University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Nathan Alexander Stedman Family Papers, 1841-[ca. 1970s] (bulk 1881-1921)

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Stedman, Nathan Alexander, 1854-1927.
Creator: Graves, Mary Willis Stedman, b. 1884.
Creator: Stedman family.
Creator: Graves family.
Creator: Dougherty family.
Title: Stedman, Nathan Alexander, Family Papers
Dates: 1841-[ca. 1970s] (bulk 1881-1921)
Abstract: The Nathan Alexander Stedman Family Papers, 1841-[ca. 1970s] (bulk 1881-1921), contain the business and personal records of Nathan Alexander Stedman and the Stedman-Graves-Dougherty Family. The collection provides insight into the professional career of Stedman, including his private legal practices, his time as a county judge and district attorney, and his service as railroad attorney for the International and Great Northern Railroad and on the Railroad Commission of Texas. Furthermore, the Stedman's personal papers and those of his relatives illuminate the relationship of the Stedman family with community organizations, legal colleagues, and other well-known Texas families. Materials include correspondence, legal documents and drafts, financial documents, publications and newspaper clippings, notebooks and notes, calling cards, organizational materials, and photographs.
Accession No.: 89-215; 90-016; 2002-112
Extent: 8 ft., 5 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Nathan Alexander "Alex" Stedman was born October 22, 1854, in Henderson, Texas, to Clara Harvey White and William Stedman, a well-known Texas attorney and legislator. After studying law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia (1870–1873) and interning at his father’s law office in Marshall, Stedman began his own career as an attorney in the Harrison County Court. He was later promoted to Harrison County District Attorney. In 1882 he moved to Ft. Worth, where he joined the law firm of Wynne, McCart, & Stedman and became District Judge of Tarrant County in 1891.

On May 1, 1895, Gov. James S. Hogg appointed Stedman to the Railroad Commission of Texas. Based in Austin, this state agency regulated the rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves, and express companies. Stedman served as Railroad Commissioner until January 4, 1897, when he moved to Palestine to work as general attorney for the International and Great Northern Railroad, which owned 756 miles of railroad track before merging with Calvert, Waco and Brazos Valley Railroad Company in 1900 and acquiring 66 miles. Also during Stedman’s time there, the company completed a line from Spring to Fort Worth, constructed one from Navasota to Madisonville, and acquired the Houston, Oaklawn and Magnolia Park Railway Company. In 1908, Stedman returned to Austin as Resident General Attorney for all principal Texas railroads. From 1910 until the end of his life, he maintained a private practice in Austin with law partner F. A. Williams.

From 1912–1915, Stedman served on the Board of Regents at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a devout Methodist and an active member in such religious organizations as the Epworth League, the Texas Sunday School Association, and the Young Men’s Christian Association. During his life he also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Polytechnic College of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and as superintendent of the First Methodist Church’s Sunday school.

After suffering a long illness, Nathan Alexander Stedman died in Austin on September 14, 1927.

Stedman married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Rowlett (1864-1904) in June 1882. While living in Ft. Worth, they had two children, Mary Willis (b. 1884) and Nathan Alexander, Jr. (1891-1971). In 1904, he married Emma (née Shapard) Hicks (1867-1944).

Mary Stedman attended the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority’s Beta Xi (UT) chapter. She married Ireland Graves (1885-1969), a Texas judge and grandson of Texas governor John Ireland (1827-1896). The couple had a daughter, Mary Ireland "Miggie" Graves (1919-1977).

Miggie Graves also attended UT and joined the Beta Xi chapter of KKG. She married John Chrysostom "J. Chrys" Dougherty, III, and the couple had John Chrysostom and Mary Virginia "Molly". J. Chrys Dougherty was born May 3, 1915, in Beeville, Texas, to attorney and oilman James R. Dougherty, Sr., and his wife Genevieve, née Tarlton. James was the son of Robert Dougherty, founder of St. Paul’s Academy in San Patricio, Texas, and Genevieve was the daughter of judge and law professor Benjamin D. Tarlton, namesake of the UT Tarlton Law Library. Chrys Dougherty earned his bachelor’s from UT in 1937. Three years later, he graduated from the Harvard Law School and passed the Texas bar. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army and became active in the U. S. Judge Advocate General Corps. With Ireland Graves in 1946, Dougherty co-founded a law firm, now known as Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody. He acted as Special Assistant Attorney General of Texas (1949-1950), was a member of various Governor’s Committees (1970-1973), and served as Honorary French Consul for Austin (1971-1986).

