Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence

Texas County Men

Prominent Early Texans

War Department/Army of the Republic of Texas

Land Purchases

Court Documents (by County)

Estate Papers/Receipts

Miscellaneous

Southern Methodist University

Collection of early Texas documents

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: DeGolyer Library
Title: Collection of early Texas documents
Inclusive Dates: 1822-1859
Abstract: This collection of miscellaneous period documents was intentionally assembled for the autographs. Signatures belong to those who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, those for whom counties were named, and those who functioned as high officials in the Republic of Texas. The collection also includes an official deed of sale in Spanish signed by Estevan F. Austin (Stephen F. Austin) in 1826. Most documents relate to court cases, promissory notes, slave sales, and estate considerations, but there are also certificates of stock, drafts, bonds, letters, and land grants.
Accession No: A1980.0145c
Extent: 8 folders (97 documents)
Language: Material is in English, Spanish, and French
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Series 1 contains documents bearing the signatures of men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, including Michel B. Menard, William Clark, Jr., Asa Brigham, George Washington Barnett, Charles Stewart, R.M. Coleman, Thomas Barnett, Albert H. Latimer, Edwin LeGrand, Stephen W. Blount, James Gaines, Sterling C. Robertson, José Antonio Navarro, and Samuel A. Maverick. Documents include court petitions, estate settlement papers, depositions, promissory notes, bonds, a suit over slaves, summonses, and affidavits.

Series 2 contains documents bearing the signatures of men for whom counties in Texas were named, excluding those, such as Jose Antonio Navarro, who also signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The "county men" who appear in this series are as follows: Robert M. Williamson, James E. Hopkins, Edward H. Tarrant, John T. Mills, Robert Kleberg, Thomas Ward, William C. Young, Daniel Montague, William M. Morris, Volney Erskine Howard, John Gregg, John Bunyan Denton, James W. Dallam, John (aka Juan) McMullen, John S. Roberts, John C. Hays, Oran Milo Roberts, Eli Mitchell, Asa Mitchell, Memucan Hunt, William Barrett Travis, and Phillip Dimmitt. Documents include estate papers, bonds, promissory notes, petitions, deeds, affidavits, summonses, a suit over slaves, and letters.

Series 3 contains documents bearing the signatures of other prominent Texans, such as Governor Elisha M. Pease, Juan N. Seguín, and Stephen (aka Estevan) F. Austin. Documents include two land grant certificates, and two court documents written in Spanish.

Subsequent series contain other early Texas documents, such as certificates and letters from the War Department and the Army of the Republic of Texas, certificates of stock in land, letters regarding land purchases, and probate and county court records (sorted by county). Collection includes several documents in Spanish and one in French.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 8 series:
Series 1: Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence
Series 2: Texas County Men
Series 3: Prominent Early Texans
Series 4: War Department/Army of the Republic of Texas
Series 5: Land Purchases
Series 6: Court Documents (by County)
Series 7: Estate Papers/Receipts
Series 8: Miscellaneous

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Restrictions

Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

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Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Texas -- History -- Sources.
Coahuila and Texas (Mexico) -- History -- Sources.
Texas (Provisional government, 1835) -- History -- Sources.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of early Texas documents, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired.

Finding Aid written by

Dale Topham, June 2008.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2008.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence
1 Folder (17 documents)

