmas cards to sketchbooks to fine prints.

Rather than focusing on Schiwetz's life and his time at Texas A&M, the collection pays most attention to his art career and people's opinion of Schiwetz as an artist in the traditional sense of the definition.

Eugene Butler Collection

  • TxAM-CRS 101
  • Collection
  • 1924-1987; Undated

This collection includes speeches, editorials, and articles written by Eugene Butler, dating from 1927 through 1987. These documents deal with a broad spectrum of issues of the day from Prohibition to bussing but focus primarily on agricultural topics.

Also contained in the collection are many Progressive Farmer articles and editorials, as well as correspondence. There are three complete issues of the magazine in the collection; one oversize and two in folders.

Other items in the collection include extensive material on the Progressive Farmer Company, cotton, and the Progressive Farmer Master Farm Family Award and individual winners.

Butler, Eugene

Hernan Contreras Papers

  • US TxAM-C 25
  • Collection
  • 1852-1993

This collection contains correspondence throughout the life of Hernan H. Contreras, both personal and professional, descriptions of his family home, a warranty deed on property owned by the Contreras family in Starr County, a map of these lots, photographs of family and coworkers in the U.S. Department of Immigration office in Starr County, an autograph book from his public school career, utility bills, receipts, junk mail, and oil and gas leases.

The collection also contains a multitude of papers from Mr. Contreras' wife's family, particularly those of her father, Casamiro Perez Alvares. The contents of these papers include oil and gas leases, utility bills, newspaper articles, correspondence with the U.S. Marshal's office in Galveston, subpoenas, arrest warrants, witness testimonies, receipts, government bulletins, poll tax receipts, land and city tax receipts, family photographs, marriage licenses, wedding invitations, funeral notices, personal letters, business letters, bank statements, checks, deposits, Christmas cards, a pamphlet on communism, a report card, ration sheets from World War I, Letters to the Editor of Newsweek magazine, articles on Estela Contreras' run for political office, and a picture of Estela Contreras from 1993. There is also a collection of reels accompanying all the paper items.

Contreras, Hernan, 1902-197?

Las Moras Ranch Collection

  • TxAM-CRS C000046
  • Collection
  • 1869-1913

This collection consists chiefly of correspondence regarding the Runge family of Galveston, Tex. and Menard, Tex., including Henry Runge, his sons Henry J. Runge and Louis Hermann Runge, their cousin Julius F. Runge, as well as family members in Hannover, Ger., including heirs Hans Eyl and his wife Meta Eyl; German immigrant and Texas businessman Walter Tips (1841-1911) who, after the death of Henry Runge, had formed the Las Moras Ranch Company (December 21, 1879) with his wife's aunt Julia Runge, wife of Henry Runge, and Runge's sons Henry J. Runge, and Louis H. Runge; German Emigration Company lands, lawyers and law firms in Austin, Tex. and San Antonio, Tex., including C. A. Goeth, the firm of Webb & Goeth, Adolph Goeth, the business partner of Walter Tips and brother of C. A. Goeth.

Also present are: legal documents, including deeds, wills, powers of attorney; some ranch operations records, including ranch inventories, accounting ledgers, and handwritten notes. These papers record the operations and transfers of ownership of over 130,000 acres of property, principally in the Texas counties of Comal, San Saba, Tom Green, Concho, and Menard, collectively known as the Las Moras Ranch.

Beyond the acquisition, operation, and ultimate liquidation of this ranch property, however, an interesting part of Texas history, that of the Adelsverien or German Emigration Company, and early German immigrant settlement are illuminated through the documents in the collection.

The collection series reflect the history of the ranch from its foundation until its sale in 1913.

