University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the William Fletcher Cummins Papers, 1892-1933

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cummins, William Fletcher
Title: William Fletcher Cummins Papers
Dates: 1892-1933
Abstract: Professor William Fletcher Cummins (1840-1931) was a Texas Methodist clergyman and geologist.
Accession No.: 61-70; 63-28
Extent: 9 ft., 4 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Professor William Fletcher Cummins (1840-1931) was a Texas Methodist clergyman and geologist. Cummins was born in Webster County, Missouri on June 13,1830. He attended St. Charles College and moved to Texas in 1860 serving nine years with the Methodist Episcopal Church South across Texas. During that time Cummins also served in Arkansas with the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He wrote about being a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1866-67. In 1869 Cummins failing health forced him to resign from the clergy and pursue other work in real estate and as a railroad agent. In 1881 he began work for the Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia, gathering Texas fossils. He was then hired by the State of Texas as Assistant Sate Geologist. His exploratory geological work resulted in the discovery of the Tampico oil field. Cummins married Mrs. Minnie C. Bullion Darnell in Weatherford, Texas, on March 17, 1871. They had three children. He spent his last years at his home in El Paso, where he died on January 8, 1931.


  • Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. " Cummins, William Fletcher" (accessed September 15, 2009).
  • Memorial and biographical history of Dallas County, Texas: containing a history of this important section of the great state of Texas, from the earliest period of its occupancy to the present time ... and biographical mention of many of its pioneers, and also of prominent citizens of to-day. 1976. [S.l.]: Walsworth Pub. Co.

Scope and Contents

Papers produced by Cummins relate to the El Paso-Amarillo Oil & Gas Company and Rio Bravo Oil Company; reports of geological surveys in Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas; daily progress report of East Coast Oil Company; and Cummins’ life and religious and philosophical interests. Papers include correspondence, minutes, pamphlets, magazine and newspaper clippings, maps, broadsides, photographs, receipts, diaries, notebooks, religious papers, blueprints, account papers, and Bible courses.

The collection is minimally processed. However, indexes in 2D19 provide an item-level guide to boxes 2D19-2D39.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Baker, Charles Laurence
Cummins, William Fletcher
Dumble, Edwin T.
Keyes, Charles Rollin
Stiles, Elizabeth
Swallow, S. C.
Udden, Johan August
Waterhouse Family
Subjects (Organizations)
East Coast Oil Company
El Paso Amarillo Oil and Gas Company
Methodist Church
Rio Bravo Oil Company
Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
Camp meetings
Mexico--History--Revolution, 1910-1920.
Nitrate minerals
Oil fields.
Petroleum industry.
Religious education
Salt domes
Brewster County (Tex.)
El Paso (Tex.)
Harris County (Tex.)
New Mexico.
Pánuco, Mexico
Presidio County (Tex.)
San Augustine (Tex.)
San Luis Potosí (Mexico)
Tampico (Tamaulipas, Mexico)

Separated Material

The donation of the Cummins Papers also included a large number of books, which were separated from the papers and sent to the library unit. Most of these were concerning geology, though several religious books were also included.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William Fletcher Cummins Papers, 1892-1933, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

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.

Description of the Papers



2D19 Papers:
Packets 1-4
2D20 Packets 5-8
2D21 Packets 9-12
2D22 Packets 13-16
2D23 Packets16-18
2D24 Packets 18-21
2D25 Packets 22-26
Various reports: 1-30
2D26 Various reports: 31-51
Miscellaneous papers: packets 1-3
2D27 Miscellaneous papers: packets 4-7
2D28 Miscellaneous papers: packets 8-11
2D29 Miscellaneous papers: packets 12, 15-17
2D30 Miscellaneous papers: packets 17-20
2D31 Miscellaneous papers: packets 20, 22-24
2D32 Correspondence, 1906-1907, 1909: packet 25
Miscellaneous papers: packet 26
Notebooks: packets 27-28
2D33 Notebooks: packet 28
Miscellaneous papers: packet 29
Bible course: packet 30
Correspondence, 1907-1916
2D34 Correspondence, 1917-1930 and undated
2D25 Notebooks 1-5 and index to notebooks
Notebooks 6-20
2D36 Notebooks 21-49
2D37 Notebooks 50-74
2D38 Notebooks 75-100
2D39 Clippings
“Live and Reminiscences of W. F. Cummins,” by E. F. Stiles
TXC 128 Printed Material:
Items related to religion, non-Texan, 1907, 1928-1929
Items related to Mexico, some geology, some oil, 1910-1922
[in Spanish and English]
Issues of “Brewster’s Booster” newsletter, Alpine, Brewster County, Colorado, 1920-1921
Pamphlets related to prohibition in Texas, undated
Items related to miscellaneous Texas places and topics
Items related to geology, paleontology, and oil in Texas, 1889, 1904, 1914-1929
Items related to Texas, 1917-1928
Items related to geology, oil, mining and evolution, 1909-1926
Items on miscellaneous subjects, non-Texan
TXC E Oversize printed material
2.325/OD15 Maps and charts:
Charts, logs, etc. related to oil in Texas and Mexico
Maps, primarily of Texas and Mexico, related to oil and geology
2.116/OD1275 Maps and charts, primarily related to oil and geology in Texas and Mexico
2.325/V3 Map of “El Ingenio,” property of William B. Willis, Mexico, undated
“Map of Texas from most recent authorities,” 1845
Map of country near Marathon and geological section near Marathon, Brewster County, Texas, undated
2.325/V2 Maps relating to Texas and oil
Charts, logs and correspondence with enclosures related to oil in Texas and Mexico
Oil, geology and mining, primarily in Texas and Mexico, 1914-1925
2.325/V3 Religious subjects, 1921-1924
Historical subjects, 1922-1928
Prehistoric subjects, evolution, etc., 1922-1929
Miscellaneous subjects, 1922-1930
Broadsides, 1913 and 1921
Personal items, 1918-1928
3Y24 Photographs: [Click for selected images]
Bailing oil from Wilson well, Marfa, Texas May 27th, 1920,
[panoramic in 2 fragments]
Between Paisano Pass and Stroble
Capote Canyon, Presidio County
Christmas card, Florence A. Hughes, “a corner of my garden”
Geologic formations and scenes in Texas
Identified persons
Identified places, Texas and Mexico
Mexican Subjects
Oil well, Easter Sunday, April 20-30, near El Paso?
Panoramic prints of oilfields and vicinity, Mexico, 1909
[34, small]
Postcards of U. S. scenes, non-Texan
Religious “lesson picture card,” 1922
San Augustin(?); numbered series 1-11
Scenes in Houston and Del Rio, Texas
Scenes near Mission, Texas:
C. S. Butterfield Construction project [irrigation?] flume
C. S. Butterfield dredge [for irrigation canal]
Home-seekers at Mission, Texas
Stone heads and carved object
Unidentified persons
William Fletcher Cummins