Item
1 Partial List of Signers (17 names)
Item
2 Estate Consideration. Administrators assigned to William Kelly’s estate. Department of Bexar, Municipality of Austin, February 5, 1834. Signed by R. M. Coleman, witness.
Item
3 (on verso of item # 2) Estate Consideration. Administrators of William Kelly’s estate agree to create an inventory for the Alcalde, Department of Bexar, jurisdiction of Austin, February 5, 1834. Signed by by R. M. Coleman, witness.
Item
4 Certificate of Conciliation regarding a suit between Harriet Cole and Naomi Macky concerning three slaves. San Augustin, February 14, 1835. Signed by Edwin LeGrand, Secretary to the Alcalde.
Item
5 Affidavit of James Gaines in Harriet Cole vs. Naomi Macky. February 23, 1835. Signed by Gaines
Item
6 Letter (in Spanish) addressed to Sterling C. Robertson, September 4, 1835. (Translation into English included.)
Item
7 Petition of Griffin Bayne regarding Promissory Note of Sterling C. Robertson, Washington County, March 1, 1836.
Item
8 Account Paper, signed by Thomas Barnett, Chief Justice of Austin County, January 29, 1838.
Item
9 Administrative Bond on the estate of Sewall Hancock, Red River County, signed by Albert H. Latimer, May 28, 1838.
Item
10 Summons, San Augustine County Court, signed by Stephen W. Blount, clerk, October 9, 1838.
Item
11 Bond, probate court of Bexar County, signed by Samuel A. Maverick, October 24, 1838.
Item
12 Document in Spanish, signed by Jose Antonio Navarro, Bexar, August 17, 1839. (Translation into English included.)
Item
13 Thomas Davey’s Proof of Attendance at the spring term of the District Court, signed by Charles Stewart, April 21, 1841.
Item
14 Promissory Note signed by Asa Brigham, agent for William H. H. Johnstone, Austin, TX, August 24, 1841.
Item
15 Deposition, signed by George Washington Barnett, Washington County, November 12, 1847.
Item
16 Suit, Michel B. Menard vs. James M. Jones and Henry Hubbell, payment satisfied in full, Galveston County, August 1, 1850.
Item
17 Receipt regarding the estate of R. Balmer, signed by William Clark. Filed February 5, 1859.

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Series 2:
Texas County Men
1 Folder (25 documents)

Item
1 Partial list of "County Men" (12 names)
Item
2 Notice of slave sale, jurisdiction of Austin, December 18, 1833. Signed by W. Barrett Travis.
Item
3 Petition of Henderson, Walton, & Co. of New Orleans for money owed them by J. W. E. Wallace of Matagorda County. Document undated, but created after June 15, 1835. Signed by James W. Dallam, attorney for petitioners.
Item
4 Bond, Peter E. Bean vs. José de las Peidsas, dated August 24, 1836. Signed by J. [John S.] Roberts
Item
5 Summons for B. E. Campbell & Co to appear before Robert Kleburg, acting justice of the peace for Austin County, dated September 5, 1838. Signed by Kleburg.
Item
6 Court document. (in Spanish) José Casiano vs. Juan (John) McMullin, Bejar, June 23, 1838. (Translation into English included.)
McMullin denies owing money to Casiano and others who have petitioned the court, and requests that his sentence be reduced, along with the charges.
Item
7 Promissory Note signed by Daniel Montague. He promises to pay J. A. Caldwell $316. Dated October 13, 1838.
Item
8 Note (on verso of item #7). J. A. Caldwell received $71.72 on May 18, 1840.
Item
9 Bond in the amount of $1,000 filed in County of Bexar District Court October 18, 1838. Signed by John McMullen
Item
10 Proce Verbal of a sale of a land certificate belonging to the estate of Andrew Lee, deceased, to Dr. James Richee, December 8, 1838.
Item
11 Settlement of the Estate of Andrew Lee (on verso of item # 10), dated January 28, 1839. Signed by Edward H. Tarrant, Chief Justice of Red River County.
Item
12 Administrative Bond involving William N. Porter, William C. Young, and Amos Morrill, Red River County, Texas, in the amount of $4,000. Signed by William C. Young, et al.
Item
13 Bond. The Republic of Texas vs. Phillip Stiffy, July 3, 1840. Signed by Eli Mitchell.
Item
14 Bond. John W. Smith appointed guardian of the minor heirs of José Ángel Navarro, deceased. Dated July 23, 1840 in San Antonio. Signed by John C. Hays, et al.
Item
15 Sworn statement. John W. Smith swears before probate judge John S. Simpson to perform his duties as guardian of José Ángel Navarro’s children. Dated July 27, 1840.
Item
16 Promissory Note. J. B. Denton promises to pay Thomas [illegible] $17 before January 1, 1841. Dated September 24, 1840. Signed by Denton.
Item
17 Petition of Juan José Rodriguez, guardian of Ellen Taylor, for the sale of 640 acres of land owned by Taylor’s late father for the purpose of funding her education. Bexar County, April 19, 1841. Signed on behalf of petitioner by V. E. [Volney Erskine] Howard.
Item
18 Letter from Phillip Dimmitt, Corpus Christi Bay, to Thomas Powell, New Orleans, May 14, 1841. Concerns the sale of a tobacco company. Signed by Dimmitt
An accompanying note states that shortly after writing this letter, Dimmitt was captured and taken to Mexico as a prisoner. However, he escaped and committed suicide rather than face recapture. [This brief account conflicts with that found in the biographical sketch of Dimmitt in the Handbook of Texas Online. See http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/DD/fdi19.html]
Item
19 Affidavit. Application for continuance in the court case Asa Mitchell vs. Mary Fulcher. Milam County, May 2, 1843. Signed by Mitchell.
Item
20 Promissory Note. John T. Mills promises to pay L. Van Dyke $207.70. Dated March 9, 1846. Signed by Mills.
Item
21 Petition. Concerns suit of James M. Clements, plaintiff, vs. William S. Walker, defendant. Clements petitions for payment of money owed him. Document undated, but created after November 30, 1846. Signed by W. [William] W. Morris, attorney for plaintiff.
Item
22 General Land Office Certificate, Fort Bend County, January 26, 1848. Signed by Thomas W. Ward.
Item
23 Letter, O. M. [Oran Milo] Roberts, to J. M. Ardry, San Augustine, August 29, 1850. Concerns the Payne vs. Payne divorce suit. Signed by Roberts.
Item
24 Promissory Note. Memucan Hunt promises to pay Philip M. Cuney $500 ten months after date (May 12, 1851). Signed by Hunt.
Note on verso: "Filed May 31st 1853 judgment rendered same day. J. W. Moore, clerk."
Item
25 Petition. Edward W. Hakel, plaintiff, petitions for Henry J. Jewett, judge of the 13th district court, to compel Medicus R. Bass, defendant, to appear at the next term of the court for Freestone County. Hakel is suing for $144. Dated Fall 1853. Signed by John Gregg, attorney for plaintiff.

