A Guide to the John Crittenden Duval Papers, 1879-1885, 1921-1937
Soldier, surveyor, and writer John Crittenden "Texas John" Duval (1816-1891) was born to William Pope and Nancy (Hynes) Duval in Bardstown, Kentucky. The family moved to Tallahassee, Florida Territory, in 1821, and ten years later, Duval returned to Bardstown to study at St. Joseph College. In 1835, he joined his brother Burr H. Duval’s company to fight in the Texas Revolution. The next year, Burr died in the Goliad Massacre, but John Duval escaped and soon after entered the University of Virginia to study engineering. In the 1840s, he returned to Texas as a surveyor and in 1845 joined Jack Hays’ company of Texas Rangers, serving alongside William "Bigfoot" Wallace. Duval also served in the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of captain during the Civil War.
Following the war, Duval wrote about his experiences and published Early Times in Texas (1892), which first appeared as a serial in Burke’s Weekly of Macon, Georgia, in 1867. The sequel, The Young Explorers, was published in the 1890s as a quasi-fictional book for young boys. In 1870, Duval wrote The Adventures of Bigfoot Wallace: the Texas Ranger and Hunter, which resulted from numerous discussions between the two friends.
Dobie, J. Frank. "Duval, John Crittenden."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 18, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdu33.
Composed of correspondence, literary works, and a diary, the John Crittenden Duval Papers, 1879-1885, 1921-1937, primarily concern the writing career of Duval. Two bound typescripts contain poems and stories written by Duval about his early experiences in Texas. The transcript also consists of his nephew Burr G. Duval’s diary of a geological expedition to West Texas from 1879 to 1880 and an 1882 trip with prefatory correspondence between Burr’s daughter Kate Duval Pitts and J. Frank Dobie. Furthermore, the collection includes a typescript of an 1885 letter Duval wrote to his sister-in-law Laura P. DuVal and original correspondence, 1921-1937, between Gammel's Book Store and the J. W. Burke Publishing Company, discussing the alteration of the publication date on the title page of Duval's The Adventures of Bigfoot Wallace.
This collection is open for research use.
John Crittenden Duval Papers, 1879-1885, 1921-1937, 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