Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Charles Nutter Smith:

An Inventory of the Charles Nutter Smith Papers at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Archives, 1881-1996, undated, bulk 1881-1944



Overview

Creator: Smith, Charles Nutter, 1859-1945.
Title: Charles Nutter Smith papers
Dates: 1881-1996, undated
Dates (Bulk): bulk 1881-1944
Abstract: Charles Nutter Smith was a schoolteacher and attorney in Liberty County, Texas, and served as Liberty County judge from 1914 to 1920. The Charles Nutter Smith papers consist of legal documents, financial documents and ledgers, a journal, correspondence, manuscripts, genealogical material, clippings, a photograph (reproduction), and artifacts pertaining to Smith's life, his business and land transactions, his teaching career, and his law practice. Materials date from 1881 to 1996, with some undated material. The bulk dates from 1881 to 1944. Information within the files dates from 1859 to 1945. The majority of the materials are Charles Nutter Smith's personal and professional papers, but they also include materials added later by other family members. The papers consist of original and photocopied items.
Quantity: 2.15 cubic ft.
Location: These records are located at the Sam Houston Regional Library & Research Center, P.O. Box 310, Liberty, Texas 77575, 936-336-8821.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Biographical Sketch

Charles Nutter Smith was born in Hockley, Harris County, Texas, on August 26, 1859, to Parker and Effie Lorena Grimes Smith, both natives of Indiana. His father died about 1862, and his mother died about 1869. Smith spent the remainder of his childhood at the Bay Land Orphans' Home in Harris County, Texas. He graduated from the Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in 1880 and worked as a schoolteacher for the next 20 years.

During his teaching career Smith built the Pine Grove School in Polk County, Texas, and served as principal of the Livingston schools. He started the first movement in Liberty County to impose a special school tax, a campaign which was successful. He was instrumental in securing the first county bond issue for the purpose of building schools. Smith studied law with Pearson, Weston and Packer in Richmond, Texas, and was admitted to the bar in 1901. He maintained a general law practice in Cleveland, Texas, for over 25 years. He served as president of the school board of Cleveland. He was elected county judge of Liberty County and served three terms, from 1915 to 1920. He ran unsuccessfully for the office in 1928 and 1930.

Smith was a member of the Liberty County and Texas State Bar Associations. A mason for many years, he was a member of the Dayton Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons, the Houston Chapter of Rose Croix, and Tarkington Prairie Lodge No. 498. For 30 years he served as superintendent of the Cleveland Baptist Church Sunday schools, which he helped organize. He organized and completed the first telephone exchange in Cleveland and also the first in Liberty County. In 1923, he organized the Proletarian Diamond Oil Association and served as its secretary and treasurer.

Smith married Margaret Agnes Capers on August 31, 1885. The couple had five children: Charles Nutter Jr., Donald Leslie, Lutie, and two others who died in infancy. Margaret died October 21, 1927, and in 1928, Smith married Mollie Majnik. They had one child, Robert Charles.

Charles Nutter Smith died of pneumonia on January 29, 1945, and is buried in the Cleveland City Cemetery.

(Sources include: "Judge C.N. Smith, Teacher, Lawyer, Judge, Dies at 85," Cleveland Advocate, 1945; Wharton, Clarence R., "Charles Nutter Smith," Texas Under Many Flags, Chicago, New York: The American Historical Society, Inc., 1930; and the papers themselves.)


Scope and Contents of the Papers

Charles Nutter Smith was a schoolteacher and attorney in Liberty County, Texas, and served as Liberty County judge from 1914 to 1920. The Charles Nutter Smith papers consist of legal documents, financial documents and ledgers, a journal, correspondence, manuscripts, genealogical material, clippings, a photograph (reproduction), and artifacts pertaining to Smith's life, his business and land transactions, his teaching career, and his law practice. Materials date from 1881 to 1996, with some undated material. The bulk dates from 1881 to 1944. Information within the files dates from 1859 to 1945. The majority of the materials are Smith's personal and professional papers, but they also include materials added later by other family members. The papers consist of original and photocopied items.

Notable items include a docket or log book kept by Smith recording information pertaining to his legal cases from 1927 to 1943; a ledger or journal in which he recorded material on various school subjects such as math, history, and grammar as well as his poems and stories; his financial ledgers from 1913 to 1944; and an Oliver typewriter purchased by Smith in about 1914.


