University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the William Wallace Mills Papers, 1856-1922

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Mills, William Wallace
Title: Mills, William Wallace Papers
Dates: 1856-1922
Abstract: William Wallace Mills (1836–1913) was a soldier, businessman, customs collector, consul, and El Paso pioneer. Papers include correspondence, literary productions, legal and financial documents, newspaper clippings, printed material, and photographs, and relate to the career of Mills.
Extent: 6 ft., 6 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

William Wallace Mills (1836–1913) was a soldier, businessman, customs collector, consul, and El Paso pioneer. Mills and his brother Anson, who named El Paso, were two of the very few anti-secession voters in El Paso in 1860. Mills went to New Mexico to fight with the Union, and was taken prisoner by Confederate forces during the Civil War. In his post-occupation position of United States collector of customs at El Paso, Mills worked towards an 1862 congressional act that allowed for the confiscation of property of those who had fought against the Union.

Mills took on a leadership position during Reconstruction in the moderate Republican party, led by A. J. Hamilton, and was appointed a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69 in Austin. It was at this Convention that the radical majority elected Edmund J. Davis president. When the radicals went on to win the gubernatorial race in 1869, Mills was brought down from his post as collector of customs. This resulted in a virtual loss of his local power and as such, the end of his political career. Mills did, however, go on to serve as United States consul in Chihuahua, 1897-1907.

William Wallace Mills is the author of Forty Years at El Paso, his memoirs documenting the development and formation of that city. In 1910, Mills moved to Austin, and he died on February 10, 1913.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Mills, William Wallace," (accessed June 1, 2010).

Scope and Contents

The William Wallace Mills Papers, 1856-1922, contain correspondence, narrative, literary productions, letterbooks, memorandum book, account papers, deeds, legal papers, surveys, stock certificate, newspaper clippings, booklets, pamphlets, and photographs, and relate to the political career of William Wallace Mills. Specifically, the papers concern Mills’s activities as consulate and as U.S. collector of customs in El Paso, as well as his involvement in the Republican Party during Reconstruction. Furthermore, the collection includes the correspondence of Mills’s wife Mary Hamilton Mills and the Maloney family personal files.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Mills, W. W. (William Wallace), 1836-1913--Archives.
Canby, Edward Richard Sprigg, 1817-1873
Clayton, Powell, 1833-1914
Crosby, J. F.
Davis, E. J. (Edmund Jackson), 1827-1883
Dowell, Benjamin S. (Benjamin Shacklett), 1818-1880
Giddings, George H., b. 1823
Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, 1815-1875
Lynde, Isaac
Mills, Anson, b. 1834
Sibley, Henry Hopkins, 1816-1886
Weed, John J.
Wilson, Huntington, b. 1875
Mills, Mary Hamilton
Maloney family
Subjects (Organizations)
Republican Party (Tex.)
United States. Consulate (Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico)
Secession--Southern States
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Chihuahua (Mexico)
Mesilla (N.M.)
Santa Fe (N.M.)
Washington (D.C.)
Austin (Tex.)
El Paso (Tex.)
Fort Bliss (Tex.)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--Foreign relations--Mexico
Mexico--Foreign relations--United States

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William Wallace Mills Papers, 1856-1922, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lawrence Landis, October 1990.

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



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