A Guide to the William Wallace Mills Papers, 1856-1922
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," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/fmi41.html (accessed June 1, 2010).
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.
The collection is open for research.
William Wallace Mills Papers, 1856-1922, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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