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Descriptive Summary

Historical Note

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Inventory

University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Smith (Alexander W.) Letter, 1857



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Smith, Alexander W.
Title: Alexander W. Smith Letter
Dates: 1857
Abstract: Alexander W. Smith served under Edward Fitzgerald Beale as the wagon master during an expedition to survey for a wagon road from Fort Defiance, New Mexico, through Arizona and Texas to the Colorado River.
Accession No.: 2005-027
Extent: 1 item
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

Alexander W. Smith served under Edward Fitzgerald Beale as the wagon master during an expedition to survey a wagon road from Fort Defiance, New Mexico, through Arizona and Texas to the Colorado River. The former wagon master Gwinn Harris Heap resigned after an argument with Beale, and Smith was promoted to the position. The expedition included twenty-five camels with Arab and Turkish handlers to test their usefulness during cattle drives. The trail, now known as the Beale Wagon-Road, became a main route for settlers moving west and later part of Route 66.

Sources:

"Camels."Handbook of Texas OnlineAccessed January 28, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/quc01.html

Olsen, Russell A.The Complete Route 66: Lost and Found.Voyageur Press, 2008. Accessed January 28, 2011.http://books.google.com/books?id=fOOEXzXkZNMC&lpg=PA2&pg=PA2#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Scope and Contents

The Alexander W. Smith Letter, 1857, from Smith to James Andrews, dated Ft. Tejon, December 1, 1857, summarizes the expedition until its end at Fort Tejon on November 22. Smith writes about the health of the company (“all well without any one having required even a dose of medicine”), the dangers of traveling through “hostile Indian country,” and the agricultural landscape and economy of Texas. The letter also contains a description of New Mexico’s population, agriculture, and climate. Smith closes the letter with an anecdote about Beale’s encounter with 500 Native American warriors in Colorado.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Andrews, James
Beale, Edward Fitzgerald, 1822-1893
Smith, Alexander W.
Subjects
Beale Road -- History
Cattle -- Texas -- History -- 19th century
Indians of North America -- West (U.S.)
Places
Albuquerque (N.M.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Colorado -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
El Paso (Tex.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Fort Defiance (Ariz.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Fort Tejon (Cali) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Texas -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Southwest, New -- Description and travel
United States -- Discovery and exploration
West (U.S.) -- Description and travel

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Alexander W. Smith Letter, 1857, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

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Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory

Folder
2J24 Smith, Alexander W. Letter, 1857

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