The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 41
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The Life of Colonel R. T. Milner 41
before their duties began officially. To show how inadequate
were the facilities of the new office, it is necessary only to name
the staff, which consisted of: R. T. Milner, Commissioner;
E. W. Winkler, Chief Clerk; Mary Thompson, Stenographer;
W. E. Bromley, Porter (colored).
The last member of the office force, recalls Mr. Winkler, was
a most shiftless negro, brought by Colonel Milner from East
Texas with him when he took office." The little office force
was keenly aware of its impossible task, but it realized that
if it should start out by asking for a large appropriation to
carry on the designated work, the department would be killed
at the outset.
Mr. Winkler's diary is especially illuminating on the strug-
gles of the agricultural staff to keep abreast of the daily tasks
it faced. The chief clerk noted:
Tuesday, March 16, 1909.
After a year and six months I will attempt to take
up the thread where it was snapped off so suddenly
above. Colonel R. T. Milner asked me to become the
chief clerk of the new Department of Agriculture. It
was a great surprise to me, but I confess I felt some-
what flattered, for I respected Col. Milner's judgment
and ability. I asked for time to consider the matter;
he pointed out how great a field of usefulness it opened
before me--anticipated a great work for the new de-
partment--said it would be work that would be for
the uplift of the great mass of our people, and not
confined to a few as the work of the Library was.
After a few weeks I gave Colonel Milner my
reply; I would go with him into the new Dept. of Agri.
Then began the work of the new Dept . . .
I should have known that this small force was not
equal to the colossal task set before it; we did not
speak of it; but the full truth was to be impressed
upon our minds by the ceaseless toil that pulled or
pushed us onward from day to day. This task de-
manded its performance and before it could be dis-
patch [ed] others would press forward. We were not
masters of the situation, rather were we the servants
of our work.
During its initial year the Dept. had no fund of ex-
perience to draw upon. The laws were new and un-
tried; so many of the methods of the Dept. were tenta-
"59E. W. Winkler, interview, June 18, 1940.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/47/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.