A Guide to the Roger Quarles Mills Papers, 1813-1938>
Born in Kentucky, Roger Quarles Mills (1832-1911) moved to Texas in 1849 and, in short order, received an appointment to the staff of the state legislature. In 1852, he became a lawyer in Corsicana, where he later held public offices. He married Carolyn R. Jones in 1855 and fathered four daughters and one son.
During the 1850s, Mills’ political allegiances shifted from the Whig Party to the American Party and finally to the Democratic Party. As a state legislator from 1859 to 1860, he supported states’ rights and Texas’ succession. During the Civil War, Mills rose to the rank of colonel in the Tenth Texas Infantry. He was captured in early 1863 but soon returned to the Confederate Army through a prisoner exchange. Wounded at Missionary Ridge and the Battle of Atlanta, Mills participated in the battles of Wilson’s Creek, Arkansas Post, and Chickamauga.
Following the Civil War, Mills returned to Texas and was elected in 1872 to the House of Representatives, where he supported an end to Reconstruction, federal funds to expand the infrastructure of Texas, and frontier defense as well as introduced the Mills Bill for reduced tariffs. After the bill’s failure in Congress, the tariff became the primary issue in the presidential campaign of 1888. Mills filled John H. Reagan’s vacated Senate seat in 1892. He won the Senatorial election the following year, serving until 1899. Upon retirement, he lived off the profits of his oil wells in Corsicana.
Source: Barr, Alwyn. "Mills, Roger Quarles." Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 15, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmi40.
Correspondence, letterbooks, speeches, and a scrapbook comprise the Roger Quarles Mills Papers, 1813-1938, documenting Mills’ personal life as well as his military and political career. Letters to his wife during the Civil War provide insight into their relationship and the life of a soldier. Correspondence with other politicians encompasses a wide range of topics, from tariffs to mundane matters of governance. A number of his speeches, both handwritten and published, concern tariffs, prohibition of alcohol, the annexation of Hawaii, and Free Silver. The collection also contains an unbound, untitled book on tariffs by Mills. Furthermore, a scrapbook of newspaper clippings documents his career.
This collection is open for research use.
Roger Quarles Mills Papers, 1813-1938, 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