Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Gunter, Munson and Steedman Letters:

An Inventory of the Gunter, Munson and Steedman Letters at the Texas State Archives, 1872-1899



Overview

Creator: Gunter, Jonathan (Jot), 1845-1907.
Title: Gunter, Munson and Steedman letters
Dates: 1872-1899
Abstract: The Gunter, Munson and Steedman letters, dating 1872-1899, represent two Texas real estate development partnerships that existed during that era: Gunter and Munson, and Steedman and Gunter. Jonathan "Jot" Gunter and William Munson Sr., along with their surveying partner John S. Summerfield, owned and operated the GMS Ranch in the Texas Panhandle, later to become the T Anchor Ranch, influential for being the first in that area to use barbed-wire fencing. The letters document numerous land transactions through the process of creating and buying land patents, land certificates and land deeds and provide information about the cattle trade in Texas as well as insights into land surveying parties, American Indian relations in the Panhandle and the trade of commodities.
Quantity: 5.75 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Biographical Sketch: Jonathan "Jot" Gunter

Jonathan "Jot" Gunter (1845-1907) was a lawyer, land dealer, businessman and rancher. Born in 1845 on a farm in North Carolina, he moved with his family to Georgia and then to Upshur County, Texas in about 1860. He enlisted in the Confederate army when the Civil War broke out in 1861. His company guarded the Texas frontier and would later reinforce Dick Dowling's troops at the battle of Sabine Pass. When the Civil War ended he returned home to work on the family farm. After saving money for two years he returned to school at Gilmer, Texas to study law under Judge Oran M. Roberts, who was later to become governor of the state. In 1869, he married Roxana Ford, the daughter of a prominent doctor in Gilmer. Gunter passed the bar and practiced criminal law for three years. He began his partnership with William B. Munson Sr. in 1873, acting as land surveyors and real estate developers, with John S. Summerfield joining them in 1876. The men purchased and surveyed large tracts of land in Texas that would include the town site of Denison and the T Anchor Ranch (originally the GMS Ranch, named for Gunter, Munson and Summerfield) in Randall County. They also held a contract with the State of Texas to survey the Panhandle; in return the partnership would receive the deed to every third section (640 acres) of land. As they bought land and received land from contracts, they sought out ranchers, railroad companies and others interested in purchasing land to develop. Gunter and Munson maintained their partnership until 1883, after creating a reputation for themselves across the country and especially in Texas. Gunter went on to start a new business venture in the cattle industry by running the T Anchor Ranch, where he maintained over 3,600 head of cattle. He served in the Texas Volunteer Guard, rising to the rank of colonel before retiring in 1888; he was known as Colonel Gunter for the rest of his life. That same year he moved to Dallas and dealt in real estate until an economic downturn in 1893. Two years later, Gunter and his family moved to Sherman, where his wife worked as a music teacher. In 1898, Gunter donated land for a new town in Grayson County that would be named for him; the town expanded in 1902 when the St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway laid tracks in the area. He moved his real estate business to San Antonio in 1901 and helped finance the Gunter Hotel and Gunter Office Building in that city. A month after becoming ill at his Grayson County ranch, he died in San Antonio on July 19, 1907 and is buried in City Cemetery No. 6. On the day of his funeral, the flag on the state Capitol building was lowered to half-staff by order of his personal friend Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell.

(Sources include: David Minor, "Gunter, Jot," and "Gunter, TX (Grayson County)," Handbook of Texas Online, both accessed September 17, 2015; Edward Southerland, "The Way North," Texoma Living Online, September 4, 2010, accessed March 26, 2015; "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form - Gunter Hotel," United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, October 1, 1990, accessed March 26, 2015; Lewis E. Daniell, Texas, the Country and Its Men; Historical, Biographical, Descriptive (Austin?: 1924?); William T. Hagan, Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle (University of Oklahoma Press, 2007); Charles A. Siringo, A Lone Star cowboy: being fifty years experience in the saddle as cowboy, detective and New Mexico ranger, on every cow trail in the wooly old West (Santa Fe, New Mexico: 1919); and Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Texas, December 1888 (Austin: State Printing Office, 1889).)


Biographical Sketch: William Benjamin Munson Sr.

