A Guide to the Cayton Erhard Papers, 1813-1899, 1953
Born to Ludwig and Laura Erhard in Munich, Bavaria, Cayton Erhard (1822-1884) immigrated to Bastrop, Texas with his family, in 1839. Orphaned a year later, Erhard and his younger brother were adopted by local merchant James Nicholson. In 1841, he answered President Mirabeau B. Lamar’s call for volunteers to secure the Santa Fe territory for the Republic of Texas. On the expedition, Erhard was captured and spent the next two years as a Mexican Prisoner, then rejoining the Nicholsons in Bastrop. In 1847, Erhard moved to San Marcos where he was instrumental in organizing the Hays County government and served as the first county clerk and postmaster. The same year, Erhard opened the first drugstore in Texas.
In 1851, Erhard married Harriet Smith, and the couple had nine children, only three of whom survived to adulthood. Smith’s grandfather Allen C. Reynolds (1786-1837), a native New Yorker and lawyer, arrived in Galveston by ship in 1826, becoming one of the first settlers of Texas and a friend of Stephen F. Austin.
A solid Democrat until the 1861 secession of Texas, Erhard grew discontent with his party as business conditions and public order deteriorated. After his business began to flounder during the Civil War, Erhard moved the store and his family to Bastrop. In 1872, Erhard was appointed judge in municipal elections for Bastrop, a position of considerable influence in the local Republican Party. He was also elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1875, where he endorsed the new document. In 1882, Erhard wrote his reminiscences of the Texan Santa Fe expedition, which were published as a weekly series in the San Marcos Free Press.
Dixon, Ford. “Erhard, Clayton.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 22, 2010.
Scott, La Quencis Gibbs. “Reynolds, Allen C.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 22, 2010.
The Cayton Erhard Papers, 1813-1899, 1953, document the life and career of Erhard, as a merchant, soldier, and politician. Including original and photocopied correspondence, deeds and tax receipts, a goods catalog/account book and clippings, the collection concerns Erhard’s stores; the transfer of his property; his appointment as election judge; his service with the Texas Santa Fe Expedition; the Erhard and Reynolds families; and Erhard’s reminiscences of life in the Republic of Texas, life in Bastrop, and end of the Civil War in San Marcos. Photographs depict Erhard alone and with a group of Texas veterans, an Erhard store, and Erhard’s son Albert, who worked in the family store.
Additionally, correspondence and legal documents related to Erhard’s grandfather-in-law, Allen C. Reynolds, include Reynolds’ commission as Second Lieutenant to the U. S. volunteers (1813), a certificate of his Masonic membership (1816), and a land title.
This collection is open for research use.
Cayton Erhard Papers, 1813-1899, 1953, 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