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HAVINS, THOMAS ROBERT (1890–1976). Thomas Robert Havins, historian and college professor, was born on October 6, 1890, to William E. and Frances (McCall) Havins at Merkel, Texas, where his mother died while he was an infant. Thereafter his father, a sheepherder, moved his young family often throughout Central Texas. During a stay in Callahan County he sent his son Tom to Scranton Academy and then, in 1907, to Howard Payne College (now Howard Payne University) in Brownwood. Havins taught in small public schools from 1909 to 1921. He began working as a librarian at Howard Payne College in 1923 and received a B.A. degree there in 1927. In 1931 he received his M.A. degree from the University of Texas and began teaching history and government at Howard Payne. He taught there until his retirement in 1961, except when he left to obtain a Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas (awarded in 1941) and to serve in World War II as an officer in the United States Army Air Force (1942–45).

Havins was chairman of the department of social sciences and was the first recipient of the Howard Payne Oscar, an award for faculty achievement. He was credited with teaching more students than any other teacher in the school's history and was named professor emeritus upon retirement. He served as a visiting professor of history at the University of Texas (1962–63). From 1947 to 1953 he was a member of the Texas Prison Board (see PRISON SYSTEM) and was recognized for his role in helping reform the state's prison system. Havins was made a fellow of the Texas State Historical Societyqv in 1959. He wrote Something About Brown (1958), a history of Brown County; Camp Colorado: A Decade of Defense (1964); Beyond the Cimarron: Major Earl Van Dorn in Comanche Land (1968); and Belle Plain, Texas: Ghost Town in Callahan (1972). He published numerous articles in the 1952 Handbook of Texas, the Southern Baptist Encyclopedia, Texas Military Historyqv, Texana, and the West Texas Historical Associationqv Yearbook. He was also the author of a column, "Evergreen," published in the Brownwood Bulletin in 1960 and 1961, for which he won a Texas Press Association award.

Havins was married on June 14, 1915, to Mottie Frierson, who died on June 26, 1970. They had a son and a daughter. In 1972 Havins married Myrtle Kimberlin. He was a Baptist and Democrat. He died in Baptist Memorial Hospital in San Angelo on February 6, 1976, and was buried in Eastlawn Memorial Park in Early.


Brownwood Bulletin, February 7, 1976. T. R. Havins Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Mrs. Gordon Creel


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Mrs. Gordon Creel, "HAVINS, THOMAS ROBERT," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 26, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.