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Series 3:
Prominent Early Texans
1 Folder (4 documents)

Item
1 Deed of Sale (in Spanish), San Felipe de Austin, signed by Estevan F. Austin, January 20, 1826 (Translation into English included.)
Austin sells several tracts of land to James F. Long.
Item
2 Land Grant Certificate for John Dixon and heirs, Johnson County, signed by Governor Elisha M. Pease, June 16, 1855.
Item
3 Land Grant Certificate for Robert Wilson, Refugio County, signed by Governor Elisha M. Pease, May 27, 1856.
Item
4 Letter (in Spanish), from Juan N. Seguín, to "the Honorable Testamentary Court" of Bexar County, Republic of Texas, undated. Signed by Juan N. Seguín. (Translation into English included.)
Seguín reports that someone has requested personal documents from the estate of James Bowie, deceased. As the legally appointed administrator of Bowie’s estate, he requests that the documents not be released without his knowledge.

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Series 4:
War Department/Army of the Republic of Texas
1 Folder (5 documents)

Item
1 Notice of Discharge from the Army of Texas for John E. Gar[ner?]. Gonzales, Texas. Document undated, but created after September 28, 1835.
Item
2 Notice certifying that Theodore Slaid [Slade?] of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana has been accepted as a substitute in the place of Stephen Smith of Gonzales, Texas to serve in the Army of Texas for three months. Dated August 10, 1836. Signed by A. C. Horton
Item
3 Letter to John S. Kemper, from [illegible], War Department, January 22, 1838.
Item
4 Certificate of Discharge from the Army of Texas for Uriah S. Bownson, February 10, 1838.
Item
5 Texas Veteran Association membership certificate for Col. Alexander Horton, San Augustine. Document undated, but was created during the period from 1873 to 1886 when Moses Austin Bryan served as secretary of the organization. (See http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/fbrar.html)
Signed by Moses Austin Bryan.

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Series 5:
Land Purchases
1 Folder (8 documents)

Item
1 Petition to the Ayuntamiento [town council] of the jurisdiction of Austin on behalf of Joseph White and Thomas S. Garley. Garley purchased town lots from White on March 2, 1830 but had not yet received the deed to the land. The petitioners request that a deed be given to Garley.
Item
2 Certificate of Land Purchase. Robert H. Williams purchased thirteen lots in the town of Matagorda for $62. Dated April 2, 1834. Signed by Ira Ingram.
Item
3 Board of Land Commissioners for the County of San Augustine document stating that James S. Beasley is entitled to one league of land. Dated February 23, 1838.
Item
4 Certificate of Stock in the Town of Washington for the amount of $500. Dated May 15, 1839.
Item
5 Certificate of Stock in the Town of Washington for the amount of $250. Dated May 15, 1839.
Item
6 Letter from John P. Borden, Commissioner of the General Land Office, Austin, Texas, to James D. Owens. Borden informs Owens that he should get a writ of mandamus from Judge Hemphill to recover the archival records of the County Surveyor from Mr. Liven. Dated April 8, 1840.
Item
7 Letter from James Howlett, September 28, 1840, to John P. Borden, Commissioner of the General Land Office, Austin, Texas, regarding a court case on the contested ownership of two 640-acre tracts of land.
Item
8 Letter from Joseph H. Barnard, Richmond, to David Ayres, Postmaster, Centre Hill, Austin County, December 6, 1845. Letter discusses headright [i.e., land grant] certificates. Barnard forwarded the certificates and field notes from his land surveys to the General Land Office, where they are on file.