  • Series 1 begins with an 1867 legal document showing a transfer of ownership of many thousands of acres of land from Hermann Arnold Henry (Heinrich) Runge (1821-1861) of Funchal, Madiera, Portugal to his brother and business partner, Henry Runge (1816-1873). Henry Runge paid for the land in American Gold. Other documents in the papers include a very large judgment against the Adelsverien or German Emigration Company, a copy of the lengthy handwritten "Last Will of Henry Runge," probated April 2, 1873, and that of his wife, Julia, dated March 23, 1896.
  • Subsequent documents in Series 2-Series 4 of the papers highlight the operation and eventual liquidation in 1913 of the Las Moras Ranch, including transcontinental communications between Germany and Texas among heirs to the Runge fortune. Several of these family letters scattered through the papers may be particularly difficult to translate since they are written in Kurrentschrift, a Gothic handwriting style.
  • Playing important roles in the later transactions concerning the ranch properties were the sons of Henry Runge (1816-1873): Henry J. Runge (1859-1922), Louis Hermann Runge (1861-1936), and his nephew Julius F. Runge (1851-1906). Henry J. Runge and Julius F. Runge were financial advisors, while Louis Runge served as the ranch manager and lived on the Las Moras Ranch property. Walter E. Tips (1841-1911), another German immigrant, Texas Senator, and successful hardware merchandiser, who married into the Runge family, along with C. A. Goeth (b. 1869), a San Antonio attorney, were involved in the ranch operations and legal issues concerning the eventual dispersal of Las Moras Ranch property.

Las Moras Ranch, 1869-1913

McDaniel Family Papers

  • US TxAM-C 1292
  • Collection
  • 1855-1916

This collection contains personal letters of the McDaniel family from 1855-1916 along with civil war letters from Confederate soldiers. The letters originate from the McDaniel family in Texas and Mississippi during and after the civil war. Many of the items in the collection are fragile, and transcriptions were made of the letters. This collection also contains family recipes, remedies, along with stereoscopic view plates.

The McDaniel family spans across Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. Julius and Minerva (Rodgers) McDaniel were farmers who lived in Ben Hur, Texas during the 1800s.

Mercurio Martinez Papers

  • TxAM-CRS 29
  • Collection
  • 1767-1963

The Mercurio Martinez Papers (1797-1963 (bulk: 1910-1963)) include correspondence, copies of legal documents such as wills, deeds, affidavits and courtroom briefs, maps, a few photographs, field notes for land surveys, genealogical charts, accounts of family and regional history by Mercurio Martinez, and historical accounts from other sources, principally newspapers. There are also financial records of various kinds including tax records, bills and receipts, books of check stubs and account sheets.

The vast majority of the papers relate to families, places and events in Zapata County. Webb County is also well represented, as is the region surrounding the town of Guerrero, Tamaulipas located on the south bank of the Rio Grande opposite Zapata County, Texas. A few papers deal with families, places and events in Starr County and further south in the Rio Grande Valley and a few files deal with Mexican, United States and world affairs. Unless otherwise noted in the inventory, files deal with Zapata or Webb County matters.

The oldest original papers date from the latter part of the nineteenth century and include such documents as Mercurio Martinez's Texas Teachers Certificate, 1898 (Series 1-3/4); a General Land Office map of Zapata County, 1885, (Series 3-14/25); and a certificate appointing Proceso Martinez, Sr., Mercurio's father, to the Zapata County Board of Appeals, 1870, (Series 3-25/23). There are also copies and translations of nineteenth-century documents including partition deeds, deeds of sale, birth records, and maps. Accounts of family and local history written by Martinez in the 1950s and early 1960s deal with events dating back to the Spanish settlements along the lower Rio Grande in the 1750s. Genealogies are generally traced back to the first colonists to arrive in the region. Family records, therefore, cover a time span of more than 200 years, from the settlers who arrived on the banks of the Rio Grande in about 1750 to their descendants in the early 1960s. Each decade from 1900 onward is represented in the papers. There are more files from the 1950s than any other single decade.

