Detailed History of the Carr Foundation
Angelo State University Robert G. Carr and Nona K. Carr Scholarship Foundation
Robert Gay Carr moved to Houston from Kentucky in 1916, where he worked first for the Texas Company and then worked almost eight years for Humble Oil and Refining Company. When he left Humble Oil, he was in charge of leasing and scouting with 210 scouts under his direction. Carr moved to San Angelo in 1926 and joined his friend, Preston Northrup, to form the Northrup and Carr Agency for the Texas Pacific Land Trust. Northrup had moved to San Angelo in 1924 to become the general agent field representative for the West Texas office of the Texas Pacific Land Trust. Northrup had formerly worked in the oil fields of East Texas and had managed production in the West Columbia field for the Hogg family (James Hogg later became governor of Texas). Northrup and Carr became the sole agents for the Texas Pacific Land Trust in 1926.
The Texas Pacific Land Trust was created as a result of a reorganization of the Texas and Pacific Railway Company. The railway company, organized under an act of Congress in 1871, had originally received some 5,338,000 acres as a grant from the State of Texas to construct an east-west railroad across Texas. Initially, the trust’s principal objective was to sell the lands, but with the emergence of the oil industry in West Texas, the trust’s attention turned to oil and gas leases and the related income derived from rentals, bonuses and royalties. Northrup and Carr handled the leases for the trust, but they were also authorized to act as independent agents dealing in mineral properties for themselves (with the exception of trust lands). At the time the Northrup and Carr Agency was formed, the Texas Pacific Land Trust owned minerals under almost 2 million acres of mostly arid desert land in West Texas, much of which would subsequently become oil producing.
In May 1973, Robert and Nona Carr began a series of donations to establish scholarships for ROTC students at ASU. The donations continued over a period of four years and on Dec. 1, 1977, he gave the final check, making his total gift to the AFROTC scholarship $1 million and giving ASU the distinction of having the largest private ROTC endowment in the United States.
Carr and Northrup soon gained the reputation as honest, dependable and knowledgeable agents whose word was their sacred honor. They criss-crossed West Texas making oil leases and, whenever possible, buying and selling royalties or mineral interests, always trying to retain a fraction of the interest for themselves. With the discovery in the late 1920s of vast reservoirs of oil in the Permian Basin, where most of the Texas Pacific Land Trust property was located, they gradually became men of substantial wealth.
Northrup left the Northrup and Carr Agency in 1940, and the partnership dissolved. Northrup moved to San Antonio, where he subsequently provided Trinity University with a substantial endowment. Carr continued as an independent oilman and as the sole leasing agent for the extensive Texas Pacific Land Trust lands. In 1950, Carr resigned his association with the Texas Pacific Land Trust and continued working as an independent oilman dealing primarily in royalties.
Carr served on the Board of Trustees for San Angelo College from 1945-55, often donating the money for needed projects and buildings for the college. He also served on the board of trustees for Texas Christian University for 23 years. In 1951, while actively serving on these boards, he ran for a seat on the San Angelo Public School Board and won by an overwhelming majority. He served untiringly until 1954 and received wide recognition for the contributions he made to the public schools.
During the late 1960s, campus unrest swept across the land, and these disorders caused ROTC units to be primary targets for removal. ROTC programs were terminated or curtailed at numerous universities. New units were established to try to balance the losses, and Angelo State was chosen in 1970 for a senior Air Force ROTC detachment. Carr became actively involved with the ASU unit, visiting campus frequently to watch the unit grow.
In May 1973, Carr and his wife, Nona Carr, began a series of donations to establish scholarships for ROTC students at Angelo State University. The donations continued over a period of four years and on Dec. 1, 1977, he gave the final check, making his total gift to the AFROTC scholarship of $1 million and giving ASU the distinction of having the largest private ROTC endowment in the United States.
Robert Carr died on March 17, 1978, at the age of 82. As an expression of his confidence in the faculty and administration of Angelo State University and his deep commitment to its future progress, Carr made significant financial provisions for ASU in his last will and testament. He bequeathed all of his interest in oil, gas, and other minerals for the use and benefit of ASU. His interest was to be held in trust for the purpose of providing funds to establish academic scholarships for needy and worthy students enrolled at the university. Carr’s interest was one-half of the undivided interest, which he and Nona Carr held jointly.
The public, charitable and educational trust was designated as the Angelo State University Robert G. Carr and Nona K. Carr Scholarship Foundation. The members of the board of regents for the Texas State University System were designated the trustees of the trust estate.
Nona Carr died June 17, 1987, at the age of 92. Her will was essentially the same as Robert Carr’s will. She left her half of the estate to the same Carr Scholarship Foundation for the use and benefit of ASU. The provisions regarding the purpose and administration of the trust were identical to those of Robert Carr’s.
What Robert G. and Nona K. Carr left were their extensive mineral and royalty interests in 16 West Texas counties. Royalty income is received each month from approximately 50 oil companies.