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Series 6:
Court Documents (by County)
1 Folder (23 documents)

This folder contains documents from Bexar, Galveston, Jackson, Matagorda, Nacogdoches, Rusk, San Augustine, and Travis Counties.
Item
1 Sale Bill of the Estate of Jesús Fernandez made at auction, Bexar County, Texas, November 26, 1839
Item
2 Petition of George F. Howard, administrator of the estate of Charles McKinley, to the Probate Court, Bexar County, April 28, 1840.
Item
3 Bond of Charles Hoffman, Samuel Williams, and Thomas F. McKinney, Galveston County, December 14, 1840.
Item
4 Bond of John Andrews to Patrick Usher, Judge of Probate for Jackson County, Texas, March 26, 1838.
Item
5 (on verso of item #4) Oath of Estate Administrator John Andrews for the Estate of John Andrews, [Sr.], deceased, Jackson County, Texas. Document undated, but created on or after March 26, 1838.
Item
6 Petition of Thomas Winston, Mississippi, to B. C. Franklin, judge of the second judicial district of the Republic of Texas [Matagorda County], bringing suit against Turner Barnes for indebtedness, August 9, 1838.
Item
7 (on verso of item # 6) Statement of Turner Barnes, defendant, alleging that Thomas Winston, Plaintiff, owes him money.
Item
8 (appended to document in item # 7) Jury Finding. In the case of Thomas Winston vs. Turner Barnes, the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff. Signed by Thomas M. Duke, foreman of the jury.
Item
9 Document attesting to the fact that John A Veitch appeared before Judge Adolphus Stern and took the oath of office for "First Sheriff of Nacogdoches," August 9, 1836.
Item
10 Bond of Kelsey H. Douglas and James P. Kay to Adolphus Stern in the amount of $96.57 to be paid within two months. Nacogdoches County, October 18, 1837.
Item
11 (on verso of item # 9) Notation. Kelsey H. Douglas asked to pay the amount listed on the above Bond to Charles Chevaillier, Nacogdoches County, 1839.
Item
12 (appended to item # 10) Two Notations. Court received payments from administrator of the estate of Kelsey H. Douglas in the amounts of $45.37 and $52.42, the full balance of the Bond. January 1841.
Item
13 Petition of Hayden Arnold, clerk of the district court of Nacogdoches County, to David Rusk, sheriff, regarding the judgment of $175.35 that Henry Raguet recovered against George Pollitt the previous March. Rusk is asked to transfer Pollitt’s "goods and chattels, land and tenements" of that value to Charles H. Sims, attorney for Raguet. Nacogdoches County, November 20, 1838.
Item
14 (attached to back side of item # 12) Statement of Henry Raguet giving Charles H. Sims power of attorney to collect the settlement awarded by the court, Nacogdoches County, December 22, 1838.
Item
15 Court Document, Nacogdoches County District Court. John Durst vs. Ira R. Lewis, suit for indebtedness. Stay of execution granted on the judgment, which may be rendered on the case through March 1, 1840. Dated April term of court, 1839.
Item
16 Petition to Nacogdoches County Probate Judge William Hart on behalf of Elizabeth Wilburn, who requests to be granted guardianship of her grandson, John Berry. Dated April term of court, 1843.
Item
17 Memorandum. Reads: "In memory of Thomas F. M. McKinney, creator of the Texas Navy, builder of the first wharf at Galveston, Financial advisor of the Republic of Texas, senior member of the firm of McKinney and Williams at Nacogdoches, 1823-1830. Copy of monument at Nacogdoches. Samuel Williams, secretary to Austin Colony."
Item
18 Writ commanding Sheriff of Rusk County to issue a summons to William McElroy to appear during the next term of the District Court in Henderson, Texas to answer the complaint of Edwin Roseborough. Dated March 20, 1845.
Item
19 Notation (on verso of item # 18). Rusk County Sheriff Robert W. Smith records having served the summons to McElroy on March 29, 1845.
Item
20 Holographic Will of Alexander M. Davis, San Augustine County, May 22, 1845. He bequeaths his property, including slaves, oxen, cattle, and land, to relatives.
Item
21 Estate Paper. John H. Yerby appointed administrator of estate of William H. Grimes, who died intestate. Travis County, March 31, 1840.
Item
22 Bond of John H. Yerby, William B. Billingsley, and Thomas L. Jones, to Probate Judge James W. Smith for $2,000. Travis County, March 31, 1840.
Item
23 Letter, from Charles F. King, to James M. Long, probate judge, Austin, Travis County, Texas, May 8, 1845. Concerns the sale of property belonging to the estate of G. M. Dolson.