William Benjamin Munson Sr. (1846-1930), attorney and real estate developer, was born in Fulton County, Illinois on January 7, 1846. He attended college for a year in Abington, Illinois but returned home due to financial problems. After a year of farming and teaching at a public school in Illinois, he had enough money to return to college. Munson enrolled at the University of Kentucky in 1866 and became the first graduate from its agricultural and mechanical college. In 1871, Munson moved to Sherman, Texas, where he began work as a surveyor and studied law. He passed the bar exam in 1873 and later that year began his partnership with Jot Gunter. The two were attorneys-at-law as well as real estate dealers. Another focus of their partnership was working with railroad companies to expand their businesses in Texas. Gunter and Munson worked to convince the residents of Sherman of the benefits of bringing the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (M-K-T or Katy) to their town. When the community refused to supply the financial backing necessary, Munson brought the railroad to nearby Denison, making that town the North Texas hub of the M-K-T. Over their ten years in business together, Gunter and Munson continued buying tracts of land in the area, some of which would become the T Anchor Ranch (originally the GMS Ranch, named for Gunter, Munson and John S. Summerfield, their surveying partner). In 1883 Munson and Gunter dissolved their legal relationship, with Munson keeping the Panhandle ranch properties and Gunter retaining the Grayson County holdings. Munson sold his ranch interests in 1888 and with his wife, the former Ellen Newton, returned to Denison, where he began a realty business with his brother, Thomas V. Munson. He was instrumental in founding institutions such as the Citizens State Bank, the First National Bank of Denison, the Denison Light and Power Company, the Eastern Light and Power Company and the Denison Cotton Mill. He remained professionally active until his death on February 6, 1930.

(Sources include: David Minor, "Munson, William Benjamin Sr.," and H. Allen Anderson, "T Anchor Ranch," Handbook of Texas Online; "The Way North," Texoma Living Online, September 4, 2010; and "William Benjamin Munson, Sr., " Find A Grave; all accessed March 26, 2015.)


Biographical Sketch: Seth Daniel (S.D.) Steedman

Seth Daniel (S.D.) Steedman (1840-1921), county judge and businessman, was born in Lexington County, South Carolina on July 22, 1840. Steedman enrolled at the South Carolina Military Academy and graduated in 1862. During the Civil War he served as an adjutant of the First Alabama Regiment. He was taken prisoner at the surrender of Port Hudson in 1863. Along with 160 other commissioned officers, including his brother, he would remain a prisoner of war until his release on June 28, 1865. He married Ella Heydenfeldt in 1869, though she died the next year. In December 1871, Steedman married Marie Henrietta Anna Mercier in New Orleans, Louisiana, and together they had seven children. In 1875, the family moved to Sherman, Texas and Steedman became a Grayson County judge. He became partners with Jot Gunter in the real estate business from 1872 until 1880. The Grayson County town of Steedman and its post office were named in his honor in 1880; the town's name was changed to Hagerman in 1909. In May 1921, Steedman died in Sherman and was interred in Mount Tabor Cemetery.

(Sources include: "The Story of the Wilcox True Blues," Southern-Style: A Downhome Perspective on All Things Southern; and "Marie Henrietta Anna Mercier," and "Seth Daniel Steedman," Stedman Family Organization Genealogies; all accessed March 22, 2015.)


Biographical Sketch: John S. Summerfield

John S. Summerfield (1853-1918), surveyor, for whom the town of Summerfield in Castro County, Texas is named, was born in England on October 24, 1853. After immigrating to the United States around 1874, he worked as a surveyor to run boundary lines in Kansas, Colorado and Indian Territory in 1874-1875. In 1876 Summerfield began a partnership with Jot Gunter and William B. Munson Sr., travelling to the Panhandle each year with a surveying crew in order to create land surveys and field notes for Gunter and Munson's clients. Summerfield was the owner of one-third of the GMS (Gunter, Munson, Summerfield) Ranch and supervised the ranch's barbed-wire fence building operations in the summer of 1881. That fall, Summerfield sold his interest in the ranch to Julian "Jule" Gunter, one of Jot's nephews; the ranch was renamed the T Anchor Ranch for the cattle brand that Jule Gunter had used in Indian Territory and introduced to the operation. Summerfield continued to conduct surveys for railroad companies in Deaf Smith and Castro counties until he established a real estate business in Dallas. He also performed surveying for Gunter and Munson and communicated with their clients and suppliers through the 1880s and 1890s. In 1910 he became the manager of the JA Ranch in the Panhandle and held the position for a year. Summerfield died in Dallas on May 20, 1918.

