A Guide to the Ralph Putnam and George Creamer Collection, 1804, 1830-1945
Ralph Putnam, a high school Latin teacher from Denver, created the Ralph Putnam and George Creamer Collection consisting mainly of historic documents from the Texas Republic period as well as materials from Unitarian pastor Dr. Alfred P. Putnam, Ralph Putman’s ancestor. Upon Ralph Putman’s death, his former student, lawyer George Creamer, settled his estate and took the collection in lieu of payment. Creamer, a famous Colorado lawyer, who argued in front of the Supreme Court to bring about the one-man one vote ruling, willed the documents to his nephew Eric Hoffman. Hoffman donated the collection to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in 1994.
Mississippi native Daniel Perry III (1791-1869) moved to Texas with his wife Eliza and two sons Samuel and James in 1832. Shortly after their arrival, Eliza died, and in 1833 Perry married Louisa Anne Morton. In March 1836, he joined the Texas army as a captain and organized a company of volunteers from the Fort Bend area. This company merged with Captain William S. Fisher’s company on March 11. Perry fought in the battle of San Jacinto, staying with the unit until June 1836, and served in the Texas Navy during the early 1840s. His wife, Louisa, and two of his children by her died during the cholera epidemics of the 1840s, and he married Jane Hogue Hamblen in 1851. He worked most of his life as a farmer, rancher, and estate manager. Additionally, he signed the petition that created Fort Bend County and served as associate land commissioner and justice of the peace for Fort Bend County. Unable to work his plantation by himself, Perry and his family moved to Houston following the Civil War. Perry died in Houston in 1869.
Perry’s only surviving daughter, Laura Ann, married Charles C. Bryant the editor of the Corpus Christi Caller. Bryant was a Confederate veteran, who suffered a wound at the Battle of Shiloh under General Bragg. The couple had several children, including Mary Louise, who married Buck Weems of Colorado.
Alfred Porter Putnam (1827-1906) was a Unitarian pastor and historian, who founded the Danver Historical Society. A native of Danver, Massachusetts, Putnam served as the pastor of Brooklyn’s Church of the Savior for twenty-five years in the late 19th century. He published historical writings and many of his sermons as pamphlets, including A Noble Life: A Discourse Commemorative of Abiel Abbot Low (1893), Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith (1875), and A Sermon Preached at the Church of the Saviour (1865).
LifeontheBrazos.com. “Daniel Perry.” LifeontheBrazos.com. http://lifeonthebrazosriver.com/DanielPerry.htm (accessed August 20, 2010).
Legal documents, manuscript letters, broadsides, journals, photographs, pamphlets, and ephemera comprise the Ralph Putnam and George Creamer Collection, 1804, 1830-1945, and document the Perry, Bryant, Weems, Putnam, and Creamer families.
The Perry, Bryant, and Weems families’ portion of the collection consists of letters, commissions, receipts, legal documents, and photographs relating to early Texas history. Specifically, the collection includes family correspondence, Charles C. Bryant’s will, and Daniel Perry’s commissions as Justice of the Peace signed by Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and Anson Jones. The photographs depict various family members, such as Daniel Perry, Laura Ann Perry Bryant, Charles Carroll Bryant, Bertha Bryant, and Mary Louise Bryant. Furthermore, the photographs include carte-de-visites for several famous historical figures, like General T. J. Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Sam Houston. Additionally, the papers contain genealogies for both the Perry and Weems families as well as a series of forty letters from Buck Weems to Mary Louise Bryant describing life on the Colorado frontier in 1905.
The remainder of the collection, relating to the Putnam and Creamer families, consists of correspondence, manuscripts, printed material, ephemera, and a book. The Putnam material documents the career and writings of Dr. Alfred P. Putnam, Unitarian pastor, and Colorado Latin teacher Ralph Putnam. The collection includes Alfred’s handwritten reminiscences, such as “A Winter On the Riviera,” “From Cairo to Jerusalem, By Way of Suez, Mt. Sinai, Petra, and Herbron, February 16, 1863 - March 21, 1863,” and “Recollections of Notables at Home and Abroad.” “Recollections” is particularly notable since it compiles Alfred’s personal recollections of prominent persons, including President Abraham Lincoln, Senator Charles Sumner, General Winfield Scott, General John Wool, and others. Additionally, the collection consists of Alfred’s printed and handwritten sermons, a letter describing a public event in New York City, and a manuscript constitution and by-laws of the Danvers, Massachusetts, Historical Society. Ralph Putnam’s material includes several scholarly papers, a diploma, and a ration book from World War II. The book describes the life of famous Colorado lawyer George Creamer.
The collection is open for research use.
Ralph Putnam and George Creamer Collection, 1804, 1830-1945, 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