Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Organization of the Papers

Restrictions

Online Catalog Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series 1. Correspondence, 1946-1963

Series 2. Drafts, manuscripts, galleys, and research notes, [1940s-1960s]

Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A & M University

Inventory of the Mildred Watkins Mears Papers:

1946-1963



Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Mears, Mildred Watkins
Title Inventory of the Mildred Watkins Mears Papers:
Dates 1946-1963
Abstract Mildred Watkins Mears (25 August 1888- 7 October 1975), known as "Minnie," was the daughter of a pioneering family who, in 1867, settled in Pidcoke Texas, a small town in Coryell County, Texas. In 1894, after the death of Mildred Mears' father, her mother, Rosa Belcher Watkins, remarried and, in 1902, the family moved to nearby Mound, Texas. In Mound, Mears' interest in the historic past of the area was nurtured, as she spent time during her childhood exploring the ruins of the old Fort Gates. The Mears family relocated to Gatesville after Mildred Mears' step-father won a seat in the State legislature, and sold the farm in Mound. Thus, though Mears began her formal education in a one-room school in Pidcoke, she ultimately graduated valedictorian of the Gatesville High School class of 1909. After graduating from the University of Texas, Watkins returned to Gatesville to teach mathematics, a position she held from 1910 to 1925. Very active in civic life, Mears was a representative from Coryell County to the Texas State Centennial Board in 1936, and later, in 1954, served as advisor to the Coryell County Centennial Council. Mears served for many years in the Gatesville Historical Society and, in 1963, published the 253-page Coryell County Scrapbook published in Waco at the Texian Press. Mildred Watkins was married to lawyer and legislator, Thomas Robert Mears, who died in 1967. The Mildred Watkins Mears Papers (1947-1963) consist of some correspondence, a significant number of mostly typed manuscript drafts, both published and unpublished, and a printer's galley for her book, Coryell County Scrapbook, published in 1963 by Texian Press of Waco, Texas.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. Stories recount 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. 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.
Identification Texas MSS 00138
Extent .5 linear feet.
Language English.
Repository Cushing Memorial Library College Station, TX 77843-5000

Biographical Note

Mildred Watkins Mears (25 August 1888- 7 October 1975), known as "Minnie," was the daughter of a pioneering family who, in 1867, settled in Pidcoke Texas, a small town in Coryell County, Texas. In 1894, after the death of Mildred Mears' father, her mother, Rosa Belcher Watkins, remarried and, in 1902, the family moved to nearby Mound, Texas. In Mound, Mears' interest in the historic past of the area was nurtured, as she spent time during her childhood exploring the ruins of the old Fort Gates.

The Mears family relocated to Gatesville after Mildred Mears' step-father won a seat in the State legislature, and sold the farm in Mound. Thus, though Mears began her formal education in a one-room school in Pidcoke, she ultimately graduated valedictorian of the Gatesville High School class of 1909. After graduating from the University of Texas, Watkins returned to Gatesville to teach mathematics, a position she held from 1910 to 1925.

During World War I and World War II, Mears served as boy's basketball coach of the high school, manager of the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce, assisted the Draft Board, worked for the American Red Cross, and was a member of the U.S.O. She was also named an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a national teachers organization.

In 1936, Mears was a representative from Coryell County to the Texas State Centennial Board and later, in 1954, served as advisor to the Coryell County Centennial Council. In 1960, she wrote a historical play, "Our Christian Heritage," which was performed in the Gatesville public schools, and won an award nomination from the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation. Mears served for many years in the Gatesville Historical Society and, in 1963, published the 253-page Coryell County Scrapbook published in Waco at the Texian Press.

Mildred Watkins was married to lawyer and legislator, Thomas Robert Mears, who died in 1967.

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Scope and Content Note

The Mildred Watkins Mears Papers (1947-1963) consist 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.

  • Bibliography
  • Bailey, Clyde and Mabel Bailey. Vignettes of Coryell County. Gatesville, Tex: Gatesville Printing Company, 1976.
  • Coryell County Centennial Souvenir Program, 1954.
  • Mears, Mildred Watkins. Coryell County Scrapbook. Waco: Texian Press 1963.
  • "Mears, Thomas Robert."The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Wed Feb 5 17:33:10 US/Central 2003 ].
  • Scott, Zelma. A History of Coryell County, Texas. Minneapolis: Land Press, 1965.
  • Simmons, Frank E.History of Coryell County.Belton, Tex.: Coryell County News Press, 1936, 1965.
  • "Three Forts of Coryell County."Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Vol. 6 (July 1963).

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Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 2 series.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1946-1963.
Series 2. Drafts, manuscripts, galleys, and research notes [1940s-1960s].

Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged chronologically.

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Restrictions

Access

No restrictions.

Usage Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Online Catalog Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of Cushing Memorial Library. Researchers wishing to find related materials should search the catalog under these index terms.
Names
Mears, Thomas Robert.
Mears, Mildred Watkins.
Scott, Zelma.
Watkins, Rosa Belcher.
Organizations
Coryell County Historical Association.
Coryell County Centennial.
Gatesville High School.
Texas Centennial Commission.
Subjects
Frontier and pioneer life--Texas.
Places
Fort Hood (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Coryell County (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Fort Gates (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Gatesville (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Mound (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Pidcoke (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Texas-History--1846-1950--Sources.
Titles
Coryell County Scrapbook

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Related Material

Mears, Mildred Watkins. Coryell County Scrapbook. Waco: Texian Press, 1963. Held in repository stacks in the Texas Collection under LC call number F392.C8 M42 1953. Cushing Memorial Library and Archives copy signed by author.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Source unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by Liticia Salter in February 2003

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1. Correspondence, 1946-1963

Of the seven letters in this series all are written from Mears to various correspondents concerning requests for research materials for her book on the history of Coryell County, Tex. The exception was written to Mears in 1946 by Zelma Scott, who also wrote and published a study of Coryell County, A History of Coryell County, Texas (Texas State Historical Association, 1965) two years after the publication date of Mears' book.
box-folder
1/1 Seven Letters. All but one, which is written from Zelma Scott to Mears, are written from Mears to: members of the Gatesville Methodist Church; "Week End," a radio show from New York; John Banta of the Waco Times Herald; Robert Davis; and James Day, Texas State Archivist, 1946-1963

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Series 2. Drafts, manuscripts, galleys, and research notes, [1940s-1960s]

Arranged chronologically, this series contains drafts of chapters and other sections published as Coryell County Scrapbook (Texian Press, 1963). Also present is a printer's galley of a portion of the book, as well as one file of stories not published in the final book, and one file of miscellaneous research and background notes. The drafts are mostly typewritten, with some handwritten annotations, while the research material is mostly handwritten.
box-folder
1/2 Manuscript of index, table of contents, preface, and book jacket text, undated
box-folder
1/3-12 Manuscript of Chapters One-Ten, undated
box-folder
1/13 Printer's galley, undated
box-folder
1/14 Unpublished drafts of stories, undated
box-folder
1/15-16 Research notes and clippings, [1940s-1960s]
Folder 16 gathers original clippings and photostatic copies for which surrogates have been produced by the repository on archival quality paper, and those copies inserted in the other folders to prevent damage to less acidic documents

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