Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection

Andrew Briscoe Papers, Manuscript Collection: MC055

Collection Summary

Creator: Briscoe, Andrew, 1818-1849
Title: Andrew Briscoe papers
Dates: 1828-1881
Dates: (Bulk: 1836-1849)
Abstract: Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, and business records illuminate the life of Andrew Briscoe.
Identification: MC055
OCLC Record No. 50136914
Quantity: 4 boxes (1.4 linear ft.)
Language Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

Andrew Briscoe was born on November 25, 1810, in Claiborne County, Mississippi, to General Parmenas Briscoe and Polly Montgomery. He moved to Texas in 1833 and in 1835 established a store in Anahuac. He was arrested with DeWitt Clinton Harris for attempting to sell goods without paying customs duties. The incident and the resulting protests sparked the Texas Revolution. Although an elected delegate to the convention of 1835 and a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, Briscoe left on March 17 and rejoined the army under orders from Thomas J. Rusk. As captain he led the Liberty Volunteers at the battle of Concepcion, and Company A, Infantry Regulars at the Battle of San Jacinto.

After the Revolution, Briscoe was appointed chief justice of Harrisburg by President Sam Houston and served until 1839. He then became involved in raising cattle and business ventures in the town of Harrisburg. He was agent for the Harrisburg Town Company and owner of the Harrisburg and Brazos Railroad. The Harrisburg Railroad & Trading Company assumed the Harrisburg and Brazos Railroad and was chartered in 1841. After grading 2 miles of track, the enterprise failed. In 1849 Briscoe moved his family to New Orleans where he engaged in banking. He died of yellow fever on October 4, 1849.

Andrew Briscoe married Elizabeth House and had a daughter, Elizabeth Zara ca. 1833. His daughter lived with her grandfather, General Parmenas Briscoe, and attended various boarding schools. Elizabeth Zara died of typhoid in 1848 in Kentucky. In 1837, Andrew married Mary Jane Harris, the "Belle of Buffalo Bayou" and daughter of John R. Harris, founder of Harrisburg, and Jane Birdsall Harris. They had five children, four of whom survived into adulthood: Parmenas (1839-1906), Andrew Birdsall (1841-1912), Jessie Wade (1845-1920), and Adele Lubbock (1848-1935).

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, and business records illuminate the personal life, military career, and business ventures of little known Texas settler and soldier, Andrew Briscoe.



Organized into six series; arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.


Restrictions on Access


Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Index Terms

Austin, Stephen F. (Stephen Fuller), 1793-1836
Briscoe, Andrew, 1810-1849--Archives
Morgan, James, 1787-1866
Rusk, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1803-1857
Birdsall family
Briscoe family
Harris family
Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad
Harrisburg Town Company
Cattle trade--Texas
Land tenure--Texas
San Jacinto, Battle of, Tex., 1836
Slave records--Texas
Harris County (Tex.)
Harrisburg (Tex.)

Related Material

Other related papers from the Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection include the Mary Jane Harris Briscoe Papers, the Briscoe Family Papers, the John R. and Jane Harris Papers, the John Birdsall Papers, the De Witt Clinton Harris Papers, the Harris Family Papers, and the Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers. All photographs are located in the Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers.

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Andrew Briscoe Papers, MC055, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Mr. and Mrs. George A. Hill, Jr., Houston Public Library, Annie Hume, 1939-1940.

Processing Information

Processed by Sandra Eileen Yates, 2002.


"BRISCOE, ANDREW." The Handbook of Texas Online.



Correspondence 1828-1849
Quantity: 2 boxes (.7 linear ft.)

