TABLE OF CONTENTS
Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection
John Birdsall Papers, Manuscript Collection: MC067
John Birdsall was born in Greene, New York in 1802, the son of Maurice Birdsall and Ann Pixley and the grandson of Lewis Birdsall and Patience Lee Birdsall. He was the cousin of Jane Birdsall Harris. Birdsall received his legal training in New York and held several legal positions there including those of circuit judge, appointed by Governor DeWitt Clinton, and state senator in 1832 and 1833. In 1837, he moved to Harrisburg, Texas and formed a partnership with Thomas J. Gazley and became a friend of President Sam Houston. Houston appointed Birdsall attorney general for the Republic of Texas and Birdsall was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. When Houston later appointed Birdsall chief justice pro tempore his nomination was defeated. On January 8, 1839, Birdsall and Houston became law partners. John Birdsall died of yellow fever on July 22, 1839.
Of John Birdsall's fast rise within the Texas government, his uncle, Lewis A. Birdsall wrote, "had he lived, he would have been the next president." John Birdsall married Ann Whiteside and had two sons. In 1836 he married Sarah Peacock.
The estate papers of John Birdsall, legal and financial documents, and a single letter record the brief law career of John Birdsall in Texas. Correspondence, statements of account, receipts, deeds, inventories and agreements document the settlement of Birdsall's estate. Of interest are a mortician's bill (1839) and a power of attorney given to Thomas William Ward by DeWitt Clinton Harris as executor of the Birdsall estate. Two inventories concern Birdsall's private possessions and property and his possessions jointly owned as a partner of Houston and Birdsall. Records created in the law practice of Houston and Birdsall (12), agreements between Sam Houston and John Birdsall (1) and Thomas J. Gazley and Birdsall (1), deeds (7), and a power of attorney illuminate the professional and personal legal business conducted by John Birdsall. Six statements of account and receipts (1838-1839) and a single letter from Thomas Shepherd also concern business matters.
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Open for research by appointment.
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.
[Identification of Item], John Birdsall Papers, MC067, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.
Mr. and Mrs. George A. Hill, Jr., Houston Public Library, Annie Hume, 1939-1940.
Processed by Sandra Eileen Yates, 2002.