Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Secretary of State:

An Inventory of Secretary of State Boundary Records at the Texas State Archives, 1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, undated



Overview

Creator: Texas. Secretary of State.
Title: Secretary of State boundary records
Dates: 1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, undated
Abstract: In 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas authorized the President to appoint a commissioner to act with a commissioner to be appointed by the United States to survey the eastern boundary of Texas; in 1838, the Congress ratified a Convention between the two nations providing for such a survey. The boundary commission finished its work in 1841. In 1854, the Texas legislature agreed to cooperate with a United States Commission to define the northern and western boundaries of Texas. These records consist of correspondence, reports, vouchers, and abstracts of account of the Texas Boundary Commissioners and of the United States Commissioner. Dates covered are 1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, and undated.
Quantity: 1.5 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written predominately in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

By a law approved June 12, 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas authorized the President to appoint a commissioner to act with a commissioner to be appointed by the United States to survey the eastern boundary of Texas. On October 4, 1838, the Congress ratified a Convention between the two nations providing for such a survey. Supplementary acts dated November 23, 1839; January 18, 1840; November 23 and 26, 1840; and February 4, 1841, authorized appropriations and additional personnel for the Texas representation on the boundary commission. Memucan Hunt was the first Texas Commissioner appointed; he served from 1839 until 1840, when he was dismissed from the post. He was succeeded by George W. Smyth, who served until June 1841, when the work of the Commission was completed.

By an act approved November 26, 1840, the Secretary of State was required to draw from the War Department funds appropriated to run a boundary line between the Republic of Texas and the United States.

Following annexation further boundary work was needed to define the Panhandle. On February 11, 1854, the Texas legislature agreed to cooperate with a United States Commission "in running and marking the boundary line between the State of Texas and the territories of the United States, from the point where it leaves Red River to the point where it intersects the Rio Grande." Field work was done in the Panhandle in 1859 and 1860. The Civil War stopped work and the question of the boundary, expecially Greer County, was not settled until a Supreme Court ruling of March 16, 1896.

The Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor's (a two-year term at first, a four-year term since 1974). The office was first created by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836 (Article VI, Section 10), and has been continued by each succeeding Constitution. On May 9, 1846, the 1st Legislature approved an act "to define the duties of Secretary of State," which among other things required the Secretary of State to "arrange and preserve all books, maps, parchments, records, documents, deeds, conveyances, and other papers belonging to the State, that have been or may be properly deposited there."

An act of February 11, 1854 created a Board of Commissioners composed of the Secretary of State, the Comptroller, and the Attorney General, "to superintend the arranging and filing of the archives of the late Republic of Texas and of the State Legislature, and also the recording of the Journals of the said Congress and State Legislature ... to be deposited in the General Land-office of the State." An act of December 14, 1863 made the Secretary of State "the custodian of the records of the Senate and House of Representatives." And an act of March 25, 1887 provided that "the entire archives of the late Republic of Texas, ... together with the records, books, and journals of said Congress" would be "deposited in the Office of the Secretary of State," and "declared to be Archives of said office."

(Sources include: the Secretary of State Republic of Texas records appraisal report (December 1998); the survey report by Carolyn Majewski (January 1982); and the enabling legislation (1836-1887).)


Scope and Contents of the Records

In June 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas authorized the President to appoint a commissioner to act with a commissioner to be appointed by the United States to survey the eastern boundary of Texas. In October 1838, the Congress ratified a Convention between the two nations providing for such a survey. The boundary commission finished its work in June 1841. On February 11, 1854, the Texas legislature agreed to cooperate with a United States Commission to define the northern and western boundaries of Texas. These records consist of correspondence, reports, vouchers, and abstracts of account of the Texas Boundary Commissioners, of the United States Commissioners, of Presidents and Governors of Texas, and of other state and federal officials. Dates covered are 1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, undated. The Texas Boundary Commissioners filed reports of their progress with either the Secretary of State or the President/Governor of Texas. The correspondence was maintained by the Secretary of State. Reports concern relations with the U.S. Commissioner, progress of the survey, and routine supply and personnel matters.

