A Guide to the John F. Torrey Papers, 1883-1884, 1893>
John Frink Torrey (1817-1893) was a trader, manufacturer and farmer who arrived in Texas from Connecticut around 1838 with his brother David Kilburn and Thomas Stebins Torrey. He established John F. Torrey and Brothers in Houston and dealt solely in trade with Native Americans until 1848. While in Houston, John met Sam Houston and his trade became vital to the success of Houston’s Indian Policy. During the 1840s, the John Torrey Jewelry and Fancy Good Store, which was in operation between 1840 and 1844 as well as Torrey’s Tavern in present-day San Marcos. He moved to New Braunfels in 1845 where he opened a general store and operated a horse-powered mill. Torrey possibly opened the first factory in the state when he added a door, sash and blind factory to his mill in 1850.
In 1851, Torrey married Laura Dittmar, with whom he had eleven children, seven of which grew to maturity. During the Civil War, Torrey was commissioned as a major and served as a commissary of subsistence in the Thirty-first brigade. In 1872, cloudbursts caused flooding that washed the mill building from its foundation. After this disaster, Torrey left New Braunfels for Hood County where he farmed for the rest of his life.
Armbruster, Henry C. "Torrey, John Frink." Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed March 8, 2011.
Letters and an obituary clipping comprise the John F. Torrey Papers, 1883-1884, 1893. The correspondence relates to Torrey’s farming in Hood County including problems over land boundaries and land titles.
This collection is open for research use.
John F. Torrey Papers, 1883-1884, 1893, 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