The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 47
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The Life of Colonel R. T. Milner
The term began smoothly with Colonel Milner adapting him-
self easily to campus life.7 The physical conditions of the
campus were bad at that time, however, and bound to become
worse as winter approached. In his first annual report to the
Board of Directors, Milner described the scene in this way:
The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas
presents a condition unlike that of any other educa-
tional institution in the world. Covering an area of
about ten acres are stretched 243 tents, in which are
lodged 486 cadets. There are more students in tents
than were enrolled in the College in 1906. The student
body is the largest under military discipline in the
world. There are 600 more cadets in this school than
there are in West Point."77
There were no roads or driveways, walks or paths that were
not ankle-deep in mud when rains came. Concrete walks were
unknown.78 As President Milner's annual reports were to
repeatedly point out, the heating plant was inadequate to meet
its burden of supplying so many buildings, and the demands
upon the water supply sometimes overtaxed the insufficient
number of pumps.
In spite of these and other handicaps, the college presented a
worthy appearance in February, 1909, when Dr. Charles W.
Eliot of Harvard visited A. & M. on his inspection-survey of
educational institutions in the South. The two presidents, one
of an Eastern and the other of a Western college, afforded a
contrast that newspaper reporters did not overlook, and one
of the best contemporary impressions of Colonel Milner is given
in the news account of President Eliot's reception. In speaking
of President Milner, it read, in part:
He has lost none of the "country ways" which made
him so much loved with the people among whom he
lived, and he was as much at ease in the ordinary
dress of every day, unassuming and unpretentious, as
were those who sat about him attired in the immac-
'T4Mrs. R. P. Marsteller, reared on A. & M. campus and the wife and
daughter of professors there, says that Colonel Milner's demeanor con-
trasted markedly with that of Dr. Harrington, who did not associate with
the boys at all. On the other hand, Colonel Milner was always stopping
and shaking hands. He was really too sympathetic.-Interview, June 12,
177Clarence Ousley, History of the A. & M. College of Texas, 69.
u"sColonel Ike Ashburn, interview, June 12, 1940. Colonel Ashburn was
secretary to the Board of Directors during this period.
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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/m1/53/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.