Last modified on January 28, 2023, at 22:08

B W Aston

B W Aston​

(Texas historian and professor at
Hardin-Simmons University; pictured 1978)

B W Aston of TX.jpg

Born April 27, 1936​
Fort Worth, Texas, USA​
Died March 25, 2010 (aged 73)​
Abilene, Texas​

Resting place:
Mount Pleasant Cemetery near Tolar in Hood County, Texas​

Spouse Lillie Mae Fields Aston (married, 1961–2010, his death)​

No children
Ernest Roy and Mural Tidwell Aston​
Alma mater:
Technological High School
(Fort Worth)
Texas Tech University

Religion Southern Baptist

B W Aston (April 27, 1936 – March 25, 2010)[1] was an American historian whose career embraced local and regional history and Latin American studies. From 1967 to 2001, he was a faculty member at Southern Baptist-affiliated Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.​


Aston was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Ernest Roy Aston (1900-1939) and the former Mural M. Tidwell (1905–1979). His father died when B W was only two years of age; so he was reared by his mother.[2] He graduated from Technical High School in Fort Worth and enrolled briefly at Arlington Junior College in Arlington, Texas, now part of Tarrant County College. He served in the United States Air Force from 1955 to 1958. He entered Texas Tech University in Lubbock, from which he received the Bachelor of Science (1962) in education and the Master of Arts (1964) and Ph.D. (1972) in the field of history.[3]


Aston was the chairman of the Hardin-Simmons History Department from 1972 to 1992, dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 2000 to 2001, director of the evening college (1972–78), supervisor of the Abilene Photographic Collection (1980–2001), and head of the Rupert Richardson Research Center from 1981 to 2001. A vice president and then president of the faculty, he was named "Faculty Member of the Year" in 1989. He took three periods of sabbatical leave, having conducted research in the Dominican Republic (1984) and Belfast, Northern Ireland (2000). In 1993, he taught at Massey University in New Zealand.[3][4]

Aston was affiliated with the Texas Folklore Society based in Nacogdoches, the National Popular Culture Society, and the Southwest Council of Latin American Studies, the latter from 1973 until his death. He was also active in the West Texas Historical Association, having served as its secretary-treasurer (1972–1998), associate Year Book editor (1976–1998), executive director (1992–1998), and life director (1999 until his death).

In 1998, as Aston left the position of WTHA executive director, the association relocated from Hardin-Simmons to Texas Tech and became an integral part of the Southwest Collection.[4]

His dissertation at Texas Tech is entitled The Public Career of Don Jose Ives Limantou, the story of the Mexican politician José Yves Limantour, who lived from 1854 to 1935.[5]

His professional publications and lectures include Limantour and Mexico's Conversion to the Gold Standard, Boom and Bust Along the Texas and Pacific Railroad, The Use of Female Imagery In The Selling of World War II, and North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico, and the 1994 Gold Rush, a study of the North American Free Trade Agreement.[3]

In 1996, Aston and Ira Donathan "Don" Taylor updated and augmented Rupert Richardson's Along Texas Old Fort Trails.[6] Aston traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and to some sixty other countries.[4]

He served on the Landmarks Commission of the Taylor County Historical Society and the Abilene Committee for the Humanities.[3]

Family and legacy

Aston was active in the University Baptist Church and thereafter the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, both in Abilene. For some three decades, he was a deacon and Sunday school teacher, his last assignment having been the couples class at Pioneer Drive Church.[3]

On August 26, 1961, Aston married the former Lillie Mae Fields (born c. 1940). Aston died at the age of seventy-three in Abilene of a lengthy illness. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Verlon R. Aston (1925–1999). In addition to his wife, he was survived by a brother, Weldon Roy Aston (1932-2013), a former Certified Public Accountant in Fort Worth;[7] three nephews and a niece. Interment services were held on March 29 at the family plot at Mount Pleasant Cemetery near Tolar in Hood County, Texas. Memorial services were conducted on March 30 at Pioneer Drive Church.[3]

Alan Stafford, dean of the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts at Hardin-Simmons, described Aston, accordingly:​

Dr. Aston was a wonderful Christian gentleman who dearly loved HSU. [An] outstanding professor who touched the lives of thousands of our students, he was an inspiration to several generations of young HSU faculty members. He told me once that he was excited about coming to work every single day. Working with him always inspired me to do my very best, and much of my career success came from observing and learning from his positive approach to teaching, learning, and life in general.[4]


  1. B W Aston obituary. Retrieved on November 4, 2019; Findagrave lists him as B W. Aston, no initials. Other sources use initials, but it appears that the "B W," as with the "S" in Harry S Truman, stood for nothing..
  2. Social Security Death Index. Retrieved on November 4, 2019; under pay wall.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Dr. B W.Aston. Abilene Reporter News (March 27, 2010). Retrieved on April 3, 2010; no longer on-line.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Former Faculty Member, Historian had Great Impact on the Hardin-Simmons Campus: Dr. B W Aston dies after long illness. Retrieved on April 3, 2010; no longer on-line.
  5. The Public Career of Don Jose Ives Limantour. (1972). Retrieved on April 3, 2010; no longer on-line.
  6. (1997) Along the Texas Forts Trail. (paperback). Retrieved on November 4, 2019. 
  7. Weldon Roy Aston. Retrieved on November 4, 2019.