A Guide to the Robert Simpson Neighbors Papers, 1838-1935
Born in Virginia, Indian agent Robert Simpson Neighbors (1815-1859) arrived in Texas in 1836. He enlisted in the Texas Army, attaining the rank of captain and title of acting quartermaster. Joining the Texas Rangers, Neighbors served under John C. Hays, when General Adrián Woll imprisoned the company in Mexico in 1842. Following his release to Texas, Neighbors became an Indian agent in 1845 and transitioned the office from the practice of waiting for Native Americans, as was the agency’s routine, to visiting them in their territories. After the annexation of Texas, Neighbors served the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs from 1847 through 1849. He then served as a Texas commissioner (1850) and state legislator (1851-1853). Additionally, in 1851, he married Elizabeth Ann Mays, with whom he had two sons. Returning to the Indian Bureau in 1853, he and U.S. Army captain Randolph B. Marcy explored northwest Texas for possible Native American reservation sites. Despite receiving many threats for his work with the tribes, Neighbors survived until 1859, when he was murdered by Edward Cornett, a man with whom he was not acquainted.
Richardson, Rupert N. "Neighbors, Robert Simpson."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 15, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fne08.
Comprising correspondence, a diary, commissions and appointments, certificates, financial documents, land surveys, a biography and obituary, maps, and printed material, the Robert Simpson Neighbors Papers, 1838-1935, document the career of Neighbors as an Indian agent in Texas. The collection primarily concerns Neighbors’ attempts to find reservation lands in Texas; the removal of Native Americans to Wichita Reserve; their depredations and mistreatment; and Neighbors’ murder. Correspondence, 1844-1874, includes typescripts of letters to and from Neighbors and others at the U.S. Office of Indian Agents, discussing visits with Native Americans, trips to their lands, and the agents’ and Indians’ relations with Anglo-Americans in Texas. Commissions, certificates, and appointments, 1841-1908, consist of an original certificate for Neighbors’ membership in the Freemasons as well as Photostats and typescripts of Neighbor’s and his family’s appointments in the military, government, and social organizations. Financial records, 1838-1846, contain transcribed bills, receipts, and a diary of accounts, while the printed materials, 1855-1935, discuss Neighbor’s career in the form of newspaper articles, reports, a memorandum, and a brochure. Additionally, the papers include a handwritten biography of and original obituary for Neighbors as well as Photostatic maps and land surveys.
This collection is open for research use.
Robert Simpson Neighbors Papers, 1838-1935, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers