Ben Lee and Rosa Catherine Woolsey Chote Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Dr. Samuel Albert Woolsey was born in Round Rock, Texas on August 20, 1882. Dr. Woolsey was the City of Austin Health Officer from 1913 to 1920, excluding the period he fought overseas in World War I. His first wife Loula (Lula) Hall was born in approximately 1882 in Burnet, Texas. They had two children: Rosa Catherine (b. 1911) and Samuel Jr. (b. 1915). Rosa Catherine graduated from Austin High School in 1927. Loula died in 1932. Dr. Woolsey died on August 29, 1953
Ben Lee Chote was born in 1908 in Austin to E. M. and Minnie Gage Chote. Ben also attended Austin High School and graduated in 1928. Ben married Rosa Catherine Woolsey and they had three children: Richard, James Benjamin and Catherine Diana. He was the Travis County Deputy District Clerk from 1932-1942 and the District Clerk from 1943-1947. Arnold P. Chote (perhaps Ben's uncle or cousin) was also in Travis County government as the Travis County Commissioner for 18 years in the 1940s and 1950s. A. P. died in 1971 and Ben followed in 1974.
The Ben Lee and Rosa Catherine Woolsey Chote Papers is a small collection of material relating to the Woolsey and Chote families. In addition there is an assortment of early Republic of Texas, State of Texas, and Travis County government documents that don't appear to be directly related to either family. Since two members of the Chote family worked in Travis County government it is possible that these documents came into their possession through their positions at the Travis County Courthouse. Or perhaps Ben Lee and Rosa Catherine were collectors of Texas historical documents.
The Chote Family series (1921-1975) consists of two photographs of A. P. Chote with his daughter; a photograph of a Travis County grand jury with Ben Lee as the foreman; a letter to A. P. from Lyndon B. Johnson; Ben Lee's school diplomas and a newspaper article announcing Ben Lee as one of the new directors of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Also included is material about Ralph Yarborough, a friend of Ben Lee and Rosa Catherine. The Chote's retained some of Yarborough's political flyers, books he autographed and a certificate of designation by the governor of Texas disqualifying Yarborough (then Judge of the Fifty-third Judicial District of Texas) from trying the case of The State of Texas, Et Al. Vs. Gulf Production Company, Et Al. in 1939.
The Woolsey Family series (1918-1950) contains postcards from Samuel to his family while he was stationed in France during World War I; Rosa Catherine's school diplomas; and newspaper clippings about, and letter from Samuel to, Edna Schulz who was a member of the first nursing class at Brackenridge in 1915. Schulz was the superintendent of the City Hospital in September 1918 when the influenza epidemic hit Austin.
The Historical Documents series (1840-1901) is composed of an assortment of Republic of Texas, State of Texas, and Travis County government documents as well as shipping documents and a live stock contract. There are several documents of interest among the government material including a 1840 statement written by the first commissioner of the Texas General Land Office John P. Borden certifying that the special grant to James Norton (early settler and alcalde of the DeWitt colony) in 1830 was on file at the General Land Office; the 1864 bond notice issued by Travis County Justice of the Peace E. McLaughlin concerning Ben Thompson's arrest on the charge of "assault and battery with intent to kill and murder" (John Coombs may have been the victim); the 1866 arrest warrant for Ben Thompson to answer the charge of theft of forty-six sacks of coffee; the 1841 Republic of Texas, Travis County summons issued for Thomas W. Ward, General Land Office Commissioner, to appear at the District Court in the case of Sterling C Robertson (early Texas empresario and statesman) versus President Sam Houston; a 1855 sworn affidavit by Samuel C. Taylor that stated he "will not, for the space of twelve months from this date, drink any spirits or malt liquors, wine or cider" witnessed by the Travis County Clerk Frank Brown; a 1849 certificate appointing Dennis Walsh to the Office of County Commissioner for the County of Travis signed by Governor George T. Wood; and a 1874 certificate presenting a land grant to Edward B. Wood for three hundred and twenty acres signed by Governor E. M. Pease.
The final series, Assorted Documents (1942, undated), is an assortment of cards, a photo and a letter announcing candidacy for United States Senate that could not be attributed to either family.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Donated by family members.
Ben Lee and Rosa Catherine Woolsey Chote Papers (AR.2006.030). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2006/076
Donation Date: 2006
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2011.
Detailed Description of the Collection