Matthew Dawson Anderson Papers, Inclusive: 1848-1936, undated, Bulk: 1848-1860
The Matthew Dawson Anderson Papers include correspondence, financial documents, literary productions, and photographic materials. Letters between Matthew Dawson Anderson and his wife Harriet make up most of the collection.
Matthew Dawson Anderson was born on 16 November 1807 in Louisa County, Virginia, but later moved to Haywood County, Tennessee. At some point he became married while in Virginia or Tennessee. At some point his first wife died, and he began a long-distance courtship with his cousin, Harriet Ann Anderson, from Virginia. She was 12 years his junior, born on 25 January 1819 in Carolina County, Virginia. They were married in 1849. Matthew traveled to Texas in the 1850s as part of his freight business, and settled in Guadalupe County with his family by 1860.
The Anderson family no doubt was a worthy addition to the elite of the Seguin area. His personal net worth in 1860 was over $25,000, with an additional $5,000 worth of real estate in the area. Many of the letters, written from his plantation “Forest Hill,” note agricultural activities, probably performed by slaves.
Starting in 1859, Matthew Anderson was a representative in the Texas House of Representatives for his district. Many of the letters from this time in the collection are filled with agricultural details, since his wife was now running the plantation, and he wanted to give her specific instructions. Matthew was living in Austin during the time the Texas Secession Convention met, and gave several reports back to his wife about the state of affairs in Austin. Several letters detail votes the convention took, Sam Houston’s reaction to the votes, and several other details about the convention. The letters between Matthew and Harriet end abruptly in February 1861. There is no record that Matthew served in the American Civil War, but he was referred to as “Major” several times after the war. Since there is no record of his service in the regular Texas forces, perhaps he served in a local unit of the Texas militia. He would have been 54 years old at the time the war started. He is noted in the 1870 census, indicating he and Harriet survived the war. Matthew Anderson died on 7 May 1889, and was buried in the family cemetery in York Creek, northeast Guadalupe County, Texas. Harriet lived on until 12 September 1897, when she died and was also buried in the family cemetery at York Creek.
The other correspondence in the collection is between other family members. Indeed, everything else in the collection, except for an obituary for Matthew Dawson Anderson, concerns other later family members, not Matthew and Harriet Anderson.
The Matthew Dawson Anderson Papers were acquired by gift in two separate transactions from Mrs. Gus L. Jordan and Mrs. Georgia Call Carleton. The initial gift was given 15 February 1973. The second gift was given 12 August 1974.
The collection begins in 1848 and ends in 1936. Records include correspondence, financial documents, literary productions, and photographic materials. Almost every letter from Matthew Anderson to Harriet Anderson has been transcribed. These transcriptions are filed immediately behind each letter in the collection.
All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to The Texas Collection in writing. Please use the Request Form for Copying Materials sheet. Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator (s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
The collection is open for research.
General condition: Good.
Matthew Dawson Anderson Papers, Accession #0448, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Accession No. 448. Acquired 1973-02-15
Described by Paul T. Fisher. Released on 2013-06-17.
Archivist's Notes: This collection has extensive information on Texas plantation agricultural activities. There is a great deal of information on planting times, temperatures, work times, number of workers, and other activities on a typical Texas plantation.
Matthew Dawson Anderson’s name does not appear on any list of Texas legislative delegates. However, it is mentioned numerous times in supporting documentation for this collection, so it was included. He was verifiably not a delegate to the Texas Secession Convention, but was probably an observer during the proceedings.
Anderson’s role in the American Civil War has not yet been determined. He does not appear on any muster rolls for his county, despite the fact that he was called “Major” after the war. It is theorized that he was a major in a Texas militia unit sometime during the war.
Detailed Description of the Collection