Among the most important files in the collection are those on the relocation of the town of Zapata due to the construction of Falcon Dam on the Rio Grande in the early 1950s, the salvation of the community of San Ygnacio from destruction during this period, the accounts of family history and genealogy from Zapata County, and the papers related to the division of lands between descendants of original holders of Spanish grants and sales of family lands. Maps, genealogies, and legal documents provide a clear picture of the rapidity with which even extensive landholdings can be reduced to tracts hardly adequate to support the families of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original owners. Reconsolidation of holdings through the purchase of interest from siblings and through cousin marriage are also documented. It is also possible to trace shifts in settlement and land-use patterns. For example, the original grantees of porciones along the Rio Grande held land in long narrow blocks extending inland from the river. Over the generations, these blocks were subdivided among heirs and parts of them were sold outside the families. Through separate inheritance from parents, through marriage, and through purchase, individuals came to own small pieces of land located in widely separated tracts. This pattern of dispersed holdings, each of economically inefficient size and too far apart to be worked as units, has been noted for many peasant societies. These papers clearly reveal the processes whereby such a land-holding pattern developed out of the more economically efficient block holdings within a few generations. The most completely documented tract of land is the vast Jose Vasquez Borrego Grant made in 1750. It was later divided into the Dolores, Corralitos, and San Ygnacio Subdivisions. The first settlement was made at the Hacienda de Dolores on August 22, 1750. This settlement was abandoned, apparently during Indian troubles in the early 19th century. A settlement or Rancho of Dolores was founded nearby in the Dolores subdivision of the Borrego Grant by Cosme Martinez in 1859. Meanwhile, the town of San Ygnacio had been founded in the San Ygnacio subdivision in 1830. Until the early 20th century, an hacienda in the Corralitos subdivision was occupied by members of the Vidaurri family, who were descendants of the original grantee's daughter, Alejandra Vasquez Borrego de Vidaurri.

Also of interest are the Corridos, or ballads, composed by Mercurio Martinez and dealing with dramatic events in Zapata County history such as an escape from prison, a contested election and the destruction of Zapata by the rising waters of Falcon Reservoir.

Martinez, Mercurio, 1876-1965

Mildred Watkins Mears Papers

  • US TxAM-C 192
  • Collection
  • 1946-1963

This collection consists of some correspondence, a significant number of mostly typed manuscript drafts, both published and unpublished, and a printer's galley for her book, Coryell County Scrapbook, published in 1963 by Texian Press of Waco, Texas. Also present are a few newspaper clippings, as well as handwritten and typed research notes for her published book.

The manuscript drafts reveal an engaging blend of scholarship, personal recollection, and anecdotal history chronicling the development of Coryell county from when the area was part of Coahuila, Mexico, through to its formal organization as a county in the state of Texas in 1854. Included is an account of the growth of Fort Hood as a military base in the early 1960s.

Stories are cited from early twentieth-century newspapers recounting Indian skirmishes with pioneering settlers, deeds of cattle rustlers and trail drivers, as well as events surrounding prohibition and various political rivalries. The early days of Fort Gates, now Gatesville, and the later development of Camp Hood, now Fort Hood, one of the nation's largest military installations, are described. Statistical tables and records present expenditures for, and descriptions of, buildings, jails, courthouses, prominent homes, banks, and businesses in Coryell county.

Interspersed among the political and economic accounts of the county's progress are more personal stories of weddings, births, parties, church events, legendary horses, dogs, local heroes, and even the county's centennial celebration in 1954. Mears' relatively unadorned narrative describes in some detail the increasing social, economic, and political prosperity and influence, as well as the setbacks, of Coryell County. Mears' work brings to life frontier Texas culture during the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth century.

Mears, Mildred Watkins

Owen Sherrill Papers

  • TxAM-CRS 262
  • Collection

This collection is UNPROCESSED.

Sherrill, Owen

Roland O. Cox Papers

  • US TxAM-C 1209
  • Collection
  • 1928-1956

The collection includes articles, books on gas measurement, and materials relating to the awards and achievements of Dr. Roland O. Cox.

Cox, Roland O.

Samuel Erson Asbury Papers

  • TxAM-CRS 33
  • Collection
  • 1872-1960

The Samuel Erson Asbury Papers consist of research materials, correspondence, mainly original contemporary letters and copies of the older historical correspondence, Asbury's writings and copies of state and national documents, held in eight boxes and one map case drawer occupying approximately twelve linear feet of shelf space. Asbury's broad range of interests is reflected in the variety of topics contained in these papers. Foremost among them are the files of correspondence, historical documents, articles and research notes concerning various aspects of Texas history.

Also included in the Asbury papers are articles, short stories, essays, plays, poetry, and a Texas Revolution opera written by Asbury; research notes and correspondence on the cultivation of roses and the growing of plants without soil; articles written about Asbury; correspondence with family members; general correspondence; and photographs of Asbury, his family and friends, and North Carolina A & M College.

Asbury, Samuel E. (Samuel Erson), 1872-1962

Santa Rosa Ranch Papers

  • TxAM-CRS 27
  • Collection
  • 1890-1910

This collection consists mainly of correspondence, legal documents, a corporate minute book, and handwritten notes recording the litigation connected with ownership of a large tract of land (89,000 acres) in Hidalgo country known as the "Big Santa Rosa Pasture". Actual litigation took place from 1903-1910.

Individuals involved in the case were: Dillard Rucker Fant and his wife, Lucy Fant; Daniel J. Sullivan; J. C. Sullivan; James V. Upson; Wiliam R. Elliott; Conrad A. Goeth; James Webb; J. M. Chittim; Archie Parr; Kate V. Elliott; G. G. Clifford; A. E. Chavez; J. A. Galligher; W. M. Sanford; Fred Kelly; F. A. McGown; F. W. Church; H. R. Wood; F. Groos and his wife, Hulda Groos. Legal counsel involved in the proceedings were: James E. Webb and Conrad A. Goeth of Webb and Goeth, F. A. McGown of Denman, Franklin & McGown, and R. L. Ball, all based in San Antonio, Texas.

At the onset of the difficulties, D. R. Fant had leased the Big Santa Rosa Pasture to the cattle-raising partnership of Chittim and Parr. J. M. Chittim was a large rancher in South Texas and Archie Parr, was a State Senator popularly known as the Duke of Duval. Based on the large annual rent monies Fant had expected to collect from Chittim and Parr, he then also borrowed money from D. Sullivan of D. Sullivan and Company Bankers (founders and owners of the large South Texas Mariposa Ranch) and, using the same collateral, borrowed more money from the competing F. Groos and Company Bankers (later a founder of Wells Fargo Bank).

When it appears, that Chittim and Parr defaulted on their rent payment for the Big Santa Rosa Pasture to Fant, Fant was then forced to default on his own payments to both banking organizations from whom he had borrowed funds. The bankers, in return, sued and foreclosed on the Big Santa Rosa Pasture.

Through the Santa Rosa Ranch Papers extensive set of legal documents, attorneys' memoranda, telegrams, letters, and financial disclosures, the most absorbing story of Texas land politics unfolds.

Notable among the papers is the Santa Rosa Ranch Minute Book, a ledger volume with handwritten entries detailing the Articles of Incorporation, By-laws and minutes of the first stockholders' meeting of the Santa Rosa Ranch Company. Also present is a manuscript plat map in black and red ink on light blue linen, of the 1905 Maria Rodriguez survey, which has been encapsulated and is housed separately in a Map Case Drawer.

Santa Rosa Ranch

Tom Anderson Papers

  • TxAM-CRS 17
  • Collection
  • 1953-1972

These papers consist of newspaper clippings containing information on income tax reform bills, vocational agriculture, and the Grass Roots Tax Revolt, reprints of the "Straight Talk" editorials from Farm and Ranch magazine, the author's copy of the 1958 third edition of the book Straight Talk, pamphlets, and newspaper articles relating to Tom Anderson.

Anderson, Tom, 1910-2002

W. J. Estelle Collection

  • TxAM-CRS 10
  • Collection
  • 1927-1984; Undated

This collection contains mostly correspondence dating from 1927to 1984; personal office calendars; speeches; criminal justice materials; Huntsville First National Bank materials; and clippings, especially concerning the escape attempt of Fred Carrasco, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Ruiz v. Estelle court case.

Also present are reports, publications, reprints, and photographs relating to the several prison systems with which W. J. Estelle was associated during his career in corrections, some video cassettes, audiotapes, and souvenirs, including buttons, pins, and badges.

Estelle, W.J., 1931