A Guide to the Rugeley (Helen) Collection, 1831-1945
Thomas Moore Harwood, great-grandfather of noted genealogist Helen Rugeley, was born on September 30, 1827 in Virginia, where he studied law before moving to Texas in 1850. He worked as a teacher in Matagorda and Prairie Lea before establishing himself as an attorney in Gonzales in 1853. Until his retirement in 1894, Harwood worked as a partner in various Gonzales law firms, notably Harwood and McKean from shortly after his return from the Civil War until his retirement, Harwood and Conway from 1870 to 1875, Harwood and Winston from 1875 to 1882, and Harwood and Harwood (with his son Thomas Franklin Harwood) from 1882 to 1894.
Harwood enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, serving as a captain for a year before being promoted to major in November 1862. He was appointed a special justice to the Texas Supreme Court in 1886, served as a regent of the University of Texas from 1881 to 1885, and was a Mason and Knight Templar. Harwood died in 1900 and was buried in Gonzales.
Thomas Moore Harwood and his wife, Cordelia Brown, had six children, the oldest of whom was Thomas Franklin Harwood. Twice president of the Texas State Historical Association, Thomas Franklin followed his father’s footsteps to become an attorney in Gonzales. Thomas Franklin Harwood and his wife, Florence Cordelia Batchelor, had five children. Their third child, Cordelia Brown Harwood, was the mother of Helen Rugeley.
In the course of researching for her biography of Harwood entitled Thomas Moore Harwood and His Descendants, published in 2000, Rugeley also collected information and documents pertaining to citizens of Gonzales and other Texas counties, including Reuben Ross who was a Texas Ranger in Gonzales in the 1830s.
Correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, notes, photographs and printed materials gathered by Helen Julia Hoskins Rugeley. The bulk of the collection is comprised of Thomas Moore Harwood’s papers, 1838-1924, which include business papers and personal papers. The business papers are comprised of correspondence, financial documents, legal documents, notes, maps and plats, and printed material corresponding to Moore’s land dealings and career as an attorney. The personal papers, 1850-1924, contain records related to his estate, personal correspondence, military service during the Civil War 1861-1865, and two photographs.
The papers of Harwood’s son, Thomas Franklin Harwood, 1889-1945, are also included. The Thomas Franklin Harwood papers contain financial and legal documents, correspondence, and photographs, which corresponding to both Harwood’s business and personal endeavors.
The collection contains materials from other citizens of Gonzales County 1831-1919, and other counties in Texas, 1836-1880. Most notable among these are the Reuben Ross records (1831-1839) containing correspondence, official and financial documents, and notes, most of which correspond to his service during the Civil War.
A notable part of the collection is Helen Rugeley’s notes collected over the course of her research.
All material is open for research.
Rugeley (Helen) Collection, 1831-1945, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Detailed Description of the Papers