Giddings, J. D. Collection
Processed by: Katherine Freeman
Date Processed: 29 Oct. 2014
Jabez Demming Giddings (J.D. Giddings), born in Pennsylvania, came to Texas in 1838 to claim his brother Giles’ land bounty after Giles’ death at the Battle of San Jacinto. After initially teaching school, Giddings became a lawyer and wealthy entrepreneur in Brenham, becoming one of the state’s wealthiest men. He and a brother founded one of the state’s earliest banks and he became a stockholder and member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Texas Central Railway. Giddings joined the Somervell expedition against Mexico and also served in the Confederacy during the Civil War. The town of Giddings, Texas, was named after him.
A Methodist, Giddings met Texas Methodist pioneer Martin Ruter before Ruter’s death in 1838, and Giddings lived briefly in the Rutersville community named after Ruter. The earliest institution of higher education in Texas, Rutersville College was founded in 1840 as a result of Ruter’s activities, and Giddings would go on to be associated with several Methodist colleges whose charters – including Rutersville College’s - were eventually inherited by Southwestern University. For a time, Gidding’s pastor in Brenham was Francis A. Mood, the first regent of Southwestern. Giddings financially supported F.A. Mood as a stockholder in the Texas University Company that would become Southwestern and was one of the original Board of Trustees. After J.D. Giddings death in 1878, his wife Ann continued to support the endeavors of Mood in the building of Southwestern by creating Helping Hall which was later renamed Giddings Hall in her honor. Four years after Ann’s donation, the Board of Trustees recommended her son-in-law, Heber Stone, for a position on the Board. Stone was approved to serve as a Trustee and he served 15 years.
Sources: William B. Jones, To Survive and Excel: The Story of Southwestern University 1840-2000and the online Handbook of Texas (accessed Nov. 4, 2014).
This small collection is almost exclusively correspondence from Texas Methodists to J.D. Giddings with some to his son-in-law Heber Stone along with a few items to and from other family members. The correspondence regards the financial struggles of Soule University, fundraising and issuing stock for Texas University Company, the founding of Southwestern university, Southwestern business and financial matters, and family members and their activities. The letters were donated to Southwestern University’s library by Wallace Giddings, a descendent of J.D. Giddings, in the Spring of 1996 with a few additional materials donated by Patricia Giddings, wife of Wallace Giddings. There appear to be no letters from 1873-1875.
SEE ALSO: SpecColl 976.42 G362, Giddings’ in the news from 1854; SpecColl 976.092 G361 v.1 & v.2, Letters and information on Jabez Deming Giddings and Family.
1.1 1871 - 1872
Correspondence almost all to J. D. Giddings in Brenham, Texas, regarding: stock in Texas University Company, Southwestern University business & financial matters, family members & their activities. Letters from: Galveston, Chappell Hill (Soule University), Corsicana, Georgetown, Gatesville, Houston. Included are letters from William Giddings (J.D.’s son?) while a student at Soule University.
Some individual correspondents: F.A. Mood, John Wallis (?), J.C. Jenkins, William Giddings, R.T.P. Allen, B.D. Dashiel, T. Wallis, W.B. Norris, David H. Williams, Geo. T. Jester, M.B. Lockett, John Atkinson, J. F. Matthews, Charles Marechal, E. D. Pitts, J. H. Davidson, William Chappell (re stone edifice at Soule) P.E. Carnes.
1.2 1876 - 1905
Includes: From F.A. Mood to Hon. J.D. Giddings (Southwestern letterhead) re: contract with Southwestern Life Ins. Co. and excellent young men enrolled in the spring term; From F.A. Mood to Hon. J.D. Giddings re: the fulfillment of promise of insurance by the University and the Annual and District conferences, seeking donations for the university, his illness restricting his work; From F.A. Mood to Hon. J.D. Giddings (Southwestern letterhead) re: seeking refund of personal monies spent buying benches, blackboards, etc. for the university, his illness; From J.C.S. Morrow [married Sam Houston’s daughter, Elizabeth, in Georgetown] to Hon. J.D. Giddings re: donation toward building the Mood’s home, the devotion of Dr. Mood to the university and church, anticipated enrollment of 100 students in coming semester, proposal to write names on enclosed list to solicit donations for the Mood residence; From Jno. H. McLean (Ladies Annex letterhead) to Bro. Stone re: photographs taken of the old and new buildings, number of graduates working in ministry and as missionaries in foreign countries, Bro. Hughes visit to Houston, funds needed to complete proposed building; From Horace Bishop on Southwestern letterhead. From R.S. Heyer (Southwestern letterhead) to Heber Stone re: Mexican trip and silver mine ore assay at $30-35/ton, cost of smelting, mentions commencement, 1900.
1.3 1871, 1878
Note: Donor-Patricia R. Giddings (wife of Wallace Giddings)
Grade report for G.A. Giddings for February 1871 from Soule University; letter of condolence to Mrs. J.D. Giddings and Miss Lou from F.A. Mood.