One hundred three letters from members of the Briscoe, Harris and Birdsall families (1828-1849) deal with family affairs and business ventures. Five letters from Elizabeth Zara Briscoe, Andrew's daughter, document a loving relationship with an absent parent and contain family news of deaths and marriages along with reports of her studies and future plans. Of particular interest are the letters to Briscoe concerning military plans and movements. A November 6, 1835, letter from Stephen F. Austin concerns Mexican army movements and directs Briscoe to gather intelligence. Two letters (March 17, 1836) from Thomas J. Rusk, Secretary of War, order Briscoe into service and direct him to organize a company of rangers or spies to gather information about enemy movements. Five letters from James Morgan to Briscoe written in 1836-1837, discuss military plans and conditions prior to the Battle of San Jacinto and after the Mexican surrender. A letter dated 24 March 1836 written in haste by Morgan concerns sending 7 men to Briscoe and a Negro insurrection on the Trinity River. Letters from business firms concern receipt of payments, shipment of merchandise, land deals, the election of 1841, and letters of introduction.
The correspondence sent subseries reveals Briscoe's thoughts and plans. A 24 January 1834 letter written to the Allen brothers in Navasota concerns Briscoe's plans to investigate trading slaves in Texas. A letter to Sam Houston by Briscoe as executor of Judge John Birdsall's estate concerns the disposition of the property held by Houston & Birdsall. Briscoe assumes Houston will give it all to the estate as "all the business got [was] by Judge B. and all the labor done by him." A letter written to his brother James by Briscoe in January 1849 explains his intentions in writing his will and asks his brother to follow them. He also alludes to his plans to emigrate to California, leaving his wife and children in Texas. Third party correspondence contains some letters sent in care of Andrew Briscoe.
Correspondence: Received
box folder
92 1 Birdsall Family 1837-1844
2 Elizabeth Z. Briscoe 1845-1848
3 George A. Briscoe 1840, 08/15
4 Mary Jane Briscoe 1841, 12/10
5 James M. Briscoe 1838-1849
6 John Briscoe 1828-1840
7 Parmenas Briscoe 1828-1849
8 Sam Briscoe 1839-1846
9 William P. Briscoe 1844-1849
10 David Burnett 1836-1837
11 J. de Cordova 1848-1849
12 De Witt Clinton Harris 1836-1840
13 Lewis B. Harris 1836-1846
14 David Harrison 1849, 09/01-09/22
15 Lewis Jones 1843, 05/13-08/04
16 A. B. Logan 1836-1842
17 F. R. Lubbock 1843-1849
18 J. Morgan 1836-1837, n.d.
19 George M. Patrick 1841-1843
20 James H. Raymond 1849, 08/11-10/09
21 Thomas J. Rusk 1836, 03/17
22 Sandeman & Company 1836-1837
23 Sands & Company 1849, 07/20-09/15
24 Smith & Voorhees 1838, 03/15-10/16
25 J. S. Sullivan 1849, 08/14-10/03
26 M. T. Voorhees 1837-1841
27 Thomas William Ward 1841-1843
28 General: A 1835-1843
29 General: B 1836-1849
30 General: C 1837-1849
box folder
93 1 General: D 1836-1849
2 General: E-G 1837-1849
3 General: H 1835-1849, n.d.
4 General: J-K 1837-1849
5 General: L 1836-1849
6 General: M-N 1838-1849
7 General: P-R 1834-1848, n.d.
8 General: S 1833-1849
9 General: T 1836-1849
10 General: V-W 1836-1849
11 General: Unknown 1835-1843, n.d.
Correspondence: Sent
box folder
93 12 A. C. and J. K. Allen 1834-1835
13 James M. Briscoe, Parmenas Briscoe 1847-1848
14 General 1836-1849
Correspondence: General
box folder
93 15 Third Party 1836-1849
16 Envelopes 1836-1848


Financial 1835-1850
Quantity: (.2 linear ft.)