Organization of the Papers

The papers have been organized into four series:
Law practice papers, 1916-1943, 0.17 cubic ft.
Business and land transaction papers, 1889-1944, 0.23 cubic ft.
Personal and family papers, 1881-1996, 0.25 cubic ft.
Artifacts, 1881-1939, 1.5 cubic ft.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate but may be used in the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center reading room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Under the Copyright Law of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished manuscripts are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. The term of copyright for published materials varies. Researchers are responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Some items may be too fragile to photocopy. Please see Archives staff for assistance.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects:
Education--Texas--Polk County--History.
Judges--Texas--Liberty County.
Lawyers--Texas--Liberty County.
Places:
Liberty County (Tex.)
Polk County (Tex.)
Document Types:
Case files--Texas.
Clippings (information artifacts)--Texas.
Correspondence--Texas.
Financial records--Texas.
Journals (accounts)--Texas.
Legal documents--Texas.
Ledgers (account books)--Texas.
Photographs--Texas.
Property records--Texas.
Receipts (financial records)--Texas.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center
Liberty County Clerk, Probate case papers, 1850-1964, 56 cubic ft.
Polk County School Superintendent, Superintendent's school record, 1873-1965, 2.75 cubic ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Charles Nutter Smith papers. Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1996.192, 1996.193, 1996.194, 1996.199, 1996.226

The Charles Nutter Smith papers were donated to the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center on June 28, 1996, in three separate donations by Shirley Smith, Nell Holt Prather, and Gwen Smith Hughes. Additions to the papers were donated on July 11, 1996, and August 8, 1996, by Shirley Smith.

Processing Information

Finding aid by Lynda Young, 2004

Updated by Lynda Young and Lisa Meisch, 2006

DACS updates by Lisa Meisch, January 2017

EAD encoding and description edits by Tiffany Criswell, January 2018


Detailed Description of the Papers

Law practice papers, 1916-1943,
0.17 cubic ft.

Charles Nutter Smith studied law with Pearson, Weston and Packer in Richmond, Texas, and was admitted to the bar in 1901. He maintained a general law practice in Cleveland, Texas, for over 25 years. This series consists of a log book kept by Smith in which he recorded information about his cases, carbon copies of case papers filed by Smith in Liberty and San Jacinto Counties, and correspondence and other documents pertaining to his law practice. Materials date from 1916 to 1943.
Arrangement
The materials are arranged by document type.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Law practice papers, Charles Nutter Smith papers, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library And Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Technical Requirements
Some items may be too fragile to photocopy. Please see Archives staff for assistance.
Box
1996.192-1 The Lawyer's Trial Docket, 1927-1943
[Log book kept by Charles Nutter Smith recording case information such as parties, cause of action, relevant dates, actions taken in the case.]
Carbon copies of cases filed by Charles Nutter Smith in Liberty County District Court, County Court, and Justice of the Peace Court; and San Jacinto County District Court, 1928-1941
[3 folders]
Correspondence, notes, receipts, and checks pertaining to Charles Nutter Smith's law practice, 1916-1943



Business and land transaction papers, 1889-1944,
0.23 cubic ft.

Charles Nutter Smith owned a large amount of land in Liberty County and elsewhere in Texas. He served as Liberty County judge from 1915 to 1920 and was an unsuccessful candidate for the office in 1928 and 1930. This series consists of legal and financial documents pertaining to some of his land purchases, two ledgers in which Smith recorded his financial transactions and county judge election campaign expenses, bank records, and receipts for Smith's various transactions with Cleveland, Texas, merchants. Materials date from 1889 to 1944.
Arrangement
The materials are arranged by topic.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Business and land transaction papers, Charles Nutter Smith papers, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library And Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Technical Requirements
Some items may be too fragile to photocopy. Please see Archives staff for assistance.
Box
1996.192-1 Receipts and other documents pertaining to Atascosa County, Texas, land purchase by Charles Nutter Smith, 1907-1909, 1922
Photocopies and carbon copies of documents pertaining to the B. Tarkington Survey, Liberty County, Texas, 1885-1934
Deed of trust, C.N. (Charles Nutter) Smith and M.A. Smith to C.C. Cherry, Trustee for State Bank of Cleveland, for 100 acres of the William White League, November 9, 1910
[Includes release of deed of trust, May 20, 1915.]
"Surveys of Property, C.N. Smith Sr.," handwritten list of lots and acreage from various leagues of land in Liberty County, Texas, undated
Abstract of title for A.B. Hardin League, Liberty County, Texas, prepared by Swilley & Swilley, Real Estate Agents and Abstractors, certified June 5, 1893
Photocopied map showing mineral leases on the Charles Smith, James Eldridge, and William B. Duncan Leagues, Liberty County, Texas, undated
[4 pages]
Property tax receipts of Charles Nutter Smith for B. Tarkington, J.C. Smiley, Robert Sharnian, and Spencer Kirkham Leagues, Liberty County, Texas, 1889-1901
Ledger recording financial transactions and election campaign expenses, 1913-1926
Ledger recording financial transactions and election campaign expenses, 1927-1944
Bank statements, checks, and deposit slips, 1913-1944
Business receipts for transactions with various Cleveland, Texas, merchants, 1914-1944



Personal and family papers, 1881-1996, undated,
0.25 cubic ft.

