A Guide to the James Harper Starr Papers, 1796-1905
James Harper Starr (1809-1890) was a banker, physician, land agent, public official, and railroad official. Starr, a practicing doctor, moved to the Nacogdoches area from Georgia in January 1837 and was selected by Sam Houston as president of the board of commissioners and receiver of land dues for Nacogdoches County. In 1839, President Mirabeau Lamar chose Starr to be secretary of the Treasury. Due to financial reasons, Starr resigned from the Treasury in 1840 and became a land agent for those who exchanged land for Republic of Texas debts. Additionally, he formed a land agency with Nathaniel C. Amory from 1844 until 1858, when Amory retired. An advocate for education, Starr also served as a member of the board of trustees of Nacogdoches College. In 1860, Starr opposed secession, but supported the Confederate state government anyway, like many other Texans. He held several public offices in the Confederacy, including assistant postmaster general of the Trans-Mississippi Department (1863-1865). His political and public career ended with the Civil War in 1865. In 1868, Starr and his son started a land and banking agency, one of the first banks in Texas. He retired to his home in Marshall in 1873. Following his retirement, Starr was offered an appointment as a regent of the University of Texas, but refused the offer due to his declining health. James Harper Starr died in Marshall on July 25, 1890.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “James Harper Starr,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/SS/fst22.html (accessed May 19, 2010).
Letters, letterpresses, diaries, memoranda books, legal and business papers, land books, financial papers, expense account books, military papers, commissions and appointments, and autobiographical sketches comprise the James Harper Starr Papers, which concern the career and family of James Harper Starr during the period 1796-1905. The papers relate to Starr’s activities as secretary of the treasury of the Republic of Texas (1839-1840), president of the Nacogdoches Board of Land Commissioners (1837-1839), assistant postmaster general of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate States of America (1863-1865), and as a land agent and banker.
The papers of Starr’s various banking and real estate agencies document the development of Texas, primarily Nacogdoches County. The collection contains correspondence concerning Texas politics and land development from Thomas Jefferson Rusk and Albert Sidney Johnston. Additionally, Harper’s correspondence relates to the development of railroads in Texas. The papers include Starr’s diaries of trips to Brazos, Galveston, and Wood County (Texas); Ohio; and New Orleans, as well as Starr’s autobiography and John N. Cravens' biography of James Harper Starr.
The collection is open for research use.
James Harper Starr Papers, 1796-1905, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection contains unprocessed additions,
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Decription of the Papers