The Dougherty Arts Center in Austin, Texas, is named in honor of Mary Ireland Graves Dougherty.


Nathan Alexander Stedman Family Papers, 1841-[ca. 1970s] (bulk 1881-1921), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody. "J. Chrys Dougherty (Retired)." Attorneys Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody Austin Texas, /people_and_practices/bios/?ID=19 (accessed May 7, 2010).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Stedman, Nathan Alexander", /handbook/online/articles/SS/fst24.html (accessed May 7, 2010).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "International-Great Northern Railroad", (accessed July 9, 2010).

Scope and Contents

The Nathan Alexander Stedman Family Papers, 1841-[ca. 1970s] (bulk 1881-1921), contain the business and personal records of the Stedman-Graves-Dougherty Family. Materials include correspondence, legal documents and drafts, financial documents, publications and newspaper clippings, notebooks and notes, calling cards, organizational materials, and photographs.

Seven feet, the majority of the collection and first subfonds, concern the career of Nathan Alexander Stedman. The first series of professional records relates to his private practices and regular clients in Fort Worth, Palestine, and Austin; his terms as county judge and district attorney for Harrison and Tarrant Counties; his work as a railroad attorney for the International and Great Northern Railroad; and his tenure on the Railroad Commission of Texas. The second series of personal papers provides insight into his relationships with family and friends, his personal land transcripts and legal operations, as well as his connection to the Methodist Church, local religious groups, and his "Brothers", men who shared his religious beliefs. Further series include items with both a personal and professional nature: creative works, such as political, religious, or patriotic notes, manuscripts, and speeches; financial documentation, including bills, receipts, and checks; printed material like clippings, pamphlets, railway passes, and business cards; and official Texas land grants.

Divided by family member, the remaining collection material relate to Stedman’s relatives and descendants. These subfonds also demonstrate the connection of the Stedman family to the Graves, Doughertys, and other influential attorneys, judges, and Texas families. The second subfonds of the Stedman Family Papers contains papers of William Stedman, Lizzie Stedman, Emma Shapard Stedman, and family photographs of their descendents. The third, the Graves-Ireland Family Papers, contain the papers of Mary Stedman Graves, Ireland Graves, J. W. "Will" Graves, and Gov. John Ireland. The Mary Stedman Graves Papers highlight her years as a student at the University of Texas and as a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Also included are items relating to her extended family, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other printed material about the Stedmans and the Graves. The final subfonds of the Dougherty Family Papers consists of documents pertaining to J. Chrys Dougherty, Mary Graves Dougherty, and Molly Dougherty.



The Nathan Alexander Stedman Family Papers are divided by family member and are further subdivided by subject and/or type of material:
I. Nathan Alexander Stedman Papers, 1854-1929 (bulk 1881-1912), 7 ft.
  • a. Professional
    • i. Legal practice
      • 1. Correspondence
      • 2. Legal documentation
      • 3. Client files
      • 4. Legal notes
      • 5. Operational
    • ii. International and Great Northern Railroad
      • 1. Correspondence
      • 2. Legal documentation
      • 3. Printed material
      • 4. Creative works
      • 5. Blueprints
    • iii. Railroad Commission of Texas
    • iv. Assorted business
  • b. Personal
    • i. Correspondence
    • ii. Non-professional organizations
    • iii. Legal documentation
    • iv. Photograph
  • c. Creative works
  • d. Financial documentation
  • e. Printed material
  • f. Texas land grants
II. Stedman Family Papers, 1841-1944, [ca. 1970s], 3 in.
  • a. William Stedman
  • b. Lizzie Stedman
  • c. Emma Shapard Stedman
  • d. Family photographs
III. Graves-Ireland Family Papers, 1882-1965 (bulk 1903-1944), 9 in.
  • a. Mary Stedman Graves
    • i. Schoolwork
    • ii. Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority
    • iii. Assorted material
  • b. Ireland Graves
  • c. J. W. Graves
  • d. Gov. John Ireland
IV. Dougherty Family Papers, 1927-1968 (bulk 1942-1954), 5 in.
  • a. J. Chrys Dougherty
  • b. Mary Graves Dougherty
  • c. Molly Dougherty