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Series 7:
Estate Papers/Receipts
1 Folder (10 documents)

Item
1 Document Fragment. Contains seal: "Juzgado De Austin" [Court of Austin], and signature of F. W. Johnson, July 13, 183[7?].
Item
2 Document Fragment (on verso of item # 1) Sworn Oath of John Kelley and Cynthia Fisher to perform their duties as court-appointed guardians of the children of Elijah Roark.
Item
3 Sworn Oath of John W. Smith, appointed administrator of the estate of Eugenio Navarro, deceased. Dated May 16, 1838. Signed by Probate Judge Erasmo Seguín.
Item
4 Sworn Oath of R. R. Royal, appointed administrator of the estate of [Uriah?] Autry, deceased. Dated May 29, 1838. Signed by John W. Smith, clerk of the probate court.
Item
5 Sworn Oath of James McGloin, appointed administrator of the estate of Patrick Novan, deceased. Dated July 17, 1838. Signed by John W. Smith, clerk of the probate court.
Item
6 Promissory Note. J. W. E. Wallace agrees to pay S. W. Oakey & Co. $2,112.70. Matagorda, September-October 1838 term of court. Suit filed March 12, 1839.
Item
7 Receipt. Nicholas Whitehead paid John H. Mowry $177.50. San Felipe, January 12, 1839.
Item
8 Receipt. H. C. Hudson, administrator of the estate of Alex Vernon, gave $14 to B. B. Goodrich out of fees collected for Hudson in the County of [Montgomery?]. Dated March 27, 1839.
Item
9 Receipt. Dr. Martin Guest paid Charles Demorse, proprietor of the "Northern Standard," $5 for advertising a notice of sale of property of Joseph Guest, deceased. Clarksville, March 21, 1843.
Item
10 Receipt. Elizabeth Beck, administrator of the estate of John Beck, pays $250 to John Caldwell for land previously sold to John Beck. Dated April 24, 1849.

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Series 8:
Miscellaneous
1 Folder (5 documents)

Item
1 Item 1: Letter from D. [T.?] Walker to Honorable E. Turner, March 3, 1829.
Letter mentions two court cases (Cole and Scott), both of which were "Virginia claims" tried in the same court on the same day and against the same individual. In the matter of remitting the judgments awarded, the Cole and Scott settlements were mixed up.
Item
2 Item 2: Letter from chief justice John Hayes, Victoria, Texas, to the Honorable Secretary of State [of the Republic of Texas], January 14, 1838.
Hayes provides the secretary of state [Robert Anderson Irion] with results of the recent election for county officers, and report that "some ambitious individuals" are trying to get the election results thrown out as illegal. Hayes believes the elections to have been conducted impartially.
Item
3 Item 3: Letter from George Ewing, Johnson’s Bluff Trinity, to Thomas Gay, Postmaster, Washington, Texas, May 22, 1839. Concerning a draft drawn by Mr. Moore on Thomas F. McKinney for $200.
Item
4 Item 4: Letter, from James W. Robinson, to Messrs. Bissel & Conley, Merchants, Victoria, Texas, September 15, 1845.
Letter discusses the purchase of cotton, and a lawsuit the writer has pending in Jackson County – "Corporation of Victoria vs. John F. Kemper" – for which he requests documents, including records of Martín De León’s colony held in the General Land Office.
Item
5 Item 5: Undated document (in French). Signed by William O. Donegan, James Forstall, and two others [signatures illegible]

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