While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Patrick Bennett

STILWELL, HART (1902–1975). Hart Stilwell, writer, the son of Hartwell and Anna Belle (Poole) Stilwell, was born on May 13, 1902, at Yoakum, Texas. His hot-tempered father was never able to readjust his frontier ways and kept the family on the move along the back roads of the less civilized sections of Texas. Hart, Jr., escaped to the University of Texas and graduated in 1924 with a degree in journalism. In 1925 he married Mary Gray Seabury. Their first home was at Brownsville, where he worked as a newspaper reporter. Their daughter, Mary Gray Stilwell Hughes, became a successful fiction writer and poet; their son, Arthur Evans Stilwell, wrote a newspaper column for a time. Stilwell moved to Austin in 1946. Stilwell wrote stories and articles for Esquire, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, and other publications. A liberal Democrat, he wrote during the 1940s for the Texas Spectator, forerunner of the Texas Observer. Stilwell's first novel, Border City (1945), explores the difficulties faced by an Anglo newspaperman in Brownsville who falls in love with a Hispanic girl. Uncovered Wagon followed in 1947. Campus Town (1950), his last novel, depicts education and politics at the University of Texas in the 1920s. His works of nonfiction include Hunting and Fishing in Texas (1946) and Fishing in Mexico (1948). Stilwell published an oral history of pioneer aviator Floyd H. (Slats) Rodgers, Old Soggy #1, in 1954. Although Campus Town sold well, Stilwell's reputation rests most firmly on Uncovered Wagon, which under a thin guise of fiction, is actually the story of Hart's upbringing by his patient mother and cantankerous father. Stanley Walker, writing in the New York Herald-Tribune, called the book "a sort of `Life With Father' in a particularly lowdown setting." Jacques Barzun wrote in the New York Times that the book put Stilwell in the company of J. Frank Dobie, Charles William Goyen, Katherine Anne Porter, and Preston Jones. A. C. Greene includes it in The Fifty Best Books on Texas (1982). After divorcing his first wife in 1955, Stilwell married Anne Stone, a public-school social worker. He published Looking at Man's Past in 1965 and collaborated with his wife on The Child Who Walks Alone (1972). He died on May 13, 1975, in Austin and was buried in Austin Memorial Park.


Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Patrick Bennett, "STILWELL, HART," accessed July 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fstbs.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 29, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...