Accounts payable and receivable, bills of lading, banking records, promissory notes, receipts, and store inventories record Andrew Briscoe's personal and business financial transactions. Fourteen bills of lading, 12 of which are from 1835-1839, list merchandise imported by Briscoe into Texas prior to and after the fight for independence. Six records including a 57 page cattle book (1841-1848) detail the cattle business during the Republic of Texas. Rent receipts and banking records document Briscoe's final months in New Orleans.
box folder
93 17 Accounts Payable: Cruger & Moore, Gazley & Robinson, Malcom Sandeman & Co. 1836-1841
18 Accounts Payable: General 1835-1850
19 Accounts Receivable: DeWitt Clinton Harris 1840-1845
20 Accounts Receivable: General 1835-1839
21 Bills of Lading 1835-1849
22 Cattle Book and Papers 1835-1848
23 Checks, Deposit Slips 1849, 09/10-09/24
24 Promissory Notes 1835-1849
box folder
94 1 Receipts: Andrew Briscoe 1835-1846, n.d.
2 Receipts: Charles W. Babcock, Cruger & Moore 1837-1839
3 Receipts: T. S. Chamberlain & Co. 1837, 06/12-12/08
4 Receipts: Harris Family 1839-1847
5 Receipts: Wynns & Lawrence 1839-1839
6 Receipts: General 1835-1836
7 Receipts: General 1837-1838
8 Receipts: General 1839, 01/03-12/15
9 Receipts: General 1840, 01/14-1840, 11/26
10 Receipts: General 1843-1848
11 Receipts: General 1849, 06/25-1849, 08/25
12 Rent Receipts 1849, 07/01-10/01
13 Store Inventory 1836, 03/20, n.d.
14 General 1835-1839
15 General 1844-1949, n.d.


Legal 1835-1849
Quantity: 1 box (.2 linear ft.)

Affidavits, bills of sale, contracts, deeds, insurance policies, petitions, and powers of attorney document Briscoe's personal and business legal lives along with his service as Supreme Court justice. Six bills of sale document the buying of slaves by Briscoe (1838-1840). Certificates of purchase record the venture of Thomas Jefferson Chambers in promoting his town of Chambersia. Ballots, certifications, notices and returns document the electoral process in Harris County 1842-1846. Probate documents (1841-1842) reveal Briscoe's work as executor of John Birdsall's estate. A copy of Briscoe's will details his plans for his wife and children in the event of his death.
box folder
94 16 Affidavits 1837-1849
17 Bills of Sale 1838-1840
18 Certificates of Purchase: Chambersia 1840, 05/15
19 Contracts: Agreements 1835-1843
20 Contracts: Indentures, Lease 1839-1849
21 Contracts: Mortages 1838-1841
22 Contracts: Releases 1839-1846
23 Court Costs n.d.
24 Deeds 1837-1848
25 Deeds signed by Judge Andrew Briscoe 1838, 01/15-02/03
26 Elections: Ballots 1842, 10/26
27 Elections: Certifications 1845-1846
28 Elections: Notices n.d.
29 Elections: Returns 1842-1846
30 Injunctions 1838-1842, n.d.
31 Insurance Policies 1848-1849
32 Interrogatory 1848, 08/17
33 Judgements 1838-1842
34 Petitions 1840-1848
35 Petitions to Judge Andrew Briscoe 1837-1838, n.d.
36 Powers of Attorney 1836-1849
37 Probate Court: John Birdsall, Jr. 1841-1842
38 Summons 1837-1841
39 Wills 1839, 04/15, n.d.
40 Writs 1840-1848
41 General 1839-1848


General 1836-1849
Quantity: 9 items

Printed materials, locks of hair, and lists further reveal Andrew Briscoe's life. Briscoe's 1836 commission as Chief Justice of the county of Harrisburg is signed by Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. An October 2, 1835, broadside, Freedmen of Texas To Arms!!! To Arms!!! urges Texians to gather at Gonzales to fight the Mexican army. Three circulars and a newspaper clipping concern business opportunities. Locks of hair are from Elizabeth and "Father" Briscoe. A list records the names of the men under Briscoe's command at the Battle of San Jacinto. Mathematical and philosophical instruments and books are valued and listed for sale.
box folder
94 42 Printed Material: Appointment, Circulars, Clipping 1836-1849
43 Ephemera: Hair of Andrew and Elizabeth Briscoe n.d.
44 Lists 1828, 04/21, n.d.


Estate of Andrew Briscoe 1849-1854
Quantity: (.1 linear ft.)

