The Neighbours Legacy

By Brenda S. McClurkin

Dr. Kenneth Franklin Neighbours,
Wichita Falls historian, educator, and author.

Dr. Kenneth Franklin Neighbours, Wichita Falls historian, educator and author, bequeathed his papers to The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries Special Collections upon his death in March, 2002. Born in 1915 in Fannin County, Texas, this son of Eben and Edna Bruton Neighbours spent his growing-up years in Cooke, Baylor and Young counties. Neighbours enlisted in the U.S. Army in Graham on February 2, 1942. His initial training was received at Camp Wolters in Mineral Wells. From June, 1942, through November, 1944, Neighbours served in the Headquarters Company of the 24th Infantry Division in Hawaii, Australia, Goodenough Island, and New Guinea. Returning stateside, he continued in military service until October, 1945. Veteransí benefits earned through this World War II military service allowed him to advance his education.

Neighbours earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Southern Methodist University in May, 1948, and January, 1949, respectively. The University of Texas at Austin granted his Ph.D. in August, 1955. With the exception of three years at the Allen Military Academy, his teaching career was spent in the history department at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. Among his professional affiliations, Dr. Neighbours was a member of the Texas State Historical Association, and served as president of the Fort Belknap Archives, Inc., the Wichita County Historical Survey Committee, and the West Texas Historical Association.

The research of the late professor primarily revolved around Republic of Texas army officer, legislator, and Indian agent Major Robert Simpson Neighbors. This resulted in the publication of several books, including Robert Simpson Neighbors and the Texas Frontie,r 1836-1859 and Indian Exodus: Texas Indian Affairs, 1835-1859, and numerous scholarly journal articles in Southwestern Historical Quarterly and the West Texas Historical Association Year Book among others. Dr. Neighbours also compiled and edited the extensive research of Jesse Wallace Williams into Old Texas Trails, 1716-1886, a project left incomplete upon Williamsí death. He also compiled and published the poetry of Walter R. Adams in the book The Blue Hole.

Veterans' benefits earned from military service n World War II allowed
Neighbours to pursue his education at Southern Methodist University and
The University of Texas at Austin. Neighbours chronicled his World War II experiences in a journal entitled "My Active Service Record".

The Kenneth Franklin Neighbours Papers range in date from 1757 to 2001. They chronicle his youth in north central Texas, his World War II service, and his scholarly career and business affairs. The papers include correspondence of Kenneth Neighbours, his mother Edna Neighbours and sundry family members; diaries and daily calendars; research materials; printed materials; legal and business records; diplomas; maps; photographs; clippings; artifacts; and extensive genealogical materials on the Neighbours, Bruton, Fairchild, and Sewell families to name a few. The collection includes the papers of Jesse Wallace Williams and Walter R. Adams in addition to materials documenting Midwestern State University and the Fort Belknap Society. Currently housed in ninety-one record center cartons, the Neighbours Papers will not be available for research until fully processed.

This page last update on Wednesday, May 11, 2005