Spiller, George (1845–1931)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

George Spiller, surveyor, abstractor, and insurance executive, was born in Nelson County, Virginia, in December 1845, the son of James M. and Caroline (Kyle) Spiller. He grew up in Botetourt County and the city of Lynchburg and studied civil engineering at Virginia Military Institute. He was at VMI when the Civil War began and was one of many students who joined the school's corps of cadets. The sixteen-year-old Spiller saw action at Lexington and Newmarket, where he was wounded. He returned to VMI after the war and graduated in 1866. In 1870 he was a civil engineer in Alabama with the Mobile and Montgomery Railroad Company. He left Alabama for Louisiana, where he worked on the Teche Division of the Southern Pacific system. In December 1872 Spiller moved to Graham, Texas, where he formed the land and surveying firm of Graham, Hillard, and Spiller. Four years later he was elected district surveyor of the Young County Land District, the first surveyor selected under the new state Constitution of 1876. Spiller's district included sixteen counties, a huge expanse of land that extended from the Young County line west to New Mexico. At Graham he met and married Belle Loving, the granddaughter of Oliver Loving, "Dean of the Trail Drivers." Her father, James C. Loving, was a prominent Jack County rancher and one of the founding members of the Texas Cattle-Raisers Association (see TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN CATTLE RAISERS ASSOCIATION). Spiller worked as an assistant secretary of the association while his wife wrote the first draft of the organization's constitution and bylaws. The couple were the parents of ten children, nine of whom were sons. After a brief business venture in Jackson, Tennessee, where he worked for the northern division of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, Spiller moved to Fort Worth. In 1884 he returned to Jack County and established a successful insurance and abstract business in Jacksboro. In 1894 he was selected county surveyor, a position he held for twenty years. Spiller died at Jacksboro on April 14, 1931. His surveyor's account books and a diary that covered the years 1873–75 are in the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Cattleman, May 1931. Buckley B. Paddock, ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis, 1906).

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

David Minor, “Spiller, George,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/spiller-george.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995