Wilcox, Nathan Miles, Jr. (1845–1936)

By: Emily Brown

Type: Biography

Updated: November 24, 2020

Nathan Miles Wilcox, Jr., was a Texas photographer and historian. He was born on January 28, 1845, in Salem, Mississippi, to Mary Ann (Carter) Wilcox and Nathaniel Miles Wilcox, Sr. In 1852 he relocated with his family to Texas and eventually settled in La Grange. His father was a cabinet maker, and young Nathan learned the trade from him. In 1863 Nathan Wilcox, Jr., lived in Port Sullivan in Milam County, where he enlisted in the Confederate Army on September 10, 1863, and served in Company D, J. P. Border’s Regiment, Maxey’s Division, Second Brigade, cavalry. After his military service during the Civil War he was discharged on May 24, 1865. After his father’s death in 1867, Nathan and one of his older brothers moved with their mother to Austin, where Nathan worked as a carpenter. On February 1, 1882, Nathan Miles Wilcox, Jr., married May Genevieve “Minnie” Sneed in Austin. They had four children, including Sebron Sneed Wilcox, who was celebrated later in life for his work on the Spanish Archives of Laredo.

About 1883 Wilcox moved to Burnet where he became interested in photography and began exhibiting his works at various local stores. In 1887 the Wilcox family moved to Georgetown, Texas, where he established himself as a professional photographer. He published his first advertisement for his new photography studio in the January 19, 1888, edition of the Williamson County Sun.

In Georgetown, Wilcox quickly became popular in the community for both his photographic skills and Texas patriotism. He frequently advertised his studio’s ability to take portraits of children and was known for presenting “magic lantern shows” at his gallery. Due to his interest in Texas history, Wilcox was often contracted to photograph Williamson County pioneers both independently and for the Old Settlers Association. He also worked with other photographers, assistants, and protégés in his studio through the years. In July 1894 a national publication, Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, published an engraving of one of Wilcox’s photographs. In 1906 he also purchased and donated the only known photograph of Joanna Troutman Vinson, the creator of the Texas Lone Star flag, to the Texas State Library. In Georgetown, Wilcox was a trustee of the fraternal organization of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. His wife was very active in musical circles. Having taught private music classes, she became music director of Georgetown’s public schools, helped present operettas and other musical productions in school and in the city, and organized the Georgetown Music Club.

In 1921 Nathan and Minnie Wilcox moved to Austin to live with their youngest daughter Fannie, an employee of the Texas State Library. Wilcox retired from photography with the move. However, he continued to study Texas history until his death, and he was touted for his extensive collection of historical documents and photographs. He also continued his woodworking and in November 1924 presented a wooden “stadium gavel” to the University of Texas Board of Regents for the formal opening of Texas Memorial Stadium. Nathan Miles Wilcox, Jr., died in Austin on February 7, 1936, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Austin American-Statesman, February 8, 1936. History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893). “Nathaniel Miles Wilcox,” Cabinet Card Photographers (https://cabinetcardphotographers.blogspot.com/2018/07/nathaniel-miles-wilcox.html), accessed November 11, 2020. Williamson County Sun, January 19, 1888; July 26, 1894; October 20, 1898; March 4, 1921; August 19, 1921; October 7, 1921.

  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Visual Arts
  • Photography
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Historians
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Central Texas

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

Emily Brown, “Wilcox, Nathan Miles, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wilcox-nathan-miles-jr.

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November 24, 2020