(Sources include: H. Allen Anderson, "Summerfield, John S.," Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 5, 2015.)


Biographical Sketch: Julian "Jule" Gunter

Julian "Jule" Gunter (1851-1922), businessman and cattleman, nephew of Jot Gunter and brother of Nat Gunter, bought William Munson's interest in the Gunter and Munson partnership in 1883, continuing the business with Jot as Gunter and Gunter. Jule had bought John S. Summerfield's interest in the GMS Ranch in 1881, helping to transform it into the T Anchor Ranch, renamed for the cattle brand he brought with him from his ranching operation in Indian Territory. As Nat's sole heir, Jule pursued an unpaid inheritance that Nat believed Jot Gunter meant to bestow upon him but did not make provision for in his last will. Jot's widow refused to acknowledge any debt owed by her husband's estate to Nat or Jule Gunter, though the original court's judgment in her favor was reversed by a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision. Jule Gunter died in Chickasha, Oklahoma on February 25, 1921 after having been a cattle breeder in Cooke County of that state for many years.

(Sources include: "Jule Gunter," Find a Grave; and Gunter v. Gunter, United States Circuit Courts of Appeals reports, Volume 98, 546-547 (Rochester: Lawyers' Co-operative Publishing Co., 1910); all accessed September 21, 2015.)


Biographical Sketch: Nat Gunter

Nat Gunter (1859-1908), lawyer and businessman, nephew of Jot Gunter and brother of Julian "Jule" Gunter, graduated from law school at the University of Michigan and practiced law in Sherman and later in San Antonio, Texas. He had been raised and educated by Jot and Roxana Gunter, mirroring the parental role that Nat's father, W.W. Gunter, fulfilled for his own much younger brother Jot. For at least 20 years he managed Jot Gunter's ranch in Grayson County and in 1895 held one-third interest in profits made on that land. Due to financial troubles at that time, Jot Gunter remortgaged the ranch land and, in compensation to Nat, executed a will that gave Nat a one-tenth interest in Jot's estate, though a subsequent will bequeathed his entire estate to his wife, Roxana. Jot's intention to amend that will to give Nat $50,000 was not fulfilled before his death. Roxana Gunter refused to recognize any debt owed to Nat, or to Jule Gunter, Nat's sole heir after his death, though the original court's judgment in her favor was reversed by a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision. Nat Gunter died in San Antonio on February 13, 1908 from a pulmonary illness.

(Sources include: obituaries for Nat Gunter in the San Antonio Daily Express and San Antonio Light, February 8, 1908; and Gunter v. Gunter, United States Circuit Courts of Appeals reports, Volume 98, 546-547 (Rochester: Lawyers' Co-operative Publishing Co., 1910); all accessed September 21, 2015.)


Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gunter, Munson and Steedman letters consist of typescript copies of outgoing letters sent from two late 19th century Texas real estate development partnerships: Gunter and Munson, and Steedman and Gunter. The 39 volumes of letters date from 1872 to 1899, with the majority of the letters emanating from the partnership of Jonathan "Jot" Gunter and William B. Munson Sr. Only one volume (1872-1880) documents the partnership of Seth Daniel (S.D.) Steedman and Jot Gunter.

The majority of the letters deal with the surveying of land--especially in the Panhandle--and travel arrangements for the survey parties; the purchase of land for railroad companies (such as the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado; Texas and Pacific; Columbus Tap; Tyler Tap; Memphis, El Paso and Pacific; Central; Texas Central, East Line and Red River; and Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe); the purchase of land for businesses; correspondence with Jot Gunter's brother Ben; trade negotiations for items such as sewing machines and whiskey; land disputes and lawsuits against businesses and clients; negotiations of payment, payment receipts, land and railroad patents, certificates and deeds to record holding institutions; and travel arrangements for land buyers. The materials also document the financial operations of the business, often referring to payments that were due to them or that were received. During the late 19th century, land speculation was common in Texas and the surrounding areas; these letters show how businessmen ran such an operation and illustrate some of the issues they faced.

