RELLIS Recollections, the book, is now available for purchase through Texas A&M University Press.

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A Rocky Start

While the establishment of a land-grant college in Texas, ultimately located south of Bryan (many years before anyone thought to give a name to the environs which surrounded the campus), was an idea whose time had come, gaining a solid foothold for the state’s first institution of higher learning took time...and recovery from more than a few “hiccups.”

Had there been a Texas Department of Tourism in the 1870s, ex-soldiers from the short-lived Confederate States of America would have been a primary target for the Lone Star State. Many of those veterans, in the aftermath of the Civil War, were looking to leave their decimated southern homes and southern way of life and strike up a new beginning. 

Many found that second chance in Texas.

Thus, its not surprising that a strong Confederate influence existed with the opening of the doors of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. Thomas Gathright was charged with heading the institution.


David Chapman earned a Bachelor's degree in history from Texas A&M University in 1967. He began working at the school in 1972, starting as a graduate assistant in the Libraries department. He became archivist for the school in 1994 and was named director of the Cushing Memorial Library in 2008. He retired from the school on January 30, 2012, after 38 years of university service. He remains an integral part of the local historical scene.