Southern Methodist University

Kilgore family papers

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Kilgore family
Title: Kilgore family papers
Dates: 1879-1944
Abstract: This collection features business and personal records of Samuel Grafton Kilgore (1858-1924) and Cassie R. Chase Kilgore (1858-1934), Methodist missionaries to Mexico. The Kilgore family papers include a letter from missionary Mary C. Kelso to Abbie Chase (sister of Cassie Chase Kilgore), photographs of relatives, and materials pertaining to Catherine Kilgore Johnston, her husband John McMillan Johnston, and their daughter, Jane Johnston. The collection also includes temperance literature and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union ephemera.
Accession No: Accession 2016.03, Collection BridArch 3.140
Extent: 1 box (.5 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English and Spanish.
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

Samuel Grafton Kilgore was born in DeWitt County, Texas, on January 27, 1858. His parents, James Thomas and Caroline Buchwalter Kilgore, were devout Christians who had moved to Texas from Ohio in 1850. Samuel Kilgore graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1879. In 1880 he was received on trial by the West Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Rev. Kilgore’s appointments in the West Texas Conference included Del Rio (1880-1881), Camp Woods Mission (1881-1882), Fort David American Mission (1883-1884), and Chihuahua Mission (1884-1885).

In 1885 the Mexican Border Mission Conference separated from the West Texas Conference. Rev. Kilgore served the Chihuahua Mission of the Mexican Border Conference from 1885 until 1893. His ministerial leadership contributed to the founding of Bethel Chapel and Palmore College in Chihuahua. In 1893 he was appointed Presiding Elder. However, a year later his health deteriorated and he retired from the ministry, relocating to New Mexico. In 1906-1907 Kilgore was recalled to teach Bible at Palmore College and to assist with ministry in nearby towns.

Samuel G. Kilgore married school teacher Cassie R. Chase on May 4, 1886. Their children were Abbie Kilgore, Catherine (“Catarina”) Kilgore Johnston, Samuel G. Kilgore, Jr, Juanita Kilgore Urton, James T. Kilgore, and Moody Chase Kilgore.

Rev. Kilgore’s brother, James A. Kilgore, D.D. (1865-1950), was a founding faculty member of the Southern Methodist University (SMU) School of Theology (now Perkins School of Theology), 1915-1934; acting Dean of the School of Theology, 1919-1920 and 1926-1933; and acting President of SMU, 1922-1923.

Rev. Samuel G. Kilgore died in Puente, California, on September 3, 1924 and was buried in El Paso, Texas. Cassie R. Kilgore died ten years later in 1934.


Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Journal of the Rio Grande Mission Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1859-1885. Texas: Distributed by order of the 1942 session of the Southwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church (U.S.), 1943.

Verduzco, Pablo Garcia, and Leland E. Fiske. Sketch of Samuel G. Kilgore, Early Methodist Missionary to Mexico. Dallas: James A. Kilgore, 1971.

“Testamento y Voluntad de Samuel G. Kilgore.” La Estrella. Las Cruces, New Mexico. October 25, 1924, page 1.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Kilgore family papers comprise documents, photographs, and publications generated or collected by three generations of the Samuel G. Kilgore family. These records primarily detail Rev. Kilgore’s association with the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and family relationships, as revealed through personal correspondence. Other items of interest include a letter from Methodist missionary Mary C. Kelso (who served in Singapore with her husband, Rev. C. C. Kelso), and photographs of Chase family relatives. The collection also contains temperance literature in Spanish and English reflecting Catherine Johnston’s participation in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into series:
Series 1: Kilgore – Chase – Johnston materials, 1879-1944


Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgement of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which Bridwell Library assumes no responsibility.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Kilgore family.
Kilgore, Samuel Grafton.
Kilgore, Cassie R. Chase.
Johnston family.
Chase family.
Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Board of Missions.
Methodists --Texas.
Document types

Related Materials

James Kilgore papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Kilgore family papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2016.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2016.

Finding aid written by

Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2016.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2016.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Kilgore – Chase – Johnston materials, 1879-1944

The first eight folders contain personal and business records, correspondence, and photographs pertaining to Samuel G. Kilgore, his wife, Cassie R. Chase Kilgore, and her siblings. The final five folders contain items pertaining to Catherine (“Catarina”) Kilgore Johnston, her husband, John McMillan Johnston, and their daughter, Jane Johnston.
Box Folder
6B 01 Samuel G. Kilgore college notebook, 1879
02 Samuel G. Kilgore ministry and financial records, 1889-1894
03 Samuel G. Kilgore Board of Missions correspondence, 1890-1907
04 Kilgore family correspondence, 1888-1908
05 Kilgore family correspondence, 1911
06 Kilgore family correspondence, 1912-1916
07 C. C. Kelso letter to Abbie M. Chase, 1894 November 8
08 Chase – Colby – Jewett family photographs, circa 1870s-1910s
09 Johnston family financial records and correspondence, 1929-1944
10 Temperance literature in Spanish, circa 1928-1930
11 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union ephemera, 1920s
12 “Dry Facts Refute Wet Claims” article reprint, 1932
13 Jane Johnston documents and autograph books, 1930-1944