The first series, Gunter and Munson letters sent, consists of 38 volumes of correspondence documenting the Gunter and Munson partnership of land surveying and ranch ownership during the years 1874 to 1899 in Grayson County, Texas and the state's Panhandle, where they owned and operated the GMS (Gunter, Munson, Summerfield) Ranch, later to become the T Anchor Ranch, influential for being the first in that area to use barbed-wire fencing. Though their partnership officially lasted only between 1873 and 1883, correspondence signed as "Gunter and Munson" concerning their apparent joint business holdings continues through 1899. Letters sent from mid-1883 though early 1887 were signed as Gunter and Gunter (Jule Gunter, Jot's nephew, is the second Gunter). Throughout the correspondence, land surveying, patents, grants and certificates are discussed with clients such as railroad companies, business owners and private individuals. Gunter and Munson's clients were from cities in Texas and elsewhere, including Sherman, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and St. Louis. Instances of trade negotiations concerning livestock and other goods for the T Anchor Ranch occur throughout the letters as do survey parties' relationships and disagreements with American Indians.

Although the majority of the letters written by Gunter and Munson are about the business of land sales there are also personal letters to Gunter's brother, Ben, discussing overnight travel plans, family matters and economic concerns. The majority of the letters in the last three volumes of this series are letters written by surveyor and former GMS Ranch partner John Summerfield or by Nat Gunter, Jot's nephew. Summerfield (sometimes written as Sunnenfield in the letters) writes on behalf of the T Anchor Ranch and in correspondence with Jot Gunter. Nat Gunter begins writing letters on behalf of his uncle who is away on business in the last two volumes, between 1894 to 1899. The letters written by Jot Gunter often solicit job positions or recommendation letters for Nat, whom he raised and educated. These three volumes significantly change the previous discourse in the other Gunter and Munson letters; instead of the majority of the conversation revolving around the buying and selling of land, the focus is on the buying, selling and trade of cattle for the ranch. Multiple letters are written to the Indian Livestock Company and the Continental Cattle Company, with whom Gunter did most of his cattle transactions.

The series Steedman and Gunter letters sent consists of one volume of letters, with the majority written by S.D. Steedman. The letters discuss land deeds, land certificates, land surveys and lawsuits with their real estate development clients throughout the country, from cities including Washington, D.C., Columbus, Kentucky and New Orleans, Louisiana. Along with their individual client services, Steedman and Gunter also worked with large railroad companies such as the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad, Transcontinental Railroad and Houston and Texas Central Railroad. Steedman and Gunter worked with the railroad companies and land surveyors to find the companies land in the Panhandle.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


 

Organization of the Collection

The letters are maintained as received and consist of two series, organized by partnership:
Gunter and Munson letters sent, 1874 -1899, 5.5 cubic ft.
Steedman and Gunter letters sent, 1872-1880, 0.25 cubic ft.

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

Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished manuscripts are protected at a minimum through December 31, 2002 or 70 years after the author's death. The term of copyright for published material varies. Researchers are 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.
Subjects (Persons):
Gunter, Julian (Jule), 1851-1922.
Gunter, Nat, 1859-1908.
Munson, William B., Sr., 1846-1930.
Steedman, Seth Daniel (S.D), 1840-1921.
Summerfield, John S., 1853-1918.
Subjects (Organizations):
Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railroad.
Texas and Pacific Railway.
Columbus Tap Railway.
Tyler Tap Railroad.
Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad.
Texas Central Railroad Company.
East Line and Red River Railroad.
Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad Co.
Indian Livestock Co.
Continental Land and Cattle Company.
Subjects:
Ranching--Texas.
Land grants--Texas.
Surveying-Texas.
Ranchers--Texas--History--19th century.
Places:
Grayson County (Tex.)
Sherman (Tex.)
Texas--Surveys.
Texas Panhandle (Tex.)--History--19th century.
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Land surveying--1872-1899.
Typescripts--Texas--Land surveying--1872-1899.

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
General Land Office incoming correspondence, 1837-1899, about 334.9 cubic ft.
Texas Treasury Department land payment correspondence, 1886-1889, 0.71 cubic ft.
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the University of Texas at Austin
Jot Gunter Papers, 1872-1929, 12 ft., 11 in.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Gunter, Munson and Steedman letters. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1960/004

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the University of Texas Archives, later renamed the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, in September 1960.