Correspondents of the Republic reports and letters include Texas Boundary Commissioners Memucan Hunt and later George W. Smyth; United States Commissioner John H. Overton, President Mirabeau B. Lamar, and David G. Burnet. Also present are two journals of the Joint United States/Republic of Texas Boundary Commission. One dates from May 22, 1840 to July 10, 1841 and covers the running of the boundary from the mouth of the Sabine River to the Red River. The other journal, from May 18, 1840 to April 25, 1841, covers the running of the boundary from the Sabine River to the 32nd parallel.

Correspondents in 1859-1860 include William A. Bush (Secretary of the Boundary Commission), William H. Russell (Commissioner of the Boundary Survey), John H. Clark (U.S. Commissioner of the Boundary Survey), J. Thompson (U.S. Secretary of the Interior), Thomas F. Chapman (Secretary/Quartermaster/Commissary of the Boundary Commission), Governor H. R. Runnels, and Governor Sam Houston. Correspondence beginning 1873 is largely concerned with proving the Texas claim to Greer County. Correspondents include L. K. Lippincott (Acting U.S. General Land Office Commissioner) and Governor R. B. Hubbard. Correspondents in the 1880s include Governor John Ireland, William C. Endicott (U.S. Secretary of War), James Porter (Acting U.S. Secretary of State), U.S. Senator Samuel B. Maxey, J. Thomas Brackenridge (chairman, Texas Commissioners), and John S. Ford.


 

Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged by State Archives staff chronologically, but with vouchers and abstracts filed at the ends of each of two groups (Republic and State), and journals filed separately.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Hunt, Memucan, 1807-1856.
Smyth, George Washington, 1803-1866.
Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870.
Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte, 1798-1859.
Overton, John H.
Bush, William A.
Russell, William H.
Clark, John H.
Thompson, Jacob, 1810-1885.
Chapman, Thomas F.
Runnels, Hardin Richard, 1820-1873.
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863.
Hubbard, Richard Bennett, 1832-1901.
Ireland, John, 1827-1896.
Lippincott, L. K.
Endicott, William Crowninshield, 1826-1900.
Porter, James.
Maxey, S. B. (Samuel Bell), 1825-1895.
Brackenridge, John Thomas, 1828-1906.
Ford, John Salmon.
Corporate Names:
Texas (Republic). Dept. of State.
Joint Commission for Marking the Boundary between the United States and Texas.
Texas. President (1838-1841 : Lamar).
Texas. Governor (1857-1859 : Runnels).
Texas. Governor (1859-1861 : Houston).
Texas. Governor (1876-1879 : Hubbard).
Texas. Governor (1883-1887 : Ireland).
Subjects:
Boundaries
Places:
Texas--Boundaries.
United States--Boundaries--Texas.
Texas--Boundaries--United States.
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Boundaries--1837-1843, 1859-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1886, 1911.
Reports--Texas--Boundaries--1837-1843, 1859-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1886, 1911.
Financial records--Texas--Boundaries--1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1887.
Correspondence--United States--Boundaries--1837-1843, 1859-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1886, 1911.
Reports--United States--Boundaries--1837-1843, 1859-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1886, 1911.
Functions:
Identifying the boundary between Texas and the United States.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
United States diplomatic correspondence, 1831-1832, 1835-1846, 2.62 cubic ft., part of one reel of microfilm (part of Texas Department of State diplomatic correspondence)
Texas Department of State treaties between the Republic of Texas and other nations, 1838-1844, 3.59 cubic ft.
Texas Legation (U.S.) correspondence, 1835-1839, 1841, 1843-1845, undated, bulk 1836-1839, 4.75 cubic ft. (272 items)
Texas Governor Hardin Richard Runnels records, 1857-1859, 1.41 cubic ft.
Texas Governor Sam Houston records, 1824-1862, bulk 1859-1861, 2.35 cubic ft.
Texas Governor Richard Bennett Hubbard records, 1870-1878, bulk 1877-1878, 3.06 cubic ft.
Texas Governor John Ireland records, 1879-1887, bulk 1883-1887, 0.47 cubic ft.
Texas State Archives: Manuscript Collections
Memucan Hunt papers, 1836-1846, undated, bulk 1837-1846, 0.21 cubic ft.
Andrew Jackson Houston Collection, 1812-1941, undated, bulk 1835-1859, 31.41 cubic ft. [Note: An online inventory with a link to a searchable database will soon be available.]
Mirabeau B. Lamar papers, 1733-1941, undated, bulk 1821-1859, approx. 36.5 cubic ft. [see published calendar]
George W. Smyth papers, 1833-1865, undated, 2 linear inches [There is no finding aid for this unprocessed collection. Call number is 2-23/995.]
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
George Washington Smyth papers, 1819-1892, 3 ft., 1 in.
Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas
Memucan Hunt papers, 1831-1874

