Alexander Watkins Terrell:
An Inventory of Family Papers at the Texas State Archives, 1876-1934 (bulk 1890-1910, 1930-1934)
Alexander Watkins Terrell
Alexander Watkins Terrell was born November 3, 1827 in Patrick County, Virginia. In 1832 his family moved to Cooper County, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Missouri, he read law at Booneville, and was admitted to the Missouri bar in 1849. His first law practice was in St. Joseph, Missouri. After moving to Austin, Texas (1852), he became judge of the Second Judicial District (1857-1862). In 1863, he enlisted as major in the 1st Texas Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade; after promotion to lieutenant colonel and then colonel, he commanded Terrell's Texas Cavalry, participating in the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. In 1865, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Fleeing to Mexico at the end of the Civil War, he served briefly under Emperor Maximilian. Upon his return to Texas, he practiced law in Houston for a short time before retiring to his plantation in Robertson County. In 1871 he returned to Austin. From 1876 to 1883 he served four terms in the Texas Senate, and in 1891 he was elected to the first of three terms in the Texas House of Representatives. President Grover Cleveland appointed him minister plenipotentiary to the Ottoman Empire (1893-1897). He was elected as state representative twice more, in 1903 and 1905. Among the legislative bills he authored were the Railroad Commission bill, the bill which donated public land to build the capitol, the bill requiring jurors to be literate, and the Terrell Election Law of 1905 (which began the system of direct primaries). From 1909 to 1911, he was on the University of Texas board of regents, and was instrumental in raising funds to build the library building. He was also chairman of the publications committee and, at the time of his death, president, of the Texas State Historical Association. His first wife, and mother of his five children, was Ann Elizabeth Boulding of Missouri, who died in 1860; his second wife, Sarah D. Mitchell of Robertson County, Texas, died in 1871; his third wife, and widow, was Anne Holiday Anderson Jones. Alexander W. Terrell died in Mineral Wells on September 9, 1912, and was buried in the state cemetery. Terrell County was named in his honor.
Lilla Terrell Rector
Lilla Terrell was born in 1853, one of the five children of Alexander Watkins Terrell and his first wife Ann Elizabeth Boulding. Lilla married James E. Rector, and they had four children: James Bouldin Rector (born 1872, named city attorney of Austin in 1909); Richard (Dick) Terrell Rector (born 1874, managing director of the Scientific Temperance Foundation until 1934); Bessie Rector (born 1875); and Arthur Rector (born 1879 or 1880).
The Alexander Watkins Terrell Family papers contain correspondence (letters received, copies of letters sent, and some telegrams), newspaper clippings, poetry, a printed speech, financial documents (bills and statements), notes, photos, and other materials. These documents fall mainly into two chronological periods: 1890-1910 (basically the last two decades of A. W. Terrell's life); and 1930-1934 (when Lilla Terrell Rector was in her late 70s, and her son Richard (Dick) Terrell Rector was in his late 40s). As with an earlier accession of Terrell Papers at the state archives (AC 1985/22), the years of A. W. Terrell's diplomatic mission in the Ottoman Empire (1893-1897) are especially well represented, as well as his work on the Terrell Election Law of 1905. In addition, these family papers document the work of Terrell's grandson Richard Terrell Rector with The Scientific Temperance Foundation, of which he was managing director until 1934. Much of this last topic, plus the personal history of the family, is contained in a series of letters between Dick Rector and his wife Cora, who was caring for her mother-in-law Lilla T. Rector during a serious illness (February thru March 1934).
To prepare this preliminary inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
Under the Copyright Law of 1976 as amended in 1998, the unpublished papers are protected by copyright through December 31, 2002 or 70 years after the author's death. Researchers are responsible for complying with the Copyright Law.
(Identify the item), Alexander Watkins Terrell Family Papers. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1991/152
These papers were donated to the Texas State Archives by St. Edward's University (through Ingrid Karklins, Archivist) on May 7, 1991. St. Edward's had no accession information of its own on this collection.
Tony Black, May 1992
Detailed Description of the Records