A Guide to the John Grant Tod Papers, 1833-1872
John Grant Tod (1808–1877) was a naval officer and one of the founders of the first railroad in Texas. Born in Kentucky, he left home at age seventeen and joined the Mexican navy in New Orleans. He served as a midshipman in the United States Navy, in the Caribbean, 1830-1833, and was discharged in 1836 due to a fever. In 1837 he arrived in Texas, became a customs inspector for Velasco, and became a naval inspector one year later. He served as a purchasing agent for the Texas Navy, 1838-1840, and played a prominent role in the creation of what was deemed at the time the "second navy." Tod became a navy commander in 1839 and took command of the Galveston naval station in 1840. Additionally, during that year he served as acting secretary of the navy, a position he held until 1842, when he resigned to lobby for U.S. annexation in Washington, D. C. He carried the notification of annexation back to Texas in 1845.
Tod returned to military duty in the Mexican War, serving in the U.S. Navy as well as representing the U.S. quartermaster general at the Brazos Santiago Depot and at New Orleans. He supervised the effort to bring old Texas Navy ships back for use in the U.S. Navy. In 1847 Tod once more resigned from duty to start a railroad line in Mexico, but returned to the U.S. two years later. By 1852, Tod, Sidney Sherman, and others had founded the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway. Tod was appointed the Texas delegate to the London Industrial Exhibition in 1851. By 1857 Tod was a superintendent and supervisor of work on the Guadalupe and Colorado rivers. Additionally, he worked for the federal government, supervising the construction of the Galveston customhouse and post office, and led several other business ventures in Galveston County. His Dickinson Packery, which operated throughout the Civil War, went bankrupt by 1871.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Tod, John Grant," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/fto5.html (accessed August 2, 2010).
The John Grant Tod Papers, 1833-1872, include letters, a diary, legal documents, and a broadside concerning Tod’s career as an officer in the Texas Navy and the U.S. Navy, as a land buyer, and as a founder of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railroad. Additionally, the papers pertain to Tod’s associations with the U.S. Customs House at Galveston, the annexation of Texas, and his appointment as a naval officer. The collection contains correspondence between Tod and Mary Austin Holley, author, teacher, and supporter of Texas annexation. Other correspondence, between Tod and Sidney Sherman, Jonathan Barrett, and John Angier, pertains to the building of railroads in Texas. The diary relates to U.S. annexation.
The collection is open for research.
John Grant Tod Papers, 1833-1872, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Winnie Allen, February 1945 and October 1953. Subsequent revisions were made by Walter H. Richter, January 1967.
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