TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Cooke County History Collection, 1843-1967
Lillian Gunter (1870-1926) was a scholar, a librarian, and a historian during the late 19th to early 20th century in Texas. An activist both for libraries and women’s suffrage, she authored and lobbied for the legislation that created the Texas County Library System, and was the first woman in her native Cooke County to vote. After moving from Sivill’s Bend to Gainesville, Texas in 1901, she successfully campaigned for the award of a Carnegie library to her new city, the second in the state. As head librarian of Gainesville, she encouraged the development of local libraries in the surrounding communities, and assisted these institutions through one of the first bookmobile programs in the Southwest.
In her spare time, Lillian prepared to author a book on the history of Cooke County and the Red River region of her birth. Though the volume was never completed, she amassed a wealth of material, ranging from articles and published works to handwritten notes and the transcribed recollections of early settlers. These papers were gathered together by her sister, Rosa Gunter Beasley, and deposited in the archives of what is now the University of North Texas. Pete A.Y. Gunter, a published author and professor emeritus at UNT today, took it upon himself to have the original documents compiled and created by his ancestress typed and organized. In addition, Gunter annotated and added to the revised collection, consecutively numbering all 803 pages, including more information on Lillian herself as well as the Red River area, and producing a general index which references 321 names and topics.
The Cooke County Historical Collection contains typed transcripts of all the articles, clippings, original interviews, chapter excerpts, correspondence, and handwritten research compiled by Lillian Gunter in preparation for the writing of a book recounting the history of Cooke County and the Red River region of Texas. The local and regional history recorded in the collection includes many personal stories, opinions, and first-hand recollections from the earliest residents of Gainesville, Texas and the surrounding areas. Some of the diverse topics covered include early agriculture, cattle drives, business, education, folk music, Native Americans, African Americans, the American Civil War, the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Confederate guerillas such as William Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson, and the Reconstruction period. Many families and individuals are represented, particularly those who played a major role in the settlement, defense, and development of the region. This includes Colonel James Bourland, Judge Lewis Lindsay, Colonel John Young, Colonel William Fitzhugh, W. O. Davis, Daniel Montague, Marion Redmon, Kate Ticknor, William R. “Uncle Bill” Strong, H. P. Wear, W. T. G. Wear, and the Gunter family, as well as more widely known individuals such as Quanah Parker, Deaf Smith, John Chisum, and U.S. Senator Joe Bailey.
Archivist's note: An alphabetical, general subject index to the collection is available. A copy is located in Folder 1 of the collection and another is attached to the printed version of this finding aid.
This collection is open for research use.
Cooke County History Collection, 1843-1967, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Keelee James, September 2013.