Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo

A Guide to the Cumings Family Papers, 1824-1926

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cumings Family
Title: Cumings Family Papers
Dates: 1824-1926
Creator Abstract: Rebekah Russel Cumings, a widow, and five of her children settled in Stephen F. Austin's Colony in 1822. One son, William Cumings, died in 1828, and his widow and their only child, Samuel A. Cumings, moved from Texas. Samuel Cumings returned in 1847, settling in the Bellville area.
Content Abstract: The Cumings Family Papers consist of correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, printed material, photographs, and artifacts. Most of the papers are associated with Samuel A. Cumings, particularly his property dealings and business activities. A small number of maps are part of the papers, most notably a manuscript map of the Austin Colony and surrounding area attributed to Stephen F. Austin.
Identification: Col 8978
Extent: 12.71 linear feet (6 document boxes, 9 oversize boxes)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Biographical Note

One of the original settlers in Stephen F. Austin's colony, Rebekah Russel Cumings came to Texas in 1822 with five of her children. A widow, she received a league and two labores of land in Brazoria and Waller Counties. Three of her sons, John, William and James, also received land grants in the colony. In addition, James Cumings received a five-league grant or hacienda in exchange for a pledge to build a grist and saw mill on Mill Creek, and the three brothers joined together to complete the project.

William Cumings married Lucinda Ruggles of Lewis County, Kentucky, in 1825, and brought her back to Texas. Their only child, Samuel Anthony Cumings, was born there in 1827. William died the next year and his widow and child returned to Kentucky. The death of James Cumings in 1826, Rebekah Cumings in 1832, and John Cumings in 1839 left the family's land in the care of Rebekah's surviving daughter, Rebecca Cumings. In 1847, Samuel A. Cumings, who had been living in St. Louis, Missouri, returned to Texas and claimed a share of the estate of his father and uncles. Settling in the Bellville area, Cumings studied law, though his primary activities were operating the family's mill, managing landholdings, farming, and other business pursuits. Division of the Cumings estate touched off a protracted legal battle involving Samuel A. Cumings, his aunt Rebecca (who married David Y. Portis in 1853), heirs in Kentucky and Indiana, and others. Various legal actions were filed and cases were heard by the Texas Supreme Court at least three times.

Samuel A. Cumings married Nancy Ellen Souter in 1851. The couple had nine children. Samuel A. Cumings died at his home near Bellville in 1885. Nancy Ellen Cumings died at Sealy, Texas, in 1911.

Additional genealogical information about the Cumings family is available as a PDF document accessible through the DRT Library's online catalog at


The Cemeteries of Austin County. Bellville, Texas: Austin County Historical Commission, 1991.

Cumings Family Papers, 1824-1926, Col 8978, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Cumings, Tim. "James Cumings." Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcu11.

Cumings, Tim. "John Cumings." Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcu12.

Cumings, Tim. "Rebekah Russel Cumings." Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcu14.

Cumings, Tim. "William Cumings." Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcu15.

The First Colony of Texas: Austin's Old Three Hundred. Houston: Descendants of Austin's Old Three Hundred, 1991.

Martin, Robert S. "Maps of an Empresario: Austin's Contribution to the Cartography of Texas." Southwestern Historical Quarterly 85 (April 1982): 371-400.

Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, vol. 9. Houston: E. H. Cushing, 1883.

Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, vol. 14. Houston: E. H. Cushing, 1883.

Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, vol. 30. St. Louis: Gilbert Book Company, 1883.

Vivian, Julia L. "David Y. Portis." Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo23.

Scope and Content Note

The Cumings Family Papers consist of correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, printed material, photographs, and artifacts. Most of the papers are associated with Samuel A. Cumings, particularly his property dealings and business activities. A small number of maps are part of the papers, most notably a manuscript map of the Austin Colony and surrounding area attributed to Stephen F. Austin.


