William Dall Papers
Manuscript Collection: MC175
William Dall was born in 1794 or 5, a son of William Dall of Boston, Massachusetts, and his second wife, Rebecca Keen Dall, whom he married in 1791. Rebecca Keen was the daughter of Joseph Keen and Sarah Parrott Tilden Keen. Apprenticed to a merchant, the younger William worked in Baltimore, Maryland, before removing to Mexico in 1834 to pursue business interests as an agent of the firm Parrott ＆ Co. William Dall was a member of the New Washington Association, a group of New York investors who purchased land in Texas, including in 1834 the peninsula near the intersection of the San Jacinto River and Galveston Bay now known as Morgan's Point. He did not marry. William Dall returned to Boston, where he was buried in 1875.
James Dall, the oldest child of William Dall of Boston, was born in 1781. He married Henrietta Austin (1788-1866), sister of Mary Austin Holley and cousin of Stephen F. Austin, with whom he had several children, including Henrietta Dall (Whitridge, b. 1814) and Charles Henry Appleton Dall (1816-1886). He lived in Spring Vale, near Baltimore, Maryland, and engaged in business. James Dall died in 1863.
John Dall, a son of William Dall of Boston, was born in 1791 or 1797. He resided in New York, and engaged in business.
Joseph Dall, the youngest child of William Dall of Boston, was born in 1801 and resided in Boston until his death in 1840. Like his other family members, he engaged in business.
Correspondence and a single newspaper illuminate the business interests and family connections of William Dall in the mid-1830s. All of the correspondence was sent to William Dall in Mexico. Letters from W. B. Bend in November of 1835 and February of 1836 concern the consignment of Bend's sheeting through Parrott ＆ Co., a new gambling hell in New York, the city's great fire of 1835, and Bend's prospects for marriage. The November 24, 1835, letter from Henrietta to Uncle William gives family news and information about her visit to New York. Of interest is the mention of Col. Almonte, and of Aunt Holley. Correspondence from James Dall to his brother William expresses concern for William's safety in Zacatecas, provides information about the B ＆ O Rail Road, the destruction of the courthouse, the Austin, Holley, and Dall families, the Texas Association and emigration to Texas, mob action in Baltimore in response to the failure of the Bank of Maryland, and abolition. One letter is completed by nephew Charles Henry Appleton Dall. A single letter from brother John Dall, dated August 5, 1835, concerns his fears for William following the Zacatecas incident, the settling of the family estate between the brothers, and the health of family members. Ten letters from Joseph Dall to William date from November 6, 1834, to January 5, 1836, and provide family information, news about investments including shipping of steel from New York to Tampico, the rise in stock and real estate prices, the growth of railroads, the prospect of a national bank in Washington, political news, the current interest in Texas, and the 1835 conflagration in New York. The June 20, 1833, issue of El Telegrafo, a Mexico City publication, offers articles on the numbers of artillery present in Mexico City, a cholera epidemic and how to treat the disease, and Venezuela's foreign relations.
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[Identification of Item], William Dall Papers, MC175, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.
Purchased from PBA Galleries, January 19, 2012.
Processed by Lisa A. Struthers, 2015.