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Asa M. French Surveying Field Books

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll-13
The content of this collection revolves around six of French’s field survey books of Kenedy County and La Para Ranch in South Texas from 1900-1914. Four of the books contain handwritten material and measurements of the Kenedy County Area. One book contains handwritten material and measurements for La Para Ranch, and the sixth book contains similar writings but is not discernably labeled. This last book may have originated or had additional writing done in it after French died.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1900-1914

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Extent

0.33 Linear Feet

Overview

Asa Milton French was a Corpus Christi area surveyor and engineer that surveyed much of Nueces County, Texas. He also commissioned the building of one of the most historic homes in Corpus Christi, the French-Galvan House. This collection consists of six of his field books that are packed with notes, figures, and drawings from surveying the area.

Biographical / Historical

Asa Milton French was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire on March 14, 1850. He frequently went by the name A. M. French in his work as both an engineer and surveyor, though surveying was his primary occupation. French was active throughout Nueces County and contributed to the civic and industrial development of the surrounding region and Corpus Christi.

French’s survey material was used by Aransas County Road Engineer Fred M. Percival to create the map “Map of the Gateway to the Southwest” which is one of the foundational maps of Nueces County. French contributed significantly to surveying Kenedy County, Texas, which is halfway between Corpus Christi and Mexico on the Gulf Coast. He worked as Chief Engineer for the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway while they were engaged in building railroad tracks to the coast.

French was an original Director of First State Bank when it opened in 1907, and a Director of The Guaranty Title Co., which was a pioneer of title insurance in Texas when organized in 1914. By 1928 it had accumulated $500,000 in net assets.

In 1907 French commissioned the building of a large, two story stately house in the colonial revival style at the corner of Waco and Comanche Streets. He hand selected every cypress and pine plank that went into the construction of the house and allowed nothing with a knothole. Built for entertaining, it has a large second floor balcony and a 24-seat dining room table. Completed in 1908, it was later bought by the famous local Galvan Family in 1942 after French’s passing in 1936. The French-Galvan House was acquired by the City of Corpus Christi in 1982 and repurposed to the Multicultural Center in Heritage Park. It was repainted in its original yellow and white and was given a Texas Historical Marker in 1986. It now hosts weddings, parties, and events.

Asa M. French died on April 22, 1936 at the age of 86. His funeral was held at the French-Galvan House. It was presided over by Reverend Dr. George West Diehl, who was a pastor of the First Presbyterian Church where French had been an elder. He was buried at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Corpus Christi, where he had worked tirelessly to better the community.

Arrangement

This collection is organized with two series, each with six items. The first series contains the hardcopy books of French’s surveying notes and the second series contain spiral bound Xeroxed copies of each book. It is recommended to search for data through the Xeroxed copies first, then use the hardcopies if the data is not clear from the scans.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi by Dan E. Kilgore on 1991-09-11. The donation was assisted by Thomas Kreneck.

Related Materials

Charles H.F. von Blucher Family Papers Dan E. Kilgore Collection William S. (Bill)and Patricia Green Surveying Records Galvan Kenedy Family Collection, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, South Texas Archives https://archives.tamuk.edu/ead.php?xml=Kenedy%20EAD

Processing Information

This collection was arranged by Eric Christensen, Archive Processing Librarian for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi’s Special Collections & Archives Department.

Source

Creator

Title
Asa M. French Survey Field Notebooks
Status
Completed
Author
Eric Christensen
Date
2020-09-02
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
Edition statement
First

Repository Details

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

Contact:
6300 Ocean Dr.
Unit 5702
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States
361-825-4500
361-825-5973 (Fax)