Processing Information

Processed by Rachel Nellis and Megan Moltrup, students at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, spring 2015

Revisions to description and coding by Rebecca Romanchuk, September 2015

Location of Originals

All of the letters were copied through the efforts of Texas historian J. Evetts Haley from the originals in possession of Mrs. Jot (Roxana) Gunter of San Antonio at the time, between 1931 and 1933.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Gunter and Munson letters sent, 1874-1899,
5.5 cubic ft.

Letters sent by the Texas land surveying and real estate development partnership of Gunter and Munson consist of 38 typescript volumes dating 1874-1899 and six separate indices of names listed in alphabetical order with page numbers; several of the volumes have an internal index or a table of contents. Land business being conducted concerned the partnership's holdings in Grayson County, Texas and its GMS Ranch (later to be renamed the T Anchor Ranch) in the state's Panhandle. Though the Gunter and Munson partnership officially lasted only between 1873 and 1883, correspondence concerning their apparent joint business holdings continues through 1899. Letters sent during 1883 to 1899 were often written by surveying partner John Summerfield (sometimes written as Sunnenfield in the letters) on behalf of Jot Gunter. The letters mainly concern the buying and selling of land with the creation of patents, certificates and deeds. The clientele of Gunter and Munson were both individuals and railroad companies, which included the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railroad; Texas and Pacific Railway Company; Columbus Tap Railway; Tyler Tap Railroad; Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad; Texas Central Railroad Company; East Line and Red River Railroad; and Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad. The letters discuss tax payments and tax receipts, how survey parties in the Panhandle interacted with American Indians and how they carried out trade negotiations for food rations, lawsuits for which Gunter and Munson served as legal council, and the business of buying, selling and trading cattle in Texas.
Arrangement
The letters are arranged chronologically within each volume, although several volumes overlap in chronology. Sets of Part I, Part II, etc. volumes are chronological from the beginning to the end of the set.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Gunter and Munson letters sent, Gunter, Munson and Steedman letters. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Box Folder
2-23/764 1 April 1874-July 1875
[An index listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the end of the volume. The letters contain discussions of land transactions and payments owed to Gunter and Munson, the surveying of land for railroad companies, the sale of land patents and certificates in the Panhandle and negotiations with land surveyors conducting surveys in the Panhandle about their rations of bacon, flour and ammunition. A list of land owned by Gunter and Munson in the Panhandle also appears.]
2 October 1875-April 1876
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume. There are multiple copies of the same letter sent to different correspondents trying to sell alternate land scrip for $150 to clients and buyers in Texas and across the country.]
3 June 1876-September 1876
[This volume contains several letters written to the Columbus Tap Railroad, Texas and Pacific Railroad, Tyler Tap Railroad, and El Paso and Pacific Railroad about land being surveyed for those companies as well as letters that refer to the survey groups' interactions with Americans Indians, both positive and negative, while surveying land in Texas.]
4 September 1876-January 1877
[This volume focuses on the buying and selling of land, especially in Clay and Denton counties, and on the creation of maps to represent the Panhandle. Some letters discuss sectionalized maps of the Panhandle and how circulation of their maps is influencing the emigration to Texas from other parts of the United States. One letter states that ten thousand copies of the Panhandle maps were created and were to be handed out with land certificates. This volume also contains letters about tax receipts, reminders and announcements and describes the three kinds of Texas land scrip.]
Box Folder
2-23/765 1 April 1877-July 1877
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume. In addition to talks of land deals, the letters document the everyday activities of the business, including sending groups of surveyors to make field notes on property, lot maps of land for sale, land valuation of property to be sold and trade arrangements (involving sewing machines and Denison gas stock). Multiple court cases are mentioned in the correspondence, including Gunter and Munson v. Jno. W. Maddox, Stockbridge v. Mabry, and United States v. JA Saddler. Other subjects include building rental approvals, bill collection and the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad.]
2 Part I - August 1877-November 1877
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume and applies to this and the next volume (Part I and II). Most letters deal with land transactions details while others are about the sending of circulars and price lists, land valuation and tax estimation and collection. Other subjects include commissions for those who worked for Gunter and Munson, letters of recommendation for employment, land recovery lawsuits and business with the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railroad.]