Organization of Collection

This collection is organized into nine series.
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Legal documents
Series 3: Financial records
Series 4: Maps
Series 5: Personal material
Series 6: Printed material
Series 7: Photographs
Series 8: Artifacts
Series 9: Stickney family papers


Access Restrictions

No restrictions. The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Please be advised that the library does not hold the copyright to most of the material in its archival collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure those rights when needed. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, and libel.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Cumings family.
Cumings, Samuel A. (Samuel Anthony), 1827-1885.
Cumings, Nancy Ellen, 1828-1911.
Cumings, William, d. 1828.
Giddings, De Witt Clinton, 1827-1903.
Giddings, Jabez Demming, 1814-1878.
Jones, John B., 1801-1881.
Stickney family.
Terry, Micajah.
Austin Colony--Maps, manuscript.
Austin County--Texas--History--Sources.
Brazoria County--Texas--History--Sources.
Texas--Colonization--Maps, manuscript.
Family papers.
Account books.
Financial records.
Legal documents.
Printed ephemera.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Cumings Family Papers, 1824-1926, Col 8978, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Elizabeth Anne Paul, 1996 June.

Processing Information

Processed by Warren Stricker, 1997 January.

Finding aid edited and encoded by David Gallin-Parisi, 2011 August.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series 1: Correspondence

Most of the correspondence is related to the management of family lands in Austin and Brazoria Counties, including the lengthy legal battles over rights to the property. Copies of letters sent are included with these files. Other correspondence is related to routine business matters, with a few personal letters included.
Box Folder
1 1 W. P. Ballinger, 1869-1875
2 Brazoria County Sheriff and Collector, 1880-1885
3 David N. Brown Machinery Co., 1881-1882
4 C. R. Cox, 1868, 1883-1884
5 J. D. and D. C. Giddings, 1866-1882
6 Charles A. Harris, 1860-1867
7 John B. Jones, 1856-1866
8 Martin M. Souter, 1851-1885
9 Samuel C. Stevenson, 1867-1868
10 Sarah Stevenson, 1849, 1857
11 Texas Comptroller, 1881-1884
12 William L. Vance, 1866-1868
13 Eugene J. Wilson, 1883-1884
14 General, 1851-1869
15 General, 1870-1885
16 General, 1886-1926
17 General, undated
18 Envelopes


Series 2: Legal documents

Much of the legal documents series is related to land transactions, beginning with the original Austin Colony grant of William Cumings, and includes deeds and other land-related documents. The bulk of these land items are associated with Austin County properties, with a lesser amount connected with Brazoria County and other locations. Documents related to lawsuits involving Samuel A. Cumings are relatively few in number, but contain some detail on the inheritance of the family property. Other documents in this series, while not official records of lawsuits, also contain references to legal disputes or concern the property in question.
Box Folder
1 Land transactions, 1824-1900
Grants, 1824
19 William Cumings, Austin Colony, 1824
20 William Cumings, Austin Colony, translation, 1824
21 James Cumings, Austin Colony, translation, 1824
Austin Colony land transactions, 1844-1900, undated
22 1844-1859
23 1869, 1872
24 1874-1879
25 1880-1900, undated
26 Brazoria County land transactions, 1849-1851
27 Waller County land transactions, 1880
28 Abstracts
Box Folder
2 29-30 Plats and field notes
Box Folder
Oversize 8 146 Oversize plats
Box Folder
2 31 Leases, 1883-1884
32 Contracts, 1848-1890
33 Slave transactions, 1850, 1853
34 Livestock transactions, 1886-1888
35 Bonds, 1853, 1859
36 Promissory notes, 1874-1893
Lawsuits, 1853-1879
37 Cumings vs. McDade, 1859-1860
38 Hill, et al., vs. Portis, et al., 1868-1869, undated
39 E. M. Pease vs. Samuel A. Cumings, 1853
Hunt vs. Cumings, 1857
Bradbury and Glenn vs. Glenn, et al., 1858
Cumings vs. Palm and Schneider, 1868
Schweikert vs. Cumings, 1869
Wood vs. Bennett and Clary, 1872
Cumings vs. Hillpath, circa 1878
Menke vs. Cumings, 1879
40 Notes
41 Wills: Nancy Ellen Cumings and Samuel A. Cumings, 1871
Estate records
42 James Cumings
43 John Cumings
44 Samuel Cumings
45 Samuel A. Cumings, 1885
46 Cross minors, 1870-1871
47 Proposals, 1859-1879
48 Amnesty oath, 1865
49 Occupational license: Samuel A. Cumings, 1871
50 Certification of election, 1854


