A Guide to the Henry Smith Papers, 1834-1879
Henry Smith (1788-1851), the first governor of Texas, was born in Kentucky and moved to Brazoria County, Texas, in 1827. He was severely wounded in the battle of Velasco, 1832. In 1833 Smith was elected magistrate of Brazoria and appointed a delegate to the Convention of 1833. The governor of Coahuila and Texas designated him political chief of the department of the Brazos in 1834. An avid force for Texas independence, Smith served on the Columbia committee of safety and correspondence and was a delegate to the Consultation, 1835. Later that same year he was elected first governor of Texas, but due to various conflicts, the council impeached him in 1836. His break from politics was short-lived, as he was on the ballot for the presidency in 1836, though he supported Sam Houston in the election. Smith served as secretary of the treasury during Houston’s presidency. From the 1830s to 1840 Smith worked as a land developer along the Gulf Coast near Aransas Bay. He then served in the House of Representatives, 1840, where he was known for his work as chairman of the committee on finance. After his one term in Congress, Smith retired, and in 1849 traveled to California to pan for gold. He died at a mining camp near Los Angeles in 1851.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Smith, Henry," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/SS/fsm23.html (accessed July 28, 2010).
The Henry Smith Papers, 1834-1879, include correspondence, deeds, land grants, land surveys, powers-of-attorney, certificates, petitions, summons, depositions, receipts of sale, receipts of taxes, a bill, a suit, and photographs. The papers relate to Smith’s career as a land agent, including the sale, issuance, purchase, and settlement of claims as well as the surveying of Texas lands. Additionally, the collection pertains to the financial affairs of the Republic of Texas and to court proceedings of a complaint by Smith against James Power, his one-time land development partner.
The papers also include a woodcut engraving and halftone reproduction of a lithograph of Smith, as well as a transcript of "Stormy Days of 1836," by Smith, a reminiscence of the events leading to Texas Independence, 1835-1836.
The collection is open for research.
Henry Smith Papers, 1834-1879, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Subsequent revisions were made by Larry Cook, July 1983 and Lawrence A. Landis, October 1990.
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