Texas A&M University-Kingsville

John E. Conner

John Edwin Conner, son of Harriet (Williamson) and William Trustan Conner, was born on November 21, 1883, at Field Creek, Llano County, Texas. Shortly after he was born, the family moved to Pontotoc, Mason County. In May 1904, Conner graduated from Pontotoc High School and began working as a teacher, principal, and superintendent at various schools in Llano, Mason, San Saba, Runnels, Concho, Ector and Crane Counties. In 1911, Conner graduated from Southwest Texas Normal with his Teacher's Certificate. That same year he married Fannie Johnson with whom he would have three children.

In 1923, Ralph Bartow Cousins, the newly appointed president of the new college to be built at Kingsville offered Conner a position; to qualify for his new role as a college professor, Conner entered the University of Texas in 1923, receiving his A.B. in History in 1924 and his M.A. in 1927.

In 1925, Conner became the first Professor of History at South Texas State Teacher's College and soon began actively promoting the college throughout the state. In 1929 the school became the Texas College of Arts and Industries (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville), and Conner became Dean of the College. As early as the summer of 1925, people were bringing to Conner's office historical memorabilia; in 1929, these objects were collected into the John E. Conner Museum of History.

While he was on leave from the campus during 1942–45, Conner became the Historian at the quartermaster depot at Fort Sam Houston and completed his first published book, The Centennial Record of the San Antonio Service Forces Depot (1845–1945). He retired from the university in May 1954 but continued to serve as Director of the Conner Museum until 1964. He wrote two additional history texts for children: Your Texas and Mine in 1961 and The Flags of Texas in 1964.

In September 1988, Conner was the oldest living graduate of the University of Texas and the oldest living holder of a Phi Beta Kappa key. He died on September 1, 1989, in Corpus Christi at the age of 105.

--Information from the Handbook of Texas Online

This page was last updated on: October 15, 2013