Series 3: Financial records

Materials in this series are related to routine business and personal transactions. The most detailed financial information can be found in memorandum books, ledgers, day books, and account books, most of them kept by Samuel A. Cumings. The earliest of these document Cumings' activities prior to his return to Texas, and some include diary entries and other notations along with the financial records. Two of these bound volumes are related to an unidentified business operating in Philadelphia and New York. Most of the bound items also contain unrelated entries of a later date, such as school notes, diaries, and doodlings.
Box Folder
3 Bills and accounts, 1852-1924, undated
51 Ballinger, Jack and Mott, undated
52 J. D. and D. C. Giddings, 1871
53 A. Haak, 1877-1887
54 W. E. Luhn, 1884-1885
55 H. Miller, 1882-1889
56 W. L. Springfield, 1875-1891
57 Stern Brothers, 1889-1893
58 Micajah Terry, 1875-1880
59-60 General, 1852-1924
Receipts, 1851-1921
61 Samuel A. Cumings, 1871-1876
62 J. D. and D. C. Giddings, 1859-1876
63 B. T. and C. A. Harris, 1869
64 Hunt and Holland, 1871
65 Lewis and Davis, 1859-1860
66 W. E. Luhn, 1885-1891
67 H. Miller, 1886-1887
68 Micajah Terry, 1869-1875
69 W. A. Trenckmann, 1885-1887
70 General, 1851-1921
Tax receipts, 1850-1892
71 Austin County, 1859-1892
72 Brazoria County, 1850-1881
73 Confederate, 1862-1864
74 School taxes, 1883-1890
75 Texas Comptroller, 1879-1883
76 U. S. Internal Revenue, 1868, 1870
77 Tax records, 1851-1884
78 Financial summaries
79 Drafts, 1882-1886
80 Bond coupons, 1862
81 Bank statement: B. L. Smythe, 1924
82 Bills of lading, 1882
83 Trade card: T. Cumings, undated
84 Notes
Memorandum books and general ledgers, 1842-1918
85 Samuel A. Cumings, 1842-1847, 1852
86 Samuel A. Cumings, includes records of employment, employees, daybook, diary, compositions by Nancy M. Thompson, 1846-1859
Box Folder
4 87 Possibly Samuel A. Cumings, circa 1869
88 Possibly Samuel A. Cumings, undated
89 S. M. Hood, circa 1890-1899
90 Unidentified, 1918
Account books, 1851-1875
91 Samuel A. Cumings, 1851-1859
92 Samuel A. Cumings, 1852-1853
93 Samuel A. Cumings, 1875
Account ledgers, circa 1859-1890
Oversize 7 Samuel A. Cumings, 1860-1885
Samuel A. Cumings, 1869-1876, 1890
Box Folder
4 94 Samuel A. Cumings, 1869-1878; chemistry notes and diary entries, 1888-1889
95 Samuel A. Cumings, 1882-1884
96 Unidentified, circa 1859
Day books, 1836-1871
Oversize 7 [Possibly Ruggles], 1836-1848
Box Folder
4 97 Unidentified, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York, 1858-1871


Series 4: Maps

Maps include both manuscript and printed items. The most significant item is a manuscript map of Texas apparently by Stephen F. Austin, probably dating from the 1820s. The map is similar to those done by Austin in preparation for the publication of his 1830 map and includes delineation of colonies, with notes in the hand of Samuel M. Williams, Austin's secretary.
Box Folder
Oversize 8 Manuscript maps
147 A Map of Austin's Colony and adjacent Country in Texas drawn principally from actual Survey by Stephen F. Austin, circa 1820-1829.
Railroad systems, Texas, Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, with distances and times, separated from collection, see catalog for location, undated.
Printed maps
148 Callahan County, Texas. Marshall, Texas: Texas and Pacific Railway Co., circa 1870-1879.
Map of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and its Connections. Separated from collection; see catalog for location. Louisville and Nashville Railroad, 1882.


