Nonagenarian archaeologist Kathleen Gilmore

2011-08-17 Dr Gilmore’s death was npt widely known, unfortunately, in the news media. She would have been someone to have known. Kathleen Kirk Gilmore | Visit Guest Book Gilmore, Kathleen Kirk Kathleen Kirk Gilmore, born Nov. 12, 1914, in Altus, OK. Passed away March 18, 2010. She was the daughter of Jessie Horton Kirk and Rufus Patrick Kirk and wife of late Robert Beattie Gilmore. She worked since Junior High at various jobs while going to school to earn her BS in Geology from Oklahoma University. After raising 4 daughters, she returned to school earning her PhD in anthropology in 1973 from SMU and she has been working as an archaeologist since. She was an adjunct professor at North Texas University from 1974 to 1990 and led many archaeology digs in Texas and elsewhere. Past contributions in her field include the first female President of the Society for Historical Archaeology, President of the Texas Archaeological Society, President of the Council of Texas Archaeologists, served on the Texas Board of Review, Board of Directors of the Texas Historical Foundation. In 1995 she was the first woman to receive the Harrington Medal in Historical Archaeology and in 2008 she received the Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation. She was the first archaeologist to prove the location of La Salle’s Fort St. Lewis settlement. Survived by daughters Judy Gilmore Lepthien, Pat Gilmore, 5 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchild-ren. Donations can be made to Texas Historical Commission, Texas Archeological Society, or the Society for Historical Preservation. Services will be held at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home at 4 pm on Tuesday March 23, 2010 and following the services will be a celebration of her life at the house.

Archaeologist Kathleen Gilmore has unlocked some of the most elusive mysteries of Texas history.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/082807dnmetarc.3157d1e.html
By ALLEN HOUSTON, The Dallas Morning News, 05:01 AM CDT on Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kathleen Gilmore by JIM MAHONEY/DMN

VICTORIA, Texas –
Kathleen Gilmore, the first archaeologist to prove the location of explorer La Salle’s Fort St. Louis, returned to the site near Victoria, Texas, earlier this year with a French documentary film crew.

She spent decades hunting down the location of the French explorer La Salle’s lost fort before discovering it near the Gulf Coast. She also excavated a number of Spanish colonial forts in Texas, including Mission Rosario, near Goliad.

At age 92, the Preston Hollow resident will visit Spain in December to study a recently discovered cache of documents sent from early Texas missions.

But her greatest accomplishment may have been digging the way for other women to follow in her footsteps….

[Now, why would she need to dig her/our way forward? for example,

Jeff Durst, an archaeologist with the Texas Historical Commission, added: “She’s got an incredible amount of spirit and spunk for her age.

Time’s passage hasn’t slowed Dr. Gilmore.]

Dr. Gilmore grew up in Tulsa and in the 1930s attended the University of Oklahoma, where she studied geology, believing that it would be easier to help support her family during the Depression.

Instead, the only work she could find was as a secretary for a geologist in Houston.

“That’s the way it was at the time, and me and a lot of women were forced to accept that,” she said.

In the early 1940s, Dr. Gilmore married her husband, Bob, and moved to Dallas, where they had four children. She didn’t go back to school until she was 49, enrolling in the archaeology program at Southern Methodist University.

… Dr. Gilmore became the first female president of the Society for Historical Archaeology and was an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas for 15 years. She also was the first archaeologist to prove the location of La Salle’s Fort St. Louis, according to the Texas Historical Commission….

Fort St. Louis lasted from 1685 to 1689 before its last inhabitants were killed by Indians, according to the Texas Historical Commission. By the camp’s end, La Salle had been murdered by some of his men while trying to make his way to French settlements in Canada.

Dr. Gilmore’s search for the fort began in the early 1970s when she helped analyze some ceramic fragments found in a field near Victoria. The shards turned out to be from the Saintonge area of France…. “One of the great what-ifs of Texas history is, ‘What would our state be like today if the French had been successful with their colony?’ ” Dr. Bruseth said, laughing….


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4 Responses to “Nonagenarian archaeologist Kathleen Gilmore”


  1. 1 Paula King Elmore 2008 November 7 at 6:10 am

    I met you years ago at my husband’s aunts, Flo Peterson’s house. You invited me to go with you on a dig in South Texas. I have always regretted not going!! Congratulations on your wonderful life but this outstanding award. Paula Elmore

  2. 2 Betsy Francois 2011 August 12 at 3:54 am

    Dear Ms. Gilmore,

    I read in Robert Weddle’s book “The Wreck of the Belle the Ruin of La Salle” of your research on Jean L’Archeveque. I beleive he is my 7th great grandfather and I’m interested in what information you have been able to find.
    I’ve written a children’s book “The Blunders of the Patriarch” using Mr. Weddle’s history books. He read my manuscript to make sure I had the historical information correct. This book is written through eight year old Pierre Talon’s point of view. I’m now working on another novel,”The Only Surviving Female”, also a children’s book. Marie-Madeleine Talon was the only female who lived from the La Salle expedition. I mention Jean in the story, but he is not the story.
    Six months before his death, My father told me we were French, but never explained, other than our last name was the spanish ‘Arcehebeque’ He never spoke about his family nor did we know who we were. We didn’t fit into any social box. After reading Mr. Weddle history books I understood why everything was kept a secret.
    I’m 77 years old and the sixth daughter of Louis Archebeque and Mary Petra Lobato.
    Thank you for your comments.
    Betsy Francois

  3. 4 Chance Smith 2012 February 2 at 10:44 am

    Mrs. Gilmore . Im trying to find a book by you on the subject of the Caddo Indians in Bowie County . I have been granted access to the site North of Texarkana on the Red River . The Rosebourgh lake site. I also own 100 acres in Bassett Tx which ive found large amount of Indian lore items. Also there are mounds on my property . Looking to find out as much as I can about this area and the culture of the Caddo. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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