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Unrestricted use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Stedman, Nathan Alexander, 1854-1927 -- Archives.
Graves, Mary Willis Stedman, b. 1884 -- Archives.
Dougherty, Mary Ireland Graves, 1919-1977.
Dougherty, J. Chrys (John Chrysostom), 1915-.
Graves, Ireland, 1885-1969.
Ireland, John, 1827-1896.
Stedman family -- Archives.
Graves family -- Archives.
Dougherty family -- Archives.
Subjects (Organizations)
International & Great Northern Railroad.
Wynne, McCart, & Stedman
Stedman & Thompson
Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody
Lawyers -- Texas -- Sources.
Judges -- Texas -- Sources.
Austin (Tex.) -- History -- Sources.
Palestine (Tex.) -- History -- Sources.
Ft. Worth (Tex.) -- History -- Sources.

Related Material

See Dougherty (Robert) Family Papers, 1862-1894, 1940, and Ireland (John) Papers, 1870, 1884-1891.

See also Graves (Ireland) Papers at the Tarlton Law Library, the University of Texas at Austin.

Separated Material

Some material has been separated to the Artifacts Collection and to the Briscoe Center Library.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Nathan Alexander Stedman Family Papers, 1841-[ca. 1970s] (bulk 1881-1921), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by archives volunteers, 2005. Subsequent revisions were made by Laurel Rozema, July 2010.

Detailed Description of the Papers


Stedman (Nathan Alexander) Papers:

4Ad518b Professional, 1869–1905
Legal practice, 1869–1922
Correspondence, 1881–1892
4Ad518c Correspondence, 1892-1927, undated
4Ad518d Legal documentation, 1886-1910
4Ad519a Legal documentation, 1880-1918, undated
4Ad519b Legal documentation, 1869-1922, undated (bulk 1890–1900)
4C519c Client files, 1881–1912
Askew family
Caradine, Issac
Gray family
Hudson, Bonnie
Leigh Ellis Company
Moore, W. A.
Sharp, Martha
4C519d Legal notes, 1873–1891
4C520a Operational, 1881–1912
Business insurance
Publisher solicitations
4C520b International and Great Northern Railroad, 1897–1908
Correspondence, 1891–1905
4C520d Correspondence, 1891–1905
Annual passes, 1897-1898
4C520c Legal documentation, 1874, 1897– 1904
Railroad Commission of Texas, 1901–1904
4Jc113 Amendment to the International and Great Northern Railroad Company Articles of Incorporation, April 30, 1902
Railroad regulations and material, 1898-1902
4C520d Printed material, 1881,1887, undated
Annual passes, 1903
Creative works, undated
Blueprint, 1897
Railroad Commission of Texas, 1895–1897
4Jc113 Assorted business:
4Jc113 Correspondence:
General, 1890-1902, 1918, 1923
Unopened, 1889-192, undated
Empty envelopes, 1890-1898, undated
Railway correspondence, 1916-1917, 1923
Photocopies of two railway letters, 1916, 1917
Legal documents and drafts, 1886-1902, undated
Briefs of appellees and appellants, [ca. 1886], 1892
Notes, [ca. 1890s-1900s]
Ephemera, [ca. 1890s-1900s]
4C521a Personal, 1890–1927
Correspondence, 1890–1927
Family, 1890–1912
Property transactions, 1878-1921
Assorted, 1890–1927
Non-professional organizations, 1890–1898
Epworth League, 1891, 1898
First Methodist Church, 1891–1892
Polytechnic College of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, 1891–1893
Texas Sunday School Association, 1892
Young Men’s Christian Association, 1890–1893
4Jc113 Assorted, 1890-1894-1908, undated
4C521a Legal documentation, 1890–1927
Insurance, 1890–1902
Life, 1890–1892
Property, 1892
Fire, 1898–1902
Will and testament, 1927
Deed, 1902
Deframed photograph of Stedman at desk with another judge, [ca. 1890s]
4J437.1 Creative works, undated
Speech drafts, undated
Manuscripts, undated
Assorted notes, undated
4J437.2 Financial documentation, 1889–1916
Bank receipts, 1890–1897
Checks, 1889–1899
Bills, 1890–1916
Assorted receipts, 1890–1900
Financial notes, undated
4Jc113 Assorted, 1886-1900, undated
4Jc114a Printed material, 1890–1929
Clippings, 1898–1929
Pamphlets, 1890–1902
Business cards, undated
Tickets, undated
Book pages, undated
Assorted, undated
4C520d Texas land grants, 1854, 1897–1898