Series 5: Personal material

Personal material gathers together items in various forms, including a brief diary kept by Samuel A. Cumings during a freighting trip in 1858. Notebooks and memorandum books are mostly related to children's school activities.
Box Folder
5 98 Diary: Samuel A. Cumings, 1858
Notebooks and memorandum books, 1852-circa 1899, undated
99 Nancy M. Thompson, 1852
100 Possibly Albert Cumings, contains diary entries and clippings, circa 1880-1889
101 Eddie Cumings, circa 1890-1899
102 Nancy Ellen Cumings, recipes, undated
103 Cumings Hood, undated
104 Lula Hood, undated
105 Curtis Brown, 2 items, undated
106 Science notebook, undated
107 Unidentified, undated
108 Autograph book: Cumings Hood, 1905
Oversize 11 Scrapbook
Box Folder
5 109 Poetry
110 Essays, compositions, and school work
111 Constitution and bylaws: White Stockings Base Ball Club
112 Recipes
113 Drawings
114 Program
115 Pledge
116 Miniature books
117 Notes


Series 6: Printed material

Printed material includes a miscellany of items, the most notable being certificates of membership and commission, Civil War military orders, circulars, funeral notices, and various forms of advertising. A number of the complete newspapers contain obituaries of family members; most of the clippings appear to be related to matters of personal interest.
Box Folder
6 118 Advertising material
119 Blotters
Oversize 11 Books
Anecdotes of Love, incomplete.
Atkins, James, and William J. Kirkpatrick. The Young People's Hymnal No. 2. Nashville: Publishing House Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1902.
Conn, H. W. An Elementary Physiology and Hygiene. New York: Silver, Burdett and Company, 1903. 2 copies.
The Elementary Spelling Book, incomplete.
Greenough, James B. Caeser's Gallic War. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1898.
Gunn's Domestic Medicine, incomplete.
Haines, T. L., and L. W. Yaggy. The Royal Path of Life. Chicago: Western Publishing House, 1879.
The Holy Bible. New York: The Christian Herald, 1902.
McGee, Joe. Bill's Bubble "Busted" and other Rhymes. Bryan, Texas, 1919.
Mother Goose's Melodies, incomplete.
Rice, Wallace, and Frances Rice, compilers. Toasts and Tipple: A Book of Conviviality. M.A. Donahue and Co., undated.
Possibly A Speller and Definer. Louisville, Kentucky: Benjamin P. Morton and Co., incomplete.
The Standard Speaker, incomplete.
The Story of the Bible, incomplete.
Practical manual, incomplete.
Practical manual, enclosed in cover of Sheldon's Complete Arithmetic, incomplete.
Box Folder
Oversize 8 149 Broadside: Supplement: Judge Aldredge on the Issues of the Campaign, 1892
Box Folder
6 120 Brochure: Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railway
121 Calendar
122 Advertising cards
123 Business cards
124 Calling cards
125 Greeting cards and remembrance tokens
126 Religious cards
127 School tokens
128 Card samples
Box Folder
Oversize 8 150 Certificates, 1854-1875
Samuel A. Cumings, commission, Justice of the Peace, Austin County, 1854 August 28
Samuel A. Cumings, commission, Justice of the Peace, Austin County, 1862 September 9
Patrons of Husbandry, Charter to Ervin Grange No. 780, Austin County, 1875 March 6
Box Folder
6 129 Circulars, 1859-circa 1879
Dental Circular, Dr. J. L. Libbey, Brenham, Texas, 1859
Waco University Anniversary, 1878
Medical Department of the State University, Where Shall it be Located? To the People of Texas, circa 1870-1879
130 Family
131 Poetry
132-133 Illustrations
134 General
Box Folder
Oversize 9 151 Oversize general
Box Folder
6 135 Funeral notices, 1860, 1885-1892
136 Invitations, 1852-1905, undated
Celebration Ball, Brazoria, Texas, 1852 December 20
Grand Leap Year Ball, Bellville, Texas, 1884 January 18
Possibly wedding ceremony, Albany, Texas, 1884 September 9
Wedding, Katie Walton Dickehut and August F. Ueckert, Bellville, Texas, 1905 April 5
Grand Hop, Bellville, Texas, undated
137 Labels
138 Military orders, 1864
District of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, General Orders No. 74, 1864 March 24
Department Trans-Mississippi, General Orders No. 9, An Act to Organize Forces to Serve During the War, 1864 April 9
Oversize 9 Newspapers
Austin County Times, separated from collection, see catalog for location, 1885 February 28
Bellville Times, 1911 August 10
Bellville Times, 2 copies, 1917 July 12
Brenham Banner, 1872 February 17
Brenham Banner, 1873 March 22
Brenham Banner, 1873 November 1
Brenham Enquirer, 1858 September 10
Brenham Enquirer, separated from collection, see catalog for location, 1858 October 29
Carlsbad Headlight, incomplete, 1910 February 21
Dallas Semi-Weekly News, incomplete, 1902 April 15
Galveston Weekly News, incomplete, 1868 August 20
New York Weekly Sun, 1880 November 10
Sealy News, 1914 May 14
Sealy Weekly News, 2 copies, 1911 August 11
Trench and Camp, 1918 December 4
Box Folder
6 139 Periodicals
Box Folder
Oversize 9 152 Oversize periodicals
153 Prints: Frederic Remington, "Artist's Proofs"
Benighted for a Dry Camp
In From the Night Herd
The Quarrel
Bringing Home the New Cook
Box Folder
6 140 Ticket: Klan of Comus, 1873 December 18
141 Miscellaneous printed material