3 Part II - August 1877-November 1877
[See the previous Part I volume for a table of contents. Most letters deal with clients interested in buying and selling land and the details that accompany those transactions, including land descriptions, price points, surveying parties and valuation. Also discussed are land deeds sent to judges and lawyers to be filed, documentation of sent checks, deed corrections and receipts of checks and money received. Other subjects include denied trade offers, sewing machines for sale and inquires about Sherman City Gas stock.]
Box Folder
2-23/766 1 Index - November 1877-March 1878
2 Part I - November 1877-March 1878
[Most letters deal with land transaction details, including soil descriptions, land prices and receipts of payment. Also included are letters about commissions being offered to those bringing customers to Gunter and Munson, making corrections to field notes, resources such as timber having the effect of increasing land value, eviction notices to rental tenants, and business with the Tyler Tap Railroad.]
3 Part II - November 1877-March 1878
[Most letters concern the buying and selling of property, including advising clients to buy specific land certificates, sending deeds to clients, circulating land plot price lists and requesting records to prove chain of title. Also included are letters about payment of land taxes, valuation of land and its resources, payments received for sold sewing machines, declined trade offers, land certificates issued by Mexico available for purchase or trade and conversations about selling Denison City Gas Works.]
4 March-June 1878
[An index listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the end of the volume. Most letters concern the buying and selling of land, including declined trade offers for land in St. Louis, Tule Ranch and Quita Qua Ranch available for sale and introduction of potential buyers to sellers. Another major subject is the growing attraction of the Panhandle as well as the need for railroad development. Other subjects include employment letters of recommendation, inventory and storage arrangements for sewing machines and renting Denison City Gas Works.]
Box Folder
2-23/767 1 Index - January-November 1878
2 Part I - June-November 1878
[Letters describe land transactions between Gunter and Munson and the Tyler Tap Railroad, the Gulf Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad and the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Several letters focus on the sale of prairie land and the low demand for it. Other subjects include inquiries into farm rentals, taking depositions and surveying Panhandle land.]
3 Part II - June-November 1878
[Letters focus on the buying and selling of prairie lands in Texas and the sending of receipts for land loans and rent due to Gunter and Munson. Yellow fever is discussed in multiple letters as Gunter and Munson blame their lack of business in Texas and the West on the illness. One letter includes Gunter and Munson's business rationale of the benefit to be gained by cattlemen and the state if the Texas legislature were to pass a law authorizing the leasing of state-owned sections of land for two cents an acre per year.]
4 Index - November 1878-April 1879
5 Part I - November 1878-April 1879
[Letters focus on the buying and selling of prairie land in Texas and the sending of receipts for rent and bills due to Gunter and Munson, especially in Castro County. Many references are made to securing land survey patents. Near the end of the volume is a list of land that had been sold by Gunter and Munson.]
Box Folder
2-23/768 1 Part II - November 1878-April 1879
[Letters focus on the buying and selling of land, including amount due on properties sold, corrections made to land patents, inquiries about bills introduced into the legislature concerning the sale or lease of land, instructions on how to sell Texas land to inhabitants of Norway, description of soils sent along with samples and land certificates issued to the East Line Railroad and the Red River Railroad.]
2 Part III - November 1878-April 1879
[Letters discuss land surveying, rejection of work done by a rogue surveyor in the Panhandle, deeds and patents ready for the 8,000 acres surveyed the previous summer, a request for authorized surveyors to work in various Texas counties, a drop in land prices that would occur when the legislature authorizes a contract to survey 23 million acres of land in the public domain, inquiries into heirs of land wanted for purchase, rent received for properties owned by Gunter and Munson and inquiries of county tax rates.]
3 Index - April-August 1879
4 Part I - April-August 1879
[Letters concern land certificates and land patents being sent to clients, receipts for money received and notices of overdue payments, in addition to letters discussing taking a client's case with a contingent fee of half the land, inquiries into land valuation, introduction of acquaintances to enable them to do business together and the prospect of railroad development in the Panhandle.]
5 Part II - April-August 1879