Stedman Family Papers:

4Jc113 William Stedman:
Bound volume of The Rasp (Raleigh, N.C.), presented to William Stedman in 1859, containing handwritten notes, 1841-1842, [1859, 1880]
Correspondence and financial documents, 1871-1884
Lizzie Stedman:
Financial documents and calling card, 1892, 1894, undated
Emma Shapard Stedman:
Obituary, February 1944
University Methodist Church resolution, March 1944
Family photographs:
Presten Stedman, [ca. 1940s]
Unidentified family [possibly N. A. Stedman, Jr. with wife and child], [ca. 1920s]
Unidentified people (print and negative), [ca. 1920s]
Texas State Legislature Page, 1903
Unidentified girl [possibly Molly Dougherty], [ca. 1970s]


Graves-Ireland Family Papers:

4Jc116 Mary Stedman Graves:
4Jc113 Schoolwork:
Exams, papers, and homework, [ca. 1903-1905]
Notebooks, [ca. 1903-1905]
"UT School of Geology Laboratory Guide for the Study of Minerals and Rocks Course 1. Winter Term. (Second Edition)" with handwritten notes, 1905
Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority:
Correspondence, [ca. 1902-1904]
Banquet menus/programs, 1914-1916
Exam for KKG member Miss Borden, [ca. 1903-1905]
Calling card for Miss Kimball, [ca. 1900s]
"Roster of Initiated Members, Beta Xi Chapter, Kappa Kappa Gamma, 1902-1957", [ca. 1957]
Assorted material:
Correspondence, [ca. 1902-1904], 1928-1965
Newspaper clippings, notes, and calling card, [ca. 1890s], 1921-[ca. 1944], undated
Ireland Graves:
Correspondence, 1920-1921, 1934, 1937, 1946, 1962
Candidacy card, 1916
Paul D. Page correspondence, re: House Bills, May-June 1929
2.325/K75c Portrait of E. L. Kurth by Alexander Clayton, Dallas, and inscribed to Ireland Graves from Kurth, 1958
4Jc113 J. W. Graves:
Letter, August 7, 1911
"JG re vs. Bar/Support Supreme Court against President’s Reorganization of Full Court" publications, 1934-1937
Notes, news clippings, correspondence, and printed material, 1908-1926, undated
Gov. John Ireland:
Two letters from Ireland, [ca. 1882-1886], 1892


Dougherty Family Papers:

4Jc116 J. Chrys Dougherty:
U.S. Army and Judge Advocates General material:
Notebooks, 1942-1945, undated
Notebook of memoranda and forms on claims, 1943-1944
Army court-martial notes and printed material, 1948-1952
"USAR School Students Outline – Military Justice, The Judge Advocate General’s School, 3d Year Winter" with handwritten notes, 1953
Blank WWII prisoner of War letter forms, [ca. 1941-1945]
2.325/K75c Stars and Stripes (Paris, France, edition), August 24, 29, 31, 1944, September 1-2, 1944
New York Times Book Review, April 6, 1947
WWII maps torn from newspapers, 1944, undated
2.325/T55e Scrapbook of Dudley T. Dougherty’s race for Senator against incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson, 1953-1954
4Jc116 Assorted:
"Address given by his Excellency Andre Malraux, Minister for Cultural Affairs of the French Republic…" with handwritten notes, May 15, 1962
Correspondence with Judge James W. McClendon, 1968
Mary Graves Dougherty:
Letters, news clippings, etc., 1927-1937, 1947, 1961
Molly Dougherty:
News articles and program, 1962, 1965, undated