A Guide to the James B. Miller Letters, 1844
Early Texas physician and public official James B. Miller (ca. 1801-1854) came to Texas in 1829, settling at San Felipe, and practiced medicine with Dr. Robert Peebles. Along with his medical practice, Miller represented the Fort Bend area at the Convention of 1833 and served as a member of the legislature of Coahuila and Texas in 1834 and as the political chief of the Department of the Brazos from 1834 to 1835. He resigned his position in July 1835, claiming ill health. However, in reality he was unwilling to issue arrest warrants for William B. Travis and Robert M. Williamson. Initially a proponent of the peace party, Miller served under Stephen F. Austin in October 1835 and aided in the organization of the Texas Army. After independence, he served as a senator of the Republic of Texas from 1840 to 1841, as Sam Houston’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1843, chief justice of Fort Bend County, and as a delegate to the Convention of 1845. He ran for governor of Texas in 1845 and 1847, losing both times. Miller died in 1854.
In 1842, Texans conducted a raid into Mexico following the Mexican Incursions of 1842. This raid, known as the Mier Expedition, ended in disaster when Mexican forces captured the force after a skirmish. While serving as Secretary of the Treasury, Miller wrote to Charles Elliot, the British minister at Galveston, seeking British documents for Reuben Potter. Due to the British documents, Potter traveled to Mexico safely carrying money to secure the release of the Mier prisoners. Santa Anna released the last of the prisoners on September 16, 1844.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Miller, James B.,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/fmi15.html (accessed August 17, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Mier Expedition,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/qym2.html (accessed August 17, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Potter, Reuben Marmaduke,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/fpo30.html (accessed August 17, 2010).
The James B. Miller Letter, 1844, consists of one letter written by Dr. James B. Miller to Charles Elliot, the British minister stationed in Texas. Miller wrote the letter on June 10, 1844, to obtain British papers for Reuben Potter, who the Texas Congress charged with carrying money to Mexico for the relief of the Mier Expedition prisoners.
The collection is open for research use.
James B. Miller Letter, 1844, 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