The Estate of Andrew Briscoe consists primarily of correspondence (1849-1852) between Thomas Carothers, Edward Hall, and James M. Briscoe, concerning the sale of land owned jointly by Andrew Briscoe and Hall near the headwaters of the San Jacinto River, Carothers acting as their agent. An 1850 inventory lists the property owned by Andrew Briscoe at the time of his death. Two leases (1881) show the disposition of property in Hamilton County.
box folder
94 45 Correspondence: Thomas Carothers to James M. Briscoe 1849-1851
46 Correspondence: Edward Hall to James M. Briscoe 1850-1851
47 Correspondence: Thomas Carothers and Edward Hall 1850-1852
48 Financial: Edward Hall to James M. Briscoe 1849-1854
49 Legal: Inventory 1850, 03/02
50 Legal: Lease 1881, 12/10


Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad 1839-1841
Quantity: (.05 linear ft.)

Financial and legal documents, reports to stockholders, and general papers, chronicle the history of the Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad. Account statements (4) and receipts (12) detail payments to workers and for supplies, and five timber agreements show other expenses of constructing the railroad. "An Act to Incorporate the Harrisburg Rail Road and Trading Company," January 9, 1841, is signed by David G. Burnet. Two reports to stockholders are dated March 18, 1840.
box folder
95 1 Financial: Account Statements 1840-1841
2 Financial: Receipts 1840, 03/20-05/28
3 Legal: Deeds to Railroad 1840, 02/12-03/16
4 Legal: Timber Agreements 1840, 02/12-02/28
5 Legal: An Act to Incorporate Harrisburg Railroad & Trading Company 1841, 01/09
6 Legal: Conditional Offers 1840, 01/17
7 Ephemera 1840, n.d.
8 Report to Stockholders 1840, 03/18
9 General 1839-1840, n.d.


Harrisburg Town Company 1839-1841
Quantity: (.05 linear ft.)

Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, a surveyor's field notes and a map document the Harrisburg Town Compnay from 1839 to 1849. Minutes of the board of directors show the working of the company. An 1845 note from the board of directors gives permission to contract with Sidney Sherman for a six-month period to purchase the remaining unsold land in Harrisburg. Financial documents include accounts payable, receipts, and an agent's report by Andrew Briscoe that details the preparation of a map of Harrisburg, the building of a brick yard, facilites required in building a town, and an estimate of expenses for the Harrisburg Town Company. Legal documents include certificates of purchase by DeWitt Clinton Harris [13], Lewis B. Harris [3], Robert Wilson [8], Alexander Farmer [1], Sally Moore and Francis Moore [2], Stephen Richardson [1], Magnus T. Rodgers [2], and Edward Smith [2]. A power of attorney appoints Andrew Briscoe agent for John W. Moore, John Birdsall, and David G. Burnet. Printed materials are stock certificates in the Harrisburg Town Company owned by Mary Jane Briscoe, William P. Harris, and Francis Moore. The map is a plat of the Harris Tract.
box folder
95 10 Correspondence: Instructions from the Board of Directors 1845-1847
11 Correspondence: Memoranda 1892, 1839-1847, n.d.
range shelf
14 5 Journal of Harrisburg Town Co. and its Board of Directors 1839-1842
box folder
95 12 Minutes of Board of Directors' Meetings 1839-1849
13 Financial: Accounts Payable 1839-1850
14 Financial: Agent's Report 1839, 10/16
15 Financial: Receipts 1839-1840
16 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: DeWitt Clinton Harris 1840, 02/10
17 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: Lewis B. Harris 1840, 02/10-04/10
18 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: Robert Wilson 1840, 02/10
19 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: General 1840, 02/10-04/10
20 Legal: Powers of Attorney 1839-1840
21 Printed Materials: Stock Certificates: Mary Jane Briscoe 1839, 07/04
22 Printed Materials: Stock Certificates: William P. Harris 1839, 06/28-07/04
23 Printed Materials: Stock Certificates: Francis Moore 1841, 03/16
24 Ephemera 1839, n.d.
25 Surveyor's Field Notes 1839, 05/14
26 Map: Plat of Harris Tract n.d.