[Letters are in regard to sent field notes, land patents, land certificates to clients, the sale of ranches, plans for the Hall Building and Munson's Building, types of lumber for new buildings, and a request for a copy of the law passed by the legislature for the surveying of 3,056,000 acres of land for the purpose of funding the building of the state Capitol.]
Box Folder
2-23/769 1 Part I - August-December 1879
[Letters are in regard to sent field notes, land patents, land certificates to clients, Jot Gunter's business trip to Dodge City, lumber orders and conflicts with previously patented land.]
2 Part II - August-December 1879
[An index listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the end of the volume. Letters deal mainly with cattle and ranches, including discussion of 100 head of cattle bought by Jot Gunter and his intent to start a ranch with Munson in the spring, and communicating to clients that most of the land available in the Panhandle are ranches 5,000-50,000 acres in size which Gunter and Munson do not want to divide into smaller parcels.]
3 Index - December 1879-June 1880
4 Part I - December 1879-June 1880
[Letters are in regard to land certificates and land patents being sent to clients, receipts for money received, responses to clients inquiries, requests for information on back taxes owed and field notes received from surveyors, Summerfield's arrest for making false field notes and the eviction of tenants leasing part of the post office building.]
5 Part II - December 1879-June 1880
[Letters are in regard to land certificates and land patents being sent to clients, receipts for money received, notices of overdue payments, and letters discussing cattle, different breeds, pricing and offers to purchase.]
Box Folder
2-23/770 1 June-December 1880
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume. Letters focus on Gunter and Munson's cattle and land businesses, including lost livestock such as cattle and ponies and requests for assistance in locating and returning the animals, offers and counter-offers for cattle the partners were interested in purchasing. Other letters ask clients about bills that are past due, request to borrow money due to low capital, and the partnership's inability to pay its own bills. Letters with political themes are to Hon. Jno. D. Templeton offering him assistance to become assistant attorney general, and to Elsworth Torry, Esq. asking him to use his influence to get a district judge elected.]
2 April-October 1881
[Letters focus on land certificates and land patents being sent to clients, corrections made to field notes and notices of taxes due. Many letters were written to clients about past due bills since the partnership was in need of money. A letter written by Jot Gunter inquires how to establish his rights in the Cherokee nation since he had relations living there.]
3 Index - October 1881-February 1882
4 Part I - October 1881-February 1882
[Letters focus on the cattle business, especially the creation of cattle contracts with clients, and also land deeds, certificates and the buying and selling of land in the Panhandle. A short letter from Gunter states that their surveyor, Charles (Chas) Mabry was arrested for murder, and a subsequent letter from Gunter details his involvement as legal counsel in the case against Mabry.]
5 Part II - October 1881-February 1882
[Letters focus on tax payments for 1880 and 1881, including multiple reminders sent to clients about paying their taxes on time as well as asking for statements of taxes from their clients. Other letters concern field notes, land deeds and the buying and selling of land.]
Box Folder
2-23/772 1 February 1882-July 1884
[Letters focus on the cattle business, including offers to purchase cattle, statements of cattle received, beef market prices and notices about not needing to purchase more livestock. A letter written by Gunter and Munson offer to sell their ranch in Randall and Deaf Smith counties for $750,000. Months later, a letter from Munson states that he will sell the same ranch for $450,000.]
2 Part I - February 1882-July 1882
[Letters are in regard to sent field notes, land patents, land certificates, receipts of purchase to clients, and cattle, including different breeds, pricing and offers to purchase.]
3 Part II - February 1882-July 1882
[Letters are in regard to sent field notes, land patents, land certificates to clients and cattle, including different breeds, pricing and offers to purchase. Several letters discuss the state senator election.]
Box Folder
2-23/773 1 Part I - July 1882-January 1883
[Letters are in regard to sent field notes, land patents, land certificates to clients and statements of land transactions for clients and Gunter and Munson.]
2 Part II - July 1882-January 1883
[Letters focus on field notes and the descriptions of land that Gunter and Munson are interested in buying and selling, including multiple inquiries into land prices from Gunter and Munson to the land sellers. Other letters regard their ranch business and the buying, selling and trade of cattle and horses for the ranch. There is a great emphasis on taxes due for the year 1882, with multiple lists of land and inquiries into the amount of taxes due for each piece of land.]
3 Part I - February-July 1883
