A Guide to the Pendleton Murrah Letter, 1865
Texas governor Pendleton Murrah (1826?-1865) graduated from Brown University in 1848. He practiced law in Alabama before moving to Texas in 1850 to help with his tuberculosis. Later that year, Murrah married Sue Ellen Taylor and opened a law firm in Marshall. As a Democrat, he served in the Texas Legislature (1857-1859) and, during the Civil War, as quartermaster officer in the 14th Texas Infantry of the Confederate Army (1862). During his tenure as governor of Texas from 1863 through 1865, Murrah clashed on numerous occasions with the Confederate government, fighting for control over the militia in the frontier counties and other issues. Following Robert E. Lee’s surrender, Murrah continued to resist the Union and eventually fled to Mexico, where he succumbed to tuberculosis in August 1865.
Wooster, Ralph A. "Murrah, Pendleton."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 15, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmu15.
The Pendleton Murrah Letter, 1865, consists of a typescript of an open letter from Gov. Murrah to the citizens of Texas, written in Austin and dated June 12, 1865. Murrah describes his work in office, including use of his personal money rather than drawing a salary from the state and his continued attempts to ward off Union forces even though "sister states of the Confederacy" had already surrendered. Murrah also discusses his plan to escape sanctions from the United States government, as he feels justified in his actions as a Confederate official. Finally, the letter implores Texans to accept the policies of the "conquerors" as further conflict against the U.S. would be futile.
This collection is open for research use.
Pendleton Murrah Letter, 1865, 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