TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Jon Winfield Scott Dancy Papers
Jon Winfield Scott Dancy's association with Texas began on December 28, 1836, when he landed at Velasco after a journey from Alabama aboard the steamer Corolla. Dancy was born to William and Percilla Turner Dancy on September 3, 1810, in Greenville County, Virginia. The family moved to Decatur, Alabama while Jon was young and he graduated from the University of Tennessee in Nashville and subsequently earned his law license. In July of 1835 Dancy married Evalina Rhodes, who died about a year after their wedding. Her death led to Dancy's decision to move to Texas.
Soon after arriving in Texas, Dancy became a citizen of the Republic. After travelling extensively throughout the settled regions of the state her purchased land on the Colorado River near La Grange in Fayette County in 1837. Dancy became a successful farmer and also participated in political affairs. He was elected to the Republic of Texas legislature in the early 1840s and the state legislature in the late 1840s and 1850s. He made unsuccessful bids for governor in 1853 and 1859. In October 1849 Dancy married Lucy Nowlin of Austin, and the couple had six children, four of whom survived to adulthood.
Dancy was involved in many significant activities. He was a key developer in the settlement of the Fayette County town of Colorado City in the 1830s, which was to be the capital of the Republic until this plan was vetoed by President Sam Houston. During the Mexican War, Dancy served for three months in Ben McCulloch's regiment as a colonel. He later edited the Texas Monument, was a strong proponent of railroad development in Texas, and helped found Rutersville College near La Grange. Dancy died of yellow fever on February 13, 1866, in La Grange.
The Jon Winfield Scott Dancy Papers include an original diary and transcripts/photocopies of the diary dating from 1836-1856 and arranged chronologically in seven section. The diary relates to travel in Texas with other materials including accounting information, correspondence with his daughters, and a speech used in Dancy's 1859 gubernatorial campaign. Major themes of this dairy are weather, farming activities, Dancy's travels, visitors to his farm, and descriptions of major events. Entries were usually made daily and range in length from one word to two pages.
Also included is a manuscript account book relating to his various business endeavors: Colorado City Land Company, Colorado River Ferry, legal practice, construction of a cotton gin, plantation accounts (including notes on slaves), newspapers in which Dancy was involved, etc. The account book also includes later notes, descriptions, and scrapbook items added by Dancy's daughter, Lena Dancy Ledbetter, from 1927-1932.
In addition, the papers include official papers such as a citizenry certificate, discharge papers from Ben McCulloch's forces, a roster of the Texas House of Representatives in 1841, photographs, biographical information, etc.
This collection is open for research use.
Jon Winfield Scott Dancy Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.