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James M. Manning papers

 File — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll-125
The James M. Manning papers consist of approximately 173 documents dealing with surveying in South Texas during the nineteenth century.

The James M. Manning papers are organized into two sections: 1) Personal Records which include personal correspondence, financial documents, land transactions, his will and other such matters, and 2) Surveyor Records including business correspondence, survey requests, land applications and certificates, bills and receipts, deeds, contracts, agreements, plats, surveys, maps, field notes, and other legal and surveying documents. Altogether, they represent a seminal collection of South Texas surveying records and supplement the other local surveyors’ collections held by the department.


  • 1830-1884


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to taking precautions against infringement of copyright and respecting the publication rights of reproduced materials. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Any materials used should be fully credited with their source according to the example given in the Preferred Citation note. Requests for assistance with citations and images of publication quality should be directed to


0.5 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

James M. Manning (?-1872) was one of the initial surveyors in the San Patricio, Nueces County, and South Texas areas. He was appointed Deputy Surveyor of San Patricio County on March 8, 1838, at a time when much of South Texas, including present day Nueces County, was a part of that jurisdiction. His appointment likewise occurred only two years after the establishment of the General Land Office of the Republic of Texas and one year after legislation created land districts with surveyors and deputy surveyors in each county. Manning was one of many surveyors who came to Texas lured by the promise of real estate. When the Texas boundary was permanently extended to the Rio Grande in 1846, Manning served as one of the first Anglo-American surveyors of this region. His work influenced other early South Texas surveyors such as Felix A. Blucher.

Like other surveyors of his time, Manning was a land speculator who operated as far south as the Rio Grande River. In 1851 he and two partners tried to establish the town site of Alamo in Starr County. He also owned land in Corpus Christi and Nueces County as well as in Rockport, Refugio County where he built a house in 1871. He died in 1872, survived by his wife, Mary A. Manning.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The James M. Manning papers were acquired through a cooperative effort among A&M-Corpus Christi and community people, including Dr. Gary A. Jeffress; the Conrad Blucher Institute; Special Collections & Archives; Rex H. Stever, noted postal historian; J. Dale Moore and Robert L. Young of the Frontier Surveying Company; the Coastal Bend Chapter 12, of the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors; and many other individuals.



Guide to James M. Manning papers
In Progress
Initial inventory of the collection was done by Sheron Barnes. Completed organization, item list, and website link were done by Erin L. Nuckols in 2009. Transferred to ArchivesSpace in 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository

6300 Ocean Dr.
Unit 5702
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States
361-825-5973 (Fax)