A Guide to the Victoria Thomas Polk Autograph Album, 1859-1875 and undated
Victoria Thomas was born in San Augustine, Texas, on 1841 January 30 to Iredell Dickinson Thomas (1805-1866) and his first wife Penelope Edwards (circa 1810-1844). Iredell Thomas was an early settler in the area, arriving in east Texas with his parents and siblings around 1828. He built the first store in the newly established town of San Augustine in 1833, and it became one of the largest mercantile businesses in town. A leading citizen of the area, Thomas amassed considerable wealth and land holdings as a businessman and planter. During the Texas Revolution he participated in the siege of Bexar and served as secretary of the San Augustine Committee of Vigilance and Safety.
On 1860 March 21, Victoria married Charles Isaac Polk, a member of another prominent family in San Augustine. Born on 1832 September 9 in Tennessee, Charles came to east Texas in early 1837 with his parents, Alfred (1808-1891) and Nancy McIvor (1810-1897) Polk, and siblings. Alfred Polk served as the county judge of San Augustine from 1845 until 1860. For many years Charles was a merchant in San Augustine; like his five brothers and two brothers-in-law, he served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
Charles and Victoria Polk had three sons: Henry Kinsey (1861-1915), who served as county commissioner and judge in San Augustine; I. D. (1864-1914); and James V. (1866-1937). Charles died in San Augustine on 1889 March 30; Victoria died in Beaumont, Texas, on 1924 March 10.
Blake, Robert Bruce, Collection. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.
Byrne, Frank J. Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006.
Ericson, Carolyn Reeves. Nacogdoches - Gateway to Texas: A Biographical Directory, 1773-1849. Volume 1. Nacogdoches, Texas: Ericson Books, 1991.
Ericson, Joe, comp., and Carolyn R. Ericson, ed. They Came to East Texas, 500-1850: Immigrants and Immigration Patterns. Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2005.
Johnson, Frank White, Eugene Campbell Barker, and Ernest William Winkler. A History of Texas and Texans. Volume 4. Chicago and New York: The American Historical Society, 1914.
Noble, Harry P., Jr. Texas Trailblazers: San Augustine Pioneers. Lufkin, Texas: Best of East Texas Publishers, 1999.
The autograph album is a copy of Cherished Fragments that belonged to San Augustine, Texas, resident Victoria Thomas Polk. Approximately one-fourth of the pages in the volume contain inscriptions from friends, usually in verse form, that bestow wishes for Victoria's future happiness, ask for her remembrance, and praise her personal traits. At least some of the verses are sections of published poems of the period. Friends from San Augustine and New Orleans who signed the album include Rufus Price; E. W. Lovell; Mary and Anna W. Cartwright; A. R. Northrop; Lizzie and Kate Crocket; Charles Isaac Polk, Victoria’s soon-to-be husband at the time of the earliest messages; J. Blount; and Nettie Parr. The album also includes illustrations, primarily watercolors of flowers that accompany some of the inscriptions, but also engravings and ink and pencil drawings depicting other subjects.
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[Identification of item], Victoria Thomas Polk Autograph Album, 1859-1875 and undated, Bound Doc 14770, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.
Gift of Jeanie Travis, 2010 October.
Processed by Caitlin Donnelly, 2010 November.
Finding aid edited and encoded by Caitlin Donnelly, 2010 November.
Detailed Description of the Collection