A Guide to the George Bernard Erath Family Papers, 1829-1967
George Bernard Erath (1813-1891), surveyor, solider, and legislator, was born and educated in Vienna, Austria. He moved to America upon his graduation from Vienna Polytechnic Institute, landing first in New Orleans, and then settling in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1832. The following year, however, he moved again to the Republic of Texas to be a surveyor in Robertson’s colony. In 1835 he signed up for John H. Moore’s ranger company, campaigning against the Indians, and in 1836 volunteered for service in the Texas Revolution in Company C of Colonel Edward Burleson’s First Regiment, Texan Volunteers. Following the Revolution, Erath continued his career as a soldier while also surveying until 1843, when he became a member of the House of Representatives of the Eighth and Ninth congresses of the republic (1843-1845).
A supporter of Texas annexation to the United States, Erath was elected to the State’s First Legislature. In 1846 he resumed his career as a surveyor, planning the towns of both Waco and Stephenville. He then was elected to the Senate of the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Legislatures (1857-1861). He resigned in 1861 to serve on a two-person committee dedicated to the resolution of issues between Texas and its reservation Indians.
In 1864, Governor Pendleton Murrah appointed Erath major of a regiment in the Second Frontier District, which held responsibility for the defense of the Texas frontier. Ten years later Erath made one final descent into political life, representing the Nineteenth District in the Fourteenth Legislature of the Senate.
Erath married Lucinda Chambers in 1845, and they had one daughter, Lucy, to whom he dictated his memoirs in 1886. He died in 1891, and the Texas State Historical Association published his memoirs in 1923. Erath County, Texas, is named for him.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Erath, George Bernard," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/EE/fer1.html (accessed July 8, 2010).
The George Bernard Erath Family Papers, 1829-1967, include correspondence, legal papers, land grants, account books, newspaper clippings, photographs, military orders, notes, financial records, and literary productions pertaining to the careers of George Bernard Erath (1813-1891) and his daughter Lucy A. Erath (1857-1948). Additionally, the papers include the manuscript and typescript of Erath's memoirs concerning his immigration to Texas, his participation in the Revolution, his surveying activities during the Republic period, and his service in the Texas Legislature.
George Bernard Erath Family Papers, 1829-1967, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Jeanne Willson, November 1980. Subsequent revisions were made by Claire Maxwell, November 1985.
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 Description of the Papers