Charles Nutter Smith was the son of Parker Smith and Effie Grimes Smith. Both of his parents died when he was a child, and he then lived at the Bay Land Orphans' Home in Harris County, Texas. He graduated from Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in 1880 and worked as a schoolteacher for the next 20 years. A mason for many years, he was a member of the Dayton Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons, the Houston Chapter of Rose Croix, and Tarkington Prairie Lodge No. 498. This series consists of Smith's ledger or journal containing his poetry, stories, and writings on school subjects as well as articles, clippings, government records, correspondence, manuscripts, genealogical materials, and other documents pertaining to his teaching career, his family history, and his masonic lodge memberships. It includes original and photocopied materials.
Arrangement
The materials are arranged by topic.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Personal and family papers, Charles Nutter Smith papers, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Technical Requirements
Some items may be too fragile to photocopy. Please see Archives staff for assistance.
Box
1996.192-1 Obituary and other biographical articles for Charles Nutter Smith, 1929-1976
[Includes original and photocopied material.]
Sam Houston Normal Institute materials, 1882-1883, 1940
[Includes a reproduction of a photograph of the 1879-1880 class at a 1940 reunion and excerpts from school catalogs.]
Masonic Lodge materials, 1945, undated
[Includes "Resolutions of Respect" in memory of Charles Nutter Smith by the Tarkington Prairie Lodge No. 498.]
Teaching career in Polk County and Cleveland, Texas, materials, 1882-1884, 1947, undated
[Includes photocopied Polk County school superintendent's records from 1882 to 1884.]
Membership cards for Tarkington Prairie Lodge No. 498, Houston chapter of Rose Croix, Dayton chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and the Taxpayers Association of Liberty County, Texas, 1926-1943
Smith, Nutter, Grimes, Joffrion, Newton, Majnik, and Robinson families genealogical materials, about 1926-1950, undated
[Includes original, transcribed, and photocopied material: correspondence, clippings of obituaries, school records, death certificate, and transcribed family Bible records.]
"Statement for Charles Nutter Smith and Sister," by J.S. Sullivan, July 10, 1881, undated
[Handwritten manuscript with biographical information on Parker Smith, formerly known as James Riley Nutter, 1881, and a typewritten transcription by Shirley Smith, undated.]
Box
1996.192-2 Photocopies of court records pertaining to the estate of Parker Smith, Grimes County, Texas, consisting of deeds and probate records, with index, 1859-1872
Photocopied article, "The Orphan's Home at Bayland, Harris County, Texas, 1871, " undated
[Includes text of the act passed by the Texas Legislature creating the home, the home's by-laws, and a list of all the residents of the home.]
Personal correspondence, 1939
Personal and school ledger or journal, about 1880s-1900s
[Consists of poetry, stories, quotations, newspaper clippings, and writings on various school subjects such as math, history, and grammar. Includes typed index by Nell Prather.]
Written or collected poetry and quotations, 1996, undated
[Includes a transcription of writings from Smith's personal journal, compiled by Shirley Smith.]
Newspaper clippings on various subjects, from the Houston Post and unknown publications (possibly the Liberty Vindicator), 1924-1957
[Includes clippings pertaining to poll taxes in Liberty County, about 1925-1931.]



Artifacts, 1881-1939,
1.5 cubic ft.

This series consists of three-dimensional objects owned by or presumed to have been owned by Charles Nutter Smith. It includes his framed diploma from Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) and a 1914 typewriter purchased by Smith around the time of his election as Liberty County judge. Items date from 1881 to 1939.
Arrangement
The items are arranged by format.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Artifacts, Charles Nutter Smith papers, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library And Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Item
1996.193.0001 Cardboard ink blotter, about 1939
[Back of blotter has advertisement for the movie The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, with photographs of the stars, Bette Davis and Errol Flynn.]
Item
1996.193.0002 Twelve-month calendar produced for schoolteachers by the American Book Company, 1908
[First page (January) is marked "The School Calendar." Remaining calendar pages promote schoolbooks published by the company. The backs of the pages contain information and statistics such as postage rates, governments of the world and their rulers, branches of the United States government, and cities and states of the United States. Pages are mounted on a red and white cardboard card and attached by string looped through holes in the card and the pages.]
Item
1996.193.0003 Framed diploma for a degree in "Master of Instruction" from Sam Houston Normal Institute, June 16, 1881
[Image of Sam Houston in oval frame on center left; image of unknown balding man with sideburns in oval frame on center right. Diploma is signed by O.M. Roberts, Governor of Texas, O.N. Hollingsworth, Secretary of the Board of Education, and H.H. Gunther(?), Principal of the Institute. Diploma is in a rectangular gold gilt frame with raised foliage design.]
Item
1996.194.0001 Oliver manual typewriter, about 1913
[Typewriter's exterior is painted black and marked: "The No. 7 Oliver Standard Visible Writer The Print type Pat. Nov. 5th 1912." Purchased about 1914 by Smith.]