A Guide to the Jacob Carl DeGress Scrapbook, 1871-1894
Born to Carl Franz Wilhelm and Johanna Walburga (di Bramino) von Gress in Cologne, Prussia, Jacob Carl Maria DeGress (1842-1894) immigrated to Missouri with his family in 1856. A cavalry commander in the United States Army during the Civil War, he was appointed assistant commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau of eastern Texas in 1865. After promotion to secretary of civil affairs and then inspector general, DeGress re-enlisted in the Army in 1868, retiring two years later. With the passage of the 1871 public school law, Republican governor Edmund J. Davis appointed DeGress Texas' first superintendent of public instruction. In the position, DeGress attempted to institute a public school system for black children as well as compulsory education supported by taxes. With the Democrats' return to power, DeGress was removed from the position in 1874. Remaining in Austin, DeGress was elected city alderman in 1877 and mayor in 1877, though he was removed from the position in 1880 due to ineligibility. DeGress went on to serve as Austin postmaster from 1881 to 1885 and 1889 to 1893 and as alderman again in 1887. Additionally, DeGress was active in the state Republican party and served on various committees involved with the building and dedication of the State Capitol.
McClellan, Michael E. "DeGress, Jacob Carl Maria." Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 16, 2011.
Composed of clippings, the Jacob Carl DeGress Scrapbook, 1871-1894, documents DeGress' life and work as Texas' first superintendent of public instruction. The clippings concern DeGress, his death, and the public school system he established.
This collection is open for research use.
Jacob Carl DeGress Scrapbook, 1871-1894, 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