Texas A&M University Kingsville, South Texas Archives

Floyd Elton & Jewell Griffith Rees Collection

Collection Summary

Creator Floyd Elton & Jewell Griffith Rees
Title Floyd Elton & Jewell Griffith Rees Collection
Dates: 1885-1979
Abstract: The Floyd Elton & Jewell Griffith Rees Collection consists of over 650 books and journals, approximately 2 cubic feet of manuscript material, and over 1000 railroad related photographs. The collection of books focuses on the Civil War and the Confederacy, Texas and Mexican History, and Railroad History. The photographs document every type of railroad activity (especially accidents), objects (like rolling stock and locomotives) and locals (depots and train yards) related to railroads in Texas, and especially in South Texas from the late 1800’s through the 1970's. The manuscript materials deal mostly with railroad activities and history.
Identification A1985-017; A1986-050; A1986-050.AD1; A1989-043
Collection URL http://archives.tamuk.edu/ead.php?xml=rees%20ead
Quantity: 2 linear feet; 1000+ photographs; 650 books and journals
Location: G-15-2 Boxes 1-3, G-15-3 Boxes 1-7, G-15-4 Boxes 1-5; Flat File 1-11; STA Photo Files; Rare Books
Language: English

Historical Note

Floyd Elton Rees was born in Yoakum, TX on December 31, 1907. His parents had moved to Kingsville, TX in 1906 but returned to Yoakum because of the lack of medical facilities in the young town of Kingsville. He graduated from King High School and started working for the railroad just two days later on May 26, 1926, as a laborer in the roundhouse. He followed two of his brothers and his father in working for the railroad. He advanced to fire builder then to fireman and ultimately was promoted to engineer in 1942. He retired on November 4, 1972, after forty-six years working for the railroad. Floyd Rees and Jewell Griffith had known each other all of their lives. She lived on a farm outside of Kingsville and graduated from high school a year after Floyd, in 1927. Jewell spent most of her adult life in California, where she had a career in social work. Floyd and Jewell were married on March 22, 1970 and shortly after returned to Kingsville. Floyd Elton Rees was a professional railroad man and avid amateur historian who traveled throughout the country seeking books on the history of Texas in the Civil War and on the development of the railroad in the West. He collected well over 1200 books and pamphlets, some rare, on his research topic. He further photographed the development of the railroad industry in South Texas including the changing railroad cars, and the depots along the South Texas railroad routes. Mr. Rees' railroad career was the impetus for his collection of railroad materials. His interests rapidly expanded to include other topics, such as the Confederacy, Texas and Mexican History, and related subjects. Floyd and Jewell Rees donated their collection to the South Texas Archives in order to keep the materials together and to make them available to students and scholars.

Scope and Contents

The Floyd Elton & Jewell Griffith Rees Collection is rich in history of Kingsville and the railroads that created many of the small and medium towns in South Texas. The St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railroad, called the “Browny” brought people and supplies to the growing town of Kingsville in the first half of the 20th century. Many photographs of the railway cars, damaged locomotives after accidents and railway terminals of South Texas are included. The towns of Harlingen, McAllen, Brownsville, and Alice are highlighted. Private railroad cars such as the “Wanderer” and “St. Elmo” are discussed in Rees’ correspondence. Many books and pamphlets in the Rees Book Collection include information on the Civil War and the Confederacy. Pamphlets include: Battlefields Around Fredericksburg, The Influence of Henry Clay upon Abraham Lincoln, “Bulldog” Longstreet at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and many more. Sources for Texas history included books and pamphlets detailing the history of the Regulators and the Moderators and the Shelby County War, the annexation of Texas, and the skirmishes with Mexico. Correspondence between Rees and J.L. Allhands include personal letters sharing information about railroad development in South Texas. Legal documents include purchase of property, birth certificates for Bessie Rees Milliken; discharge papers and a marriage license. Notes on historical research of the railroads by Rees are among these documents.


Series I. Books Series II. Photographs Series III. Railroad Materials Series IV. Correspondence Series V. Legal Documents Series VI. Financial Documents Series VII. Maps Series VIII. Miscellaneous

Index Terms

Rees, Floyd Elton -- 1907-1995
Rees, Jewel Griffith -- 1909-1998
Hood, John Bell -- 1831-1879
Johnston, Albert Sidney -- 1803-1862
Lott, Uriah, 1842-1915
Gaston, William H. -- 1840-1927
Longstreet, James -- 1821-1904
Houston, Andrew Jackson -- 1854-1941
Houston, Sam -- 1793-1863
Jenkins, John Holmes
Jackson, Stonewall -- 1824-1863
Lincoln, Abraham -- 1809-1865
Artesian Belt Railroad
Aransas Harbor Terminal Railroad
Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Company
Trinity and Brazos Valley Railroad Company
Texas-Mexican Railway Company
St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway
Missouri Pacific Railroad Company
Confederate States of America -- Army -- Texas Brigade
Confederate States of America -- Army -- Texas Volunteer Infantry, 1st
Confederate States of America -- Army -- Texas Infantry Regiment, 4th
Confederate States of America -- Army -- Texas Infantry Regiment, 5th
Confederate States of America -- Army -- Arkansas Infantry regiment, 3rd
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Registers of dead
Texas -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories
Geographical Names
Kingsville (Tex.) -- History
Shelby County (Tex.) -- History
Rio Grande Valley (Colo. Mexico and Tex.) -- History
Port Isabel Lighthouse (Port Isabel, Tex.) -- History
Padre Island (Tex.)
Railroads -- Texas, South -- History
Railroads -- Texas, South -- Aransas Pass
Railroad Terminals
Railroads -- Employees
Railroads -- Timetables
Railroad accidents -- Texas, South --History
Hijacking of trains -- Texas
Brigands and robbers -- Rio Grande Valley -- History
Electric railroads -- Cars
Transportation -- Texas -- History
Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863
Generals -- Confederate States of America -- Biography
Chickamauga, Battle of, Ga., 1863
Mexican War, 1846-1848
San Jacinto, Battle of, Tex., 1836
Revolutions -- Texas, South -- History -- 20th century