A Guide to the Riddle and Eagar Families Papers, 1840-1945
The roots of the Eagar family go back to the early days of Anglo-American settlement in San Antonio, Texas. Wilson I. Riddle, born in Ireland about 1812, immigrated to the United States as a child with his family and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Riddle moved to Tennessee and from there went to Texas in 1839, working as a merchant and land speculator. He returned to Tennessee briefly in 1840 and while there married Elizabeth Mary Menafee (1820-1890). The couple returned to Texas, where their two children Sarah Elizabeth (1842-1947), reputedly the first Anglo child born in San Antonio, and James W. Riddle were born.
Wilson Riddle was taken prisoner during the invasion of San Antonio by a Mexican force under Adrian Woll in 1842 and was imprisoned in Mexico until 1843. His health damaged by the experience, he died in San Antonio in 1847. His widow married Harvey Canterbury in 1851 and had at least three more children: John W., Mildred L., and Harvey Canterbury. Elizabeth's second husband died in 1859.
In 1866, Sarah Elizabeth Riddle married Robert Eagar (1830-1883), a native of Canada who had lived in San Antonio since 1850. The couple's three children, Fannie and twins Florence and Blanche, were born in a house on South Alamo Street that would remain the family residence for over one-hundred years. Robert Eagar was involved in real estate, freighting, and other business ventures in San Antonio prior to his death in 1883.
The Eagars were socially active and involved in a number of organizations. Mrs. Eagar and her daughters were early members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) and active in the organization. Florence Eagar was one of the first Custodians of the Alamo after the DRT was granted custody of the site in 1905. Her mother, Sarah Eagar, took over the position when Florence married Major Harris L. Roberts in 1907 and followed her husband to his assignment in the Philippines. Roberts' Army assignments later took him to Ft. Bliss in Texas, Hawaii, and Detroit before his death in 1918. Harris and Florence Roberts had one child, Robert Pierpont Eagar Roberts.
Both Sarah Eagar and Florence Roberts remained active in the community throughout their long lives. Mrs. Eagar died in 1947 at the age of 105. Mrs. Roberts lived in the family home until the HemisFair project forced her to move in 1967. She died in 1969 at the age of 102.
Correspondence, property records, legal and financial documents, and personal material in the Riddle-Eagar family papers are associated with several family members, dating from soon after the arrival of Wilson I. Riddle in San Antonio, Texas.
Correspondence is the most significant part of the papers, much of it associated with Sarah Riddle Eagar. Most of the early letters are personal and include several from family in Mississippi, where Sarah Riddle attended school; letters from Robert Eagar’s family in Nova Scotia; and members of the King family of south Texas, in addition to other friends and acquaintances. Business-related letters are associated with various of Wilson Riddle’s and Robert Eagar’s business ventures and land dealings, particularly Eagar’s ranch and quarry properties, legal matters associated with family property, and financial matters. A small number of letters are specifically connected with Sarah Eagar’s involvement in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the organization’s custodianship of the Alamo.
A miscellany of items related to land and property include an abstract of title to land in Medina County originally belonging to John Riddle, deeds, leases, and documents concerning the development of a quarry in Medina County. Legal documents are an assortment of items including petitions in court cases and before government entities and Robert Eagar’s certificate of registration with the Mexican government in Matamoros. Financial documents include various bills, receipts, and account records for several individuals; tax receipts; bills of lading for goods shipped by Robert Eagar; promissory notes; an inventory of Wilson Riddle’s store; and an insurance policy. Personal items consist of several prescriptions for Robert Eagar, some genealogical notes, military records of Harris L. Roberts, and a few clippings, invitations, and other printed matter. Photographs are of family members.
No restrictions. The collection is open for research.
Please be advised that the library does not hold the copyright to most of the material in its archival collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure those rights when needed. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, and libel.
[Identification of item], Riddle and Eagar Families Papers, 1840-1945, Col 7426, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.
Some materials purchased from the Tarnished Turkey, 1994 March.
Remaining documents donated by Ralph Moore, owner of the Tarnished Turkey, 2006 June.
Mr. Moore acquired the collection from antiques dealer Ed Finn, who had apparently obtained the papers from the family and had earlier given a portion to the DRT Library. For this material, see the Eagar Family Papers (Col 885).
Processed by Warren Stricker, 2002 and 2006.
Finding aid edited and encoded by Caitlin Donnelly, 2010 November.
Detailed Description of the Collection