A Guide to the Peter Gallagher Diary, 1841-1842
Stonemason, merchant, and ranger, Peter Gallagher (1812-1878), immigrated to New Orleans, Louisiana, from Ireland in 1829. In 1837, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he worked as a stonemason until 1841. That year he joined the Texan Santa Fé Expedition, which Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar launched to establish a trade route with Santa Fé and to join New Mexico with the Republic of Texas.
A party of 321 merchants and military soldiers embarked from Kenney’s Fort, Texas, on June 19, 1841. Several problems hindered the progress of the expedition: following the wrong river, desertion of their guide, harassment by American Indians, and inadequate food and water supplies. After the return of a guide in August, the party reached the Caprock of the Llano Estacado, bordering New Mexico and Texas, where they separated the military companies to find a route through the high plains. A guide was sent to the people left behind, but once they reached New Mexico, an army awaited them. Forced to surrender, the party marched to Mexico City, where they were imprisoned until April 1842.
After his release from prison, Gallagher joined the Texas Rangers. In 1846, he entered the mercantile business in San Antonio before investing in real estate and business in Mexico. From 1861 to 1864, he served as county judge of Bexar County, and later Gallagher developed land in the Fort Stockton area.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Gallagher, Peter,” http://www.tshaonline.org /handbook/online/articles/GG/fga8.html (accessed July 9, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Texan Santa Fé Expedition,” http://www.tshaonline.org /handbook/online/articles/TT/qyt3.html (accessed July 9, 2010).
The Peter Gallagher Diary, 1841-1842, contains a transcript of his diary kept during the Texan Santa Fé Expedition. The diary describes the expedition party’s capture, imprisonment, and forced march to Mexico and discusses the weather, sickness and death, camp locations, food supplies, and activities engaged in during the march.
This collection is open for research use.
Peter Gallagher Diary, 1841-1842, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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