A Guide to the Stephen F. Powers Papers, 1777-1885
Born in Maine, Stephen F. Powers (1814-1882) moved to New York, where he established a legal practice in 1835. President Martin Van Buren appointed him U.S. counsel in Basel, Switzerland, in 1839, resigning in 1842. Five years later, President James K. Polk appointed Powers First Lieutenant in the 10th U.S. Infantry and assigned him to the U.S. Military Commission for the Government of Occupied Territory at Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. In 1849, Powers moved to Brownsville, Texas, and founded a law firm with James B. Wells, focusing on contested Spanish and Mexican land claims. In addition, Powers served as Brownsville’s postmaster (1849-1851) and mayor (1850s); the collector of customs for the District of Brazos Santiago (1853); and chief justice of Cameron County (1858-1861). In 1855, Powers married the widowed Pauline Victoire (Butler) Impey, with whom he had five children. As a Democrat and secessionist, he served as judge of the Twelfth Judicial District of Texas from 1861 to 1867. Powers was also elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1872 and the Texas Senate in 1880.
Davenport, Harbert. "Powers, Stephen."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 21, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo37.
Composed of letters, financial documents, and legal records, the Stephen F. Powers Papers, 1777-1885, document Powers’ family, professional activities, and real estate in Cameron County, Texas, including ownership disputes. Legal documents include wills, deeds, agreements, legal proceedings, citations, and a certificate, regarding Spanish and Mexican land grants, such as Concepción de Carricitos, San Pedro de Carricitos, and Reynosa porciones. The collection also includes law suits for Treviño vs. Fernandez, Gregorio Condi vs. Justo Treviño, Thomas vs. Hord, and Trevino vs. Uresti. Composed of tax receipts, notes, memoranda, and settlements, financial documents concern Powers partnership with James B. Wells. Additionally, the collection consists of items related to John R. Butler, personal correspondence of Powers, and notes on different legal issues.
This collection is open for research use.
Stephen F. Powers Papers, 1777-1885, 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