Moses P. Lamar Family Papers:
Moses Perry "M. P." Lamar, son of Dr. Samuel Lamar, was a Parker County, Texas, farmer born in Richman County, Kentucky, in 1829. He lived in Lancaster and Waxahachie, Texas, in the early 1850's with his wife Sarah (1830-1912), and the couple reared four sons and five daughters. Lamar died around 1916.
In March 1855, Lamar acted as "agent or attorney" for G. A. Clayton to prevent the cutting or taking of timber from Clayton's ranch in Navarro County, southeast of Dallas. After moving to Dallas early in the Civil War, M. P. enlisted on March 1, 1864, and served, at age 35, as a private in Captain Thomas Healey's Company, in the 12th Regiment of the Texas Cavalry. Lamar, who stood 5′5″ and with blue eyes and light hair, was honorably discharged August 20, 1864, three months after the death of his brother, John R., in the Yellow Bayou battle.
Lamar registered to vote in Tarrant County, Texas, in August 1867, but changed his registration two years later when he bought some land 2½ miles southwest of Dallas. He apparently moved west again, for in 1874, Lamar joined the farmers' cooperative Oak Grove Alliance in Parker County. He also became a member of the Phoenix Masonic Lodge #257 in Weatherford. In 1881 he bought 160 acres of land twelve miles west of Weatherford on Grindstone Creek near Millsap and turned to farming and ranching.
The Lamars' oldest son, James Rankin "J. R." Lamar, was born in 1851 in Cass County, Texas. He studied law and received his license, but did not enter practice due to health problems. J. R. taught the first school in Millsap in a log house with twelve students. Later, he became a cowboy, working on the Chisholm and Santa Fe trails, then he turned to ranching. He married Emma K. Gambill in 1874 and ten years later served as secretary of the Farmer's Alliance in Millsap while M. P. was also a member. J. R. also acted as deputy sheriff of Parker County. J. R. and Emma moved to Eckert, Colorado, in 1894 where he worked as a stonemason. In 1926 the couple moved back to Dallas where J. R. died on May 25, 1933. An obituary said he "was a kinsman of the famous L. Q. C. Lamar and Mirabeau B. Lamar," the third president of the Republic of Texas, but no known documentation confirms that claim.
J. R. and Emma Lamar (1868-1936) had three sons: Clyde, Quincy and W. A. Lamar. Clyde founded a funeral home in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas in 1912, then merged his company to form the Lamar & Smith Funeral Home in 1925, still at 800 West Jefferson Blvd. None of J. R.'s three sons had children, and Clyde died in 1968. J. B. Christian, a longtime employee of Clyde's, doubts any family connection with Mirabeau B. Lamar.
Another of M. P. and Sarah Lamar's sons was William D. "Honest Bill" Lamar. According to a business card with his picture, he was also called "Uncle Willie" and "The Hay Seed." W. D. lived in Crosbyton, Texas, with his wife Susan. He died at age 69 around May 1933 and apparently "suffered many years" with health problems.
A third son, Edward P. "Uncle Ed" Lamar, was born in Dallas County in 1862, but soon moved to Parker County. Later, "E. P." and his father joined the Masonic Lodge in Millsap. They also worked together at the Parker County Milling & Elevator Company starting in 1888. He married Emiline "Emma" Williams in 1882, and they had three sons and four daughters. E. P. became president of the Farmers Union Warehouse Company in Millsap beginning in 1914.
One of M. P. and Sarah's daughters was Ellen Lamar, who married George W. Gillmore and settled in Girard, Texas. The Lamars named two other daughters Vina and Ethel, while a fourth became Mrs. J. C. Hurst. The fifth daughter, Francis, married F. E. Walker.
This collection, housed in one legal size document box, consists primarily of personal and business papers of Moses Perry "M. P." Lamar, a farmer and rancher who lived in Parker County, Texas, from the mid-1800's until about 1916. Other papers include those of his wife, children and ancestors who lived in the Dallas-Tarrant-Parker county areas and in Colorado. The entire collection spans the years 1797-1969. A letter of inquiry from a distant relative relates her unsuccessful search for information linking the Lamar family to Mirabeau B. Lamar, the third president of the Republic of Texas.