Series 7: Photographs

Most of the photographs are unidentified, though it may be speculated that three images are of Samuel A. Cumings.
Box Folder
6 Photographs removed from album
142 Tintypes
Unidentified man, 2 items
Unidentified woman
143 Cartes de visite
J. P. Osterhout
Willie Jack, last name unknown
Unidentified, 3 items
Print reproductions
144 Unidentified, 6 items
Oversize 10 Cased photographs
Possibly an unidentified man, possibly tintype
Unidentified man, possibly tintype
Unidentified woman, daguerreotype
Unidentified woman, daguerreotype
Unidentified child, ambrotype
Unidentified woman, ambrotype, removed from case
Lucinda Ruggles Cumings, ambrotype, removed from case
Lucinda Ruggles Cumings, reproduction on ivory, duplicate of above item
Empty case
Panoramic photograph: Camp Travis, Texas, 1918
Oversize 11 Photograph album, photos removed, see above


Series 8: Artifacts

Artifacts consist primarily of items of clothing and other personal items, generally unidentified.
Box Folder
6 145 Badges and ribbons
Oversize 13 Textiles
Oversize 14 Pill bottle
Atomizer bottle
Possible alcohol burner
Pill container
Glass bottle with E. W. Cumings label
Miscellaneous glassware, 3 items
Cardboard pillbox
Ivory and paper fan
Hair braids: Jennie Cumings, Lina Nelson, Annie, Sallie Murray, Lillie Chatham, Norris, Lucy Glenn, Eunice Stokes, Sallie Glenn, Georgia, and unidentified
Eyeglasses, 5 pairs
Man's razor
Lead type, 4 items
Envelope of talcum powder
Oversize 15 Decorative box containing sewing implements
Decorated wooden box
Wooden box
Atomizer box containing atomizer parts, wooden "tester," brush
Possible leather scabbard
Lead shot bags, 7 items
Bamboo flute
Broken cribbage board
Miscellaneous wood objects, 2 items


Series 9: Stickney family papers

The final series consists of a small amount of material associated with the Stickney family, including a family Bible and items removed from the pages of the Bible. These papers include letters, drawings, printed material, and photographs.
Box Folder
Oversize 12 154-156 Papers removed from Bible
The Holy Bible. Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1884.