Over one half of the collection documents cattle ranching, oil prospecting, and banking in Texas) as well as personal and family life during the Great Depression . The William Allen Haynes collection offers a view of living conditions of a prosperous Central Texas rancher and entrepreneur as well as providing information on conditions in Texas in the first part of the 19th century. Haynes corresponds with his wife Parrie and family. Of additional interest are the letters which describe the Great Depression years and the letters commenting on politics or seeking Haynes’ endorsement. Among the most noteworthy of the political letters are those dealing with James and Miriam Ferguson who also appear in the business letters.
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Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish material from the Haynes papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
William Allen Haynes (1873-1953?), a native of Bell County, Texas, came from ranching stock. He carried on the family tradition and by the turn of the century was an established rancher. As oil became increasingly lucrative adjunct to ranching, Haynes together with his brother Robert branched out into oil well drilling and leasing oil lands. Haynes, like most ranchers, suffered ups and downs of the cattle market, from difficulties with transporting his cattle, and from the vagaries of weather. Despite these problems, he managed to stay solvent and even make money during the 1920’s. One reason for his solvency was that he was never simply a rancher, but derived additional income from oil and investments in real estate. In 1928 Haynes was named a director of the struggling First National Bank of Killeen, and he became president of the bank just in time for the Great Depression. His Bank limped along through the early 1930’s as Haynes and the other officers and directors of the bank reduced capitalization and discussed possible liquidation. About 1935 Haynes left banking and focused his energies on ranching and land speculation.
As he grew older, the scope of his activities became increasingly limited, but he maintained an active interest in ranching well into his 70’s. Haynes’ life was not strictly business however. He was interested in politics and although never serving in an elected position, he often acted as an election judge in his precinct or campaigned for the Democratic Party. Among his political friends were Miriam and Jim Ferguson who both served as Governor of Texas. Parrie and Allen apparently did not have children, but they were very close to their nieces and nephews. Haynes also provided a guiding hand and monetary support for his brothers who were never quite the businessman he was. In later life, as Haynes suffered from sickness and various ailments his familial loyalty paid off, as his family took care of him in his weakened state. In 1952 his last letter was received and in 1959 his collection was donated to Rice University. His actual death occurred at some point between 1952 and 1959.
Over one half of the collection documents cattle ranching, oil prospecting, and banking in Texas, as well as personal and family life during the Great Depression. The William Allen Haynes collection offers a view of living conditions of a prosperous Central Texas rancher and entrepreneur as well as providing information on conditions in Texas in the first part of the 19th century.