The collection is arranged alphabetically in eleven series, beginning with books and publications. These include almanacs and memoranda/calendar books for just before and after the turn of the 19th century. One, a New Testament bible inscribed "E. P. Lamar 10 cts," appears here along with several health booklets. Although some members of the Lamar family lived into their eighties, a few apparently experienced recurring health problems. The second folder includes a special 1928 Weatherford newspaper touting benefits in the area, including an article about Millsap, the town in which M. P. and Sarah lived most of their lives.
The second series, in two folders, includes letters from the late 1890's to early 1900's sent to M. P. or E. P. Lamar from family members in Texas and Colorado. Several show the loneliness felt by those unable to travel. The third series, a group of empty envelopes with no matching letters, is retained for their interesting stamps and postmarks.
In the fourth series, family artifacts are collected in two folders. A homemade wallet was kept and a recently written note with it says "Mrs. Walker was told this was carried by M. P. Lamar during service in the Civil War." The reference is presumably to Mrs. F. E. (Francis) Walker, one of M. P.'s daughters. This series also includes several home and published "remedies" for afflictions such as scarlet fever, cholera, rheumatism and dropsy.
Series five is the family history. Much of their biographical information comes from 1912-1933 newspaper articles, family documents and correspondence. Little is known about the Lamars as people; available records show mostly what they did, not what they thought.
Documents from the Farmers Alliance in Weatherford, Texas, will be found in the sixth series, and it includes dues receipts and publications by the national group describing how the Alliance should conduct its business. M. P. Lamar and son J. R. were members, and an undated audit suggests the Alliance's paperwork was insufficient but its financial condition was good.
Series seven is the Farmers Union Warehouse business ledger for 1916-1922 when E. P. Lamar was its president. Financial records comprise the eighth series in two folders, including M. P.'s property tax receipts for most years from 1855-1916. There is also a letter from the State of Texas in 1916 confirming that he would receive a pension later in the year.
Series nine gives some insight into daily life in the nineteenth century. Several IOU's and promissory notes for cash loans from both Samuel and M. P. Lamar are saved and show simple business transactions for merchandise or livestock.
Legal documents such as deeds, medical licenses, voter registrations, a marriage license and oil exploration contracts, are collected in series ten. M. P. purchased 160 acres of "school" land near Millsap, Texas, and the deed appears in the collection along with instructions on how to find additional property he bought in downtown Mineral City, Texas. A tax receipt and two medical licenses are the oldest documents directly connected with the Lamars. They were issued to Samuel Lamar, M. P.'s father, in the mid-1840's. A deed and two letters of recommendation issued to Young Lamar in 1797 were found among M. P.'s papers. While he was probably related to this Lamar family, no other documents confirm it.
Series eleven includes three amateur attempts at poetry, probably by Sarah Lamar, for the handwriting and sentiments appear to be written in a feminine style. Two are incomplete and have fallen apart. Attempts to photocopy them were unsuccessful.
Most of the Moses P. Lamar Family Papers are in good condition, but some newspaper clippings and fragile letters have been photocopied on acid-free paper. Other fragile items have been encased in polyvinyl and supported by acid-free paper.
The Moses P. Lamar Family Papers reflect an ordinary, but successful, group of farmers in the mid-1800's to early 1900's in north Texas. Lamar and his children lived long lives in both the commercial and public service sectors of their communities. Their lifestyles suggest, for the most part, a middle to upper-middle class existence on the range and in the city.
Open for research.
Literary Rights Statement
Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.
Moses P. Lamar Family Papers, GA236, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.
Accessioned as number 96-4.
The M. P. Lamar Papers were donated to the University of Texas at Arlington on February 21, 1994, by Jenkins Garrett of Fort Worth. Mr. Garrett, a collector of historical materials, has previously donated similar collections.
The papers were received by Dr. Gerald D. Saxon, Assistant Director for Special Collections, and preliminary sorting was done. The collection was processed in the Spring 1997 semester of Dr. Saxon's "Introduction to Archives" class. Arrangement and organization was made by Gary Mack, archivist for The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.
While there is no known proof that M. P. Lamar and Young Lamar were related, or that either was related to Mirabeau B. Lamar, there is no documentation proving otherwise. Further study in this area may prove rewarding.