A Guide to the Sterling Clack Robertson Family Papers, 1824-1865
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Elijah and Sarah (Maclin) Robertson, Sterling Clack Robertson (1785-1842) served as a deputy quartermaster during the War of 1812. After the war, he owned a plantation in Giles County and was a stockholder in the Texas Association, signing a memorial to the Mexican government in 1822 requesting permission to settle in Texas. In 1825, he left Nashville with Dr. Felix Robertson’s party to explore and survey Robert Leftwich’s Texas land grant, returning east in August 1826 to recruit settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee. Robertson obtained a land contract in his own name in 1834, becoming empresario of Robertson’s colony. During the Texas Revolution, Robertson led a company of Texas Rangers and served as a delegate at the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in March 1836. From 1836 to 1838, Robertson was a senator in the First and Second congresses of the republic. He had two sons, James Maclin Robertson with Rachael Smith and Elijah Sterling Clack Robertson (1820–1879) with Frances King.
Educated in San Antonio and Tennessee, Elijah served as postmaster general of the Republic of Texas (1839-1840) and assistant secretary of the Senate (1841-1842). He signed the Texas Ordinances of Secession in 1861 and served as aide-de-camp to Henry E. McCulloch during the Civil War. Pardoned by President Andrew Johnson following the war, Robertson was also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875.
McLean, Malcolm D. “Robertson, Sterling Clack.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 22, 2011.
Correspondence, legal documents, military orders, a pardon, receipts, and broadsides comprise the Sterling Clack Robertson Family Papers, 1824-1865, chiefly documenting Robertson’s life and career as a plantation owner, soldier, and early settler of Texas. Correspondence to Robertson from Sam Houston, William H. Steele, G. H. Harrison, and General Thomas J. Rusk, among others, concerns the colonization of Texas, the Consultation of 1835, troubles with Native Americans, and the pursuit of American volunteers to aid in the Texas Revolution. Legal documents include agreements, contracts, and bills of sale for slaves and Texas land. The collection also contains receipts and transcripts for some documents. Additionally, a portion of the papers relate to the property and military service of Robertson’s son Elijah Sterling Clack Robertson, including photocopies of correspondence from Elijah to military officers and Governor Pendleton Murrah during the Civil War. The pen he used to sign the Texas Ordinances of Secession in 1861 and a pardon signed by President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Steward document his role in the state’s break from the union.
This collection is open for research use.
Sterling Clack Robertson Family Papers, 1824-1865, 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