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Eli T. Merriman Family Papers

Identifier: Coll-196

Three cubic foot boxes of correspondence, clippings, historic photo albums and other loose photos, publications, business records, scrapbooks, and other historical files and materials of Merriman and related families, 19th and early 20th centuries. AccLog

Scope and Contents Note

The collection consists of photographs, written biographical, genealogical, and historical narratives, newspapers, news clippings, invoices, tax records, correspondence, scrapbooks, diaries, ledgers, advertising ephemera, a signed funeral register, obituaries, burial plot location information, graduation notices, recipes, Clemmer and Clark insurance bonds, business cards, marriage and stock certificates, Confederate legal tender, bibles, “Little Archie” porcelain doll, and Confederate Civil War documents.


  • 1849-2008


Language of Materials

English, Spanish

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


12 Linear Feet : 31 boxes

Biographical Note

Eli Todd Merriman II was an early Corpus Christi pioneer, owner and editor of the Corpus Christi Caller newspaper, and a relentless progressive advocate for development of the Nueces Valley region. He was born May 15, 1852 near Brownsville, Texas, to Dr. Eli T. Merriman and his second wife, Elizabeth Fusselman. Merriman worked for a series of newspapers starting when he was 18, including Nueces Valley, Galveston News, and the Corpus Christi Gazette. In 1876 he co-founded the Corpus Christi Free Press with William H. Maltby. Fours years later he purchased Maltby’s interest in the paper and began to run it himself. In 1880 he married his wife, Ellen Roberson. Together they had three children, Genevieve, George, and Marion. In 1883 Merriman sold the Free Press to the Caller Publishing Company. He immediately began to work for the new company as a manger and editor. After his two partners left the business, he continued to solo publish the Corpus Christi Caller for 29 years. In 1911 he sold the Caller to Captain Richard King’s widow, Mrs. H.M. King.

Despite selling the Caller, Merriman still took an active interest in it. He frequently contributed articles, letters, and advice between working at selling real estate and insurance. He was a charter member of the Texas Press Association and eventually rose to the rank of President. Merriman was also a lifelong member of both the Knights of Pythias Lodge and Church of the Good Shephard Episcopal, as well as the last surviving member of the Pioneer Fire Company which was founded in 1873.

Merriman’s impact on Corpus Christi and the Nueces Valley area is difficult to overstate. He was a tenacious supporter of progress and development to make Corpus Christi an economic powerhouse as well as a safe place to live. He fought for nearly 60 years to dredge the channel and make Corpus Christi a deep-water port; a battle he finally won in 1926. He also advocated connecting Corpus Christi to the rest of the country and Mexico by railroad. The line still exists to this day, now known as the Texas-Mexican Railway. Eli Todd Merriman passed away on January 24, 1941. He was buried next to his wife, Ellen (d. 1934) in Bayview Cemetery. This cemetery is home for many deceased Nueces Valley pioneers, and Merriman himself had successfully campaigned to preserve it long before it would become his final resting place.


The Merriman collection is organized by ten series, consisting of 65 subcategories.

Series 1: Genealogy and Biographical Information Series 2: Correspondence Series 3: Professional Papers Series 4: Photographs Series 5: Scrapbooks Series 6: Newspapers and Clippings Series 7: Publications Series 8: “Little Archie” Porcelain Doll Series 9: Civil War Series 10: Microfilm

It is stored in 31 containers of varying size due to the dynamic nature of the material it contains.

Eli T. Merriman Family Papers
Eric Christensen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English, Spanish
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)