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Secretary of State boundary records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1905/003 and unknown

These records were transferred to the Texas Department of Insurance, Statistics, and History (a predecessor of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) by the Texas Secretary of State on May 25, 1906. The provenance of the financial records is uncertain; they may have been transferred to the Texas State Library and Historical Commission by the Comptroller of Public Accounts on December 19, 1914.

Processing Information

Processed by State Archives staff, dates unknown

Records surveyed and described by Carolyn Majewski, January 1982, August 1982

Finding aid encoded by Tony Black in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project, June 2010

Additional boundary records included, with corrections by Tony Black, October 2010

Authority name and other changes by Tony Black, February 2011.

Additions to related material by Tony Black, August 2013.

Appraisal Information

Texas State Archives staff completed an appraisal of the Texas Secretary of State holdings already in the custody of the Texas State Archives in December 1998. Fifty-seven series of these holdings were determined to be archival, including records relating to the Joint United States/Republic of Texas Boundary Commission. The complete appraisal report (in two parts: Republic of Texas records, and non-Republic records) is available for consultation online at http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosrepublic.html and http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosstate.html, and also in the search room of the Texas State Archives.


Detailed Description of the Records

 

Secretary of State boundary records, 1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, undated
1.5 cubic ft.

Box
2-9/25 Department of State records relating to the Joint United States/Republic of Texas Boundary Commission, 1837-1843,
0.75 cubic ft.
Boundary papers, undated, 1837-1839
Oversize Folder
Box 22 15. Boundary papers, 1838
Box
2-9/25 Boundary papers, 1840
Oversize Folder
Box 22 15. Boundary papers, 1840
Box
2-9/25 Journal, May 18, 1840-April 25, 1841
Boundary papers, 1841-1843
Box
2-9/26 Correspondence of Texas Boundary Commissioners, and extracts of journal, June 7, 1839-November 4, 1841
[1 volume]
Oversize Folder
Box 24 13. Boundary papers
15. Boundary papers
[Unlike the items in Oversize Box 2, Folder 15, the items in these two oversize folders did not have corresponding sheets marking documents removed from Box 2-9/25.]
Box
2-13/270 Map, undated, about 1840
Vouchers, 1839
Vouchers, 1840
[3 folders]
Vouchers, 1841
[2 folders]
Vouchers, 1842
Secretary of State boundary records, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, undated
0.75 cubic ft.
Box
2-13/270 Correspondence, 1859
Correspondence, 1860
Correspondence, 1873
Field notes, 1874
Correspondence, 1876
Correspondence, 1877
Correspondence, 1882
Correspondence, 1885
Correspondence, 1886
Correspondence, 1911
Correspondence, undated
Vouchers, 1858
[2 folders]
Box
2-13/271 Vouchers, 1859
[6 folders]
Vouchers, 1860
[3 folders]
Vouchers, 1887
Vouchers, undated