Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers
Manuscript Collection: MC083
Veteran and Texas political figure during the early days of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar was born near Louisville, Georgia, in 1798 to John and Rebecca Lamar. He spent most of his youth living at Fairfield, Georgia, reading, writing verses and painting. Lamar's interest in political affairs began in 1823, when Lamar became secretary to George M. Troup, Governor of Georgia. Lamar resigned from this office shortly after his first wife, Tabitha Jordon, became ill. He moved his wife and daughter Rebecca Ann to Columbus, Georgia, where he established the Columbus Enquirer. In 1829, he was elected state senator of Georgia but did not seek reelection due to the death of his wife. Lamar unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1832 and 1834. He sold the Enquirer in 1835 and followed James W. Fannin to Texas on the premise of collecting historical data.
In Texas, Lamar was a supporter of Texas gaining its independence from Mexico. Affairs in Georgia kept him from entering the army initially, but his decisive actions on April 20, 1836 caused him to be commissioned a Colonel and he led the cavalry the next day at the Battle of San Jacinto. After the battle he was named Secretary of War in David G. Burnet's cabinet. Although he was commissioned to command the Texas army as commander in chief, unruly Texas troops refused to accept his appointment and Lamar retired to civilian life.
In 1836, Lamar was elected Vice President of Texas and in 1838 President of Texas. His presidency faced many obstacles including the recognition of Texas as a separate Republic, continued hostilities with Mexico and with Native Americans, and the accumulation of debt. During his term he passed the act which set aside land for public schools and two universities. It is Lamar's advocacy for education that earned him the nickname "Father of Texas Education." In 1841, Lamar retired to his home in Richmond, Texas, and concentrated on collecting historical materials. In 1851, he married Henrietta Maffitt with whom he had one daughter, Loretto Evalina. He was appointed United States minister to Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 1857 and published Verse Memorials in September 1857. Shortly after returning from his post, he died of a heart attack at his home in Richmond on December 19, 1859.
Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, creative works, photographs and Photostats document the life of Mirabeau B. Lamar from his role as militia captain in 1825 to resolutions delivered after his death. The correspondence is organized by correspondent and then sorted chronologically. Correspondence received by Lamar includes an 1825 letter from I. C. Wilson to Capt. M. Lamar ordering Lamar to have his company prepare for marching orders under Maj. Gen. Gaines. A letter from Thomas R. Lamar written in 1836 discusses newspaper accounts of Lamar's distinguished part in the Battle of San Jacinto. Also included is a letter from G. B. Lamar containing advice about annexation, British and Mexican politics, and investing money in Texas. A letter from Rebecca Ann Lamar at age 13 written in 1841 is also included in this series. A number of letters from M. B. Lamar addressed to his wife Henrietta discuss his work and his poetry. The Henrietta Lamar correspondence includes a note from Hamilton Bee, and a letter addressed to David G. Burnet regarding Sam Houston's continued animosity. Also in this series, two separate letters transmit resolutions of mourning on the death of Mirabeau B. Lamar, one signed by Edward Clark, President of the Senate, and the other by M. D. K. Taylor, speaker of the House of Representatives. In the miscellaneous series is a typescript signed letter addressed to E. H. J. Andrews, donor of the collection, from Miss Winnie Allen, archivist at the University of Texas Library. There is also an envelope addressed to Mrs. Henrietta Lamar postmarked 1860.
The financial documents series is comprised of bills and a single receipt. The bills are for the purchase of furnishings for Lamar's presidential residence and a tailor's bill. The receipt is for an 1835 survey of M. B. Lamar's league of land in Austin's colony on the Brazos from Horatio Chriesman.
The legal documents series contains the appointment of Mirabeau B. Lamar as U.S. Minister Resident to the Argentine Confederation in 1857, an 1846 military voucher for Lamar's services in the U.S.-Mexican War signed by J. Pinckney Henderson and Zachary Taylor, and the minutes of two meetings in 1825 pertaining to the organization of a company of volunteers in Milledgeville, Georgia. Of note is the election of Mirabeau B. Lamar as captain of the company and the uniform the volunteers would wear. Also included in this series are the three resolutions issued in 1860 on the death of Lamar.
Printed materials include a card, which accompanied a bouquet of roses, addressed to Miss Henrietta Maffitt (later Mrs. M. B. Lamar) by Hamilton Bee in 1844. Also included is a 1928 Columbus Ledger Centennial brochure with a picture of Lamar, who was its first editor.
The creative works series contains a transcript of a journal entry made by Rebecca Lamar, at the age of 13, describing the site of San Jacinto Battleground and Buffalo Bayou. Also included in this series is a speech written by M. B. Lamar in 1841 on his departure from the presidential chair. A poem written to Mrs. Lamar is from Amin Bey, Agent of the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Also in this series is a 27 page biographical sketch of Mirabeau Lamar by Edward Fontaine, believed to be written in 1848.
Photographs include a daguerreotype and printed copy of Mirabeau B. Lamar and a photograph of the Lamar family home Fairfield in Eatonton, Georgia, built in 1804 by John R. Lamar, father of Mirabeau B. Lamar.
Photostats are divided into two categories: correspondence and miscellaneous. The correspondence Photostats includes an 1836 letter from Stephen F. Austin to Lamar concerning the treatment of Gen. Santa Anna; an 1838 letter from Norman of Steel ＆ Co. presenting Lamar with a "Texas Congress Knife"; and a letter from Frederick Leclerc to Lamar regarding the beginning of French trade with Texas and including a loan for building steamships. A letter from the Phi Gamma Society at Emory College in Georgia addressed to Lamar informs him that he had been elected an honorary member of the society in 1842. The miscellaneous Photostats include a rare photo-static copy of pages 1 and 2, Vol. 1 no. 1 of the Columbus Enquirer, founded by M. B. Lamar. The first volume of this paper was stolen from the newspaper's files some time after Lamar sold the Enquirer. Lamar's manuscript copy is the only known copy extant of Vol. 1.
Restrictions on Access
Terms Governing Use
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], Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers, MC083, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.
Elizabeth Calder and Mrs. E. H. J. Andrews, 1939. Loan Conversion, 2001.
Processed by Lisa M. Lomas, 2011.