Charles H. Dillon (1889-1967) worked in different capacities for Western Union in Dallas, Texas. In the 1940s and 1950s, he wrote articles about the telegraph for the Texas Almanac and other publications. He also wrote newspaper articles. In 1958, his book, A story of the telegraph and the Western Union and how they reached the southwest was published.

I'm seeking help finding the publication specifics for a lengthy newspaper article Charles Dillon wrote titled, "Inventor's Offer of Perpetual Patent Rights to Telegraph Ignored by Texas Republic."

I'd like to learn the name and date of the publication (hopefully with page/column number references).

Digital images of the lengthy article are online by Frank W. Shiels (Fort Worth), Crown Jewels of the Wire, April 1983 Archives (Letters to the Editor).

A graphic of the opening part of the article follows.

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Update 1: This date I spoke with two officials at the Dallas Public Library. While we were not successful in finding the article, I did learn one long standing Dallas paper is no longer published, the Dallas Times Herald. Although issues of this paper are held on microfilm by the Dallas library, no extensive digitization or indexing of its issues has been done. Discussion lamenting all of this online in a 2010 thread, Phorum, "Dallas Times Herald Archives."  (I did find that NewspaperArchives has a very few (about 10) early editions of the Dallas Times Herald in its collection, but nothing that would help me. 

Update 2: I heard from Casey Greene, Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library (Galveston), over the weekend. As a clipping without further reference, the article appears in their vertical file "Telegraph." It was carefully clipped and then glued to cardboard backing--leaving almost no way of developing further clues about where or when the article might have been published. Although not publication specifics, I now have the next best thing--a solid reference to the vertical file at an established archive. It works for me.

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    BTW, some (genealogy) content providers have or provide access to various Texas newspaper archives. I was able to use some of those search engines, but I came up dry trying to find this article. I don't claim to be a "search" expert, but this is complicated by the fact that "Preston" is a popular location name in Texas and the word "Telegraph" is part of the name of some Texas newspapers and/or popular sections of newspapers.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 8, 2012 at 17:08
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    This may not answer the question so, I'm posting the link so you'll have a nice view of the article. The society that it's linked to may have the publication.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/… Nov 8, 2012 at 18:46
  • Thanks ... @Ezri, did just call the Texas Historical Society. Of course they have the Dillon's article from their journal, but nothing else on him or that he wrote.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 8, 2012 at 19:20
  • Sorry, worth a shot. Nov 8, 2012 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


It may be useful to consider the opening of the article:

Three years, almost to a day, before the first edition of the Galveston Weekly News, Memucan Hunt...

This suggests that the article may have been published in a newspaper that was a successor to the Galveston Weekly News since otherwise the reference stands out as rather odd. This Library of Congress page suggests that the Galveston Weekly News was associated with the Galveston Daily News, which is still being published. Thus you may want to see if there is an index of articles to the Galveston Daily News for your time period or some other resource for access to this newspaper.

Another angle that might be investigated is whether a Galveston historical society or public library has a clippings file which might contain the article annotated with the source.

  • As I seem to have struck out with more direct Dallas connections, I plan to try a Galveston Public Library next week. I did earlier contact a Galveston archive. As you have suggested, the library might well provide better information about which places in the town actually maintain vertical files/clipping files.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 9, 2012 at 23:22
  • This date I spoke to and corresponded with Casey Greene, "Galveston & Texas History" section, Rosenberg Library about their vertical files ("telegraph" and "telegraph companies"); the index is online. gthcenter.org/collections/vertical/VertA.htm. Will post back what I learn.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 14, 2012 at 2:03

Have you tried the Dillon Family Collection (1890-1980) held by Texas/Dallas History & Archives, Dallas Public Library 1515 Young St Dallas, TX 75201 (MA09.2)

I think there is a good chance that the "4 cubic feet" of records will contain a clippings file of Chas H Dillon who was an engineer with Western Union but seemed to be a history buff on the matters telegraphic who loved to publish.

  • Nice find, Fortiter! That is the right Dillon family. I'll contact the Texas/Dallas History & Archives, Dallas Public Library tomorrow and post more then.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 9, 2012 at 4:15
  • This date I tt Bryan (pres. Bryan McKinney), Texas/Dallas History & Archives section, Dallas Public Library. The collection did not come to the library directly from the Dillon family. (It was put together by someone who had discovered the materials, then donated to the archive). Bryan remembers processing the collection; he did some checking for the article in the collections; did not located this or any other article by Chas. H. Dillon. Also TT the Dallas Public Library's genealogy section. From both librarians, did learn there is one Dallas paper that was is not indexed. Res. continues.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 9, 2012 at 21:40

Unfortunately, I suspect your answer is behind the paywall at Galveston City Archives as that is where Frank W. Shiels mentions starting his search.

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    Sigh. After searching for the Galveston City Archives, yesterday I contacted a private archive in Galveston to inquire about how I would find the city archives ... Ha! The woman I spoke to said she knew of no such city archive, at least none that would maintain clipping files.
    – GeneJ
    Nov 8, 2012 at 15:49

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