A Guide to the Joseph Henry Polley Papers, 1825-1926
Rancher Joseph Henry Polley (1795-1869) was born in New York and served in U. S. military expeditions until settling in Texas in 1821. He married Mary Augusta Bailey in a civil ceremony in 1823, followed by a Protestant and Catholic union in 1826 and 1831. Although the couple owned various homes, one of their earliest homes, “Whitehall,” built in the Brazoria District, was one of the first public homes, and was often the site of meetings for revolutionary councils. In the early 1850s, they later built a second “Whitehall,” located along the Cibolo River. Polley was Austin colony’s first sheriff, he grew cotton, and more successfully, raised cattle, having some of the largest herds in Texas.
Source: McCaslin, Richard B. "Polley, Joseph Henry," Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed August 3, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo11.
Thirteen bound volumes of Photostats, a cashbook, scrapbook, loose papers, a photograph, and negatives compose the Joseph Henry Polley Papers, 1825-1926, documenting Polley’s business transactions and the history of the Polley family. The volumes contain accounting records and correspondence between Polley and his family and business associates, particularly John James, his colleague and former son-in-law. Other documents include Polley’s will, genealogy of the Burrows, Cone, and Polley families, a marriage certificate for Polley and his wife’s Catholic ceremony, advertisements for plantation machinery, a photograph and negatives of a cattle branding receipt, and two newspaper articles that highlight the history of the Polley family. A scrapbook contains newspaper clippings of poems, and news concerning politics, religion, obituaries, and events.
This collection is open for research use.
Joseph Henry Polley Papers, 1825-1926, 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