[Letters focus on field notes and land surveys being sent to clients, receipts for taxes from 1882, letters about checks being sent to clients for taxes and the buying and selling of cattle. Letters from land surveyor W.S. Mabry correct errors in previous field notes about the varas (one vara equals 33 inches) of land being surveyed. A letter discusses a cowboy strike in the Panhandle for increased wages of fifty dollars a month; concerned that the cowboys will become violent and attack their ranch men, Gunter and Munson plan to seek the governor's intervention to help protect their land.]
Box Folder
2-23/774 1 Part II - February-July 1883
[Letters are in regard to land surveys, land patents, and land deeds being sent to clients; notices for overdue tax payments from 1882 and reminders to clients to pay their 1883 taxes; and the buying, selling and pricing of cattle. One letter discusses the end of the cowboy strike and the uncertainty about whether Gunter and Munson's land had been destroyed.]
2 July 1883-April 1886
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume. Letters are in regard to land deeds, land patents and tax receipts, including a 46-page tax receipt for Gunter and Munson. This volume also includes lists of survey and land patents sent to clients and monthly trial balances of assets and liabilities for the partnership for the period August 1883 to November 1884.]
3 July 1883-January 1887
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume. Near the beginning of the volume is a letter explaining the dissolution of the firm of Gunter and Munson after nearly twelve years in business; subsequent letters in this volume only are signed by Gunter and Gunter (Jule Gunter, Jot's nephew, is the second Gunter). The majority of the letters concern Gunter's ranch business and include letters written to and by John Summerfield. Topics include the buying, selling, shipment and branding of cattle; relationships with American Indians at the ranch; and certificates of inspection of cattle that indicate weight and price correlation. Trial balances of the partnership's assets and liabilities from July 1883 to November 1884 are listed.]
Box Folder
2-23/775 1 January 1890-1894
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the front of the volume. Most correspondence is signed as Gunter and Munson in this and all later volumes of the series, reflecting continuing business concerning the two men's jointly held interests, although their partnership had been officially dissolved in 1883. Letters mainly concern land surveys, land deeds and the selling of land, including letters to Continental Cattle Company about receipts and land patents, payment reminders to clients, a tax report and a reference to a lawsuit against Haneford Land and Cattle Company for the pasturage of Gunter's land.]
2 November 1892-October 1893
[A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the end of the volume. Letters mainly concern land surveys, land deeds and the selling of land and include receipts for various transactions made by Gunter's business, payment receipts to Indian Livestock Company, shipping inventories of lumber, discussion of buying and selling horses for the ranch and multiple references to the town of Tioga, Texas. Multiple letters are written by John Summerfield on behalf of or to Jot Gunter. Several letters are signed as Gunter and Wellesley, referring to C.E. Wellesley, manager of the Texas Land and Mortgage Company of Dallas. There are several recommendation letters for Gunter's nephew Nat Gunter, whose signature appears on letters for Gunter's business beginning in September 1893.]
3 January 1894-May 1899
[While some letters are signed by Gunter and Munson, Summerfield writes the majority of the letters, whose main subjects are land patents, land deeds, land surveys, tax receipts, balance reports and business with the Continental Cattle Company.]
4 June-October 1894
[Summerfield writes the majority of the letters, among them tax receipts, lumber bills, a list of property in Kansas City, Missouri, and references to Tioga, Texas. Several letters are signed as Gunter and Wellesley, referring to C.E. Wellesley, manager of the Texas Land and Mortgage Company of Dallas.]



 

Steedman and Gunter letters sent, 1872-1880,
0.25 cubic ft.

Letters written by the Texas real estate development partnership of Steedman and Gunter date from 1872 to 1880 and discuss land deeds, patents, certificates, land surveys, field notes and lawsuits. S.D. Steedman and Jonathan "Jot" Gunter conducted their partnership concurrently with Gunter's other real estate business partnerships, most notably Gunter and Munson. Letters discuss land deeds, land patents, land certificates and land surveying and were sent to clients in Texas and throughout the nation, including such major cities as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Correspondence with railroad companies (Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad; Transcontinental Railroad; and Houston and Texas Central Railroad) discusses the sale of land for railroad expansion. A table of contents listing correspondents alphabetically by last name appears at the end of the volume.
Arrangement
The letters are arranged chronologically within a bound volume.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Steedman and Gunter letters sent, Gunter, Munson and Steedman letters. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Box Folder
2-23/776 1 June 1872-April 1880