Texas in 1837

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Texas in 1837

An Anonymous, Contemporary Narrative

Edited by Andrew Forest Muir

The earliest known account of the first year of the Texas republic.



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6 x 9 | 264 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-78099-6

Written anonymously in 1838–39 by a "Citizen of Ohio," Texas in 1837 is the earliest known account of the first year of the Texas republic. Providing information nowhere else available, the still-unknown author describes a land rich in potential but at the time "a more suitable arena for those who have everything to make and nothing to lose than [for] the man of capital or family."

The author arrived at Galveston Island on March 22, 1837, before the city of Galveston was founded, and spent the next six months in the republic. His travels took him to Houston, then little more than a camp made up of brush shelters and jerry-built houses, and as far west as San Antonio. He observed and was generally unimpressed by governmental and social structures just beginning to take shape. He attended the first anniversary celebration of the Battle of San Jacinto and has left a memorable account of Texas' first Independence Day. His inquiring mind and objective, actue observations of early Texas provide us a way of returning to the past, revisiting landmarks that have vanished forever.

Introduction: Landscape with Figures
I. Arrival in Texas—Galveston Bay—Laffite the Pirate—Mexican Prisoners—Shells—City of Galveston—Storm
II. Start for Houston—The Country—Oysters—Fish—Redfish Bar—Towns—Alligators—New Washington—Colonel Morgan—Surrounding Country—Price of Lands—Floats—Santa Anna—Point Pleasant—Almonte—Aunt Peggy’s Gap
III. Lynchburg—A Scene before the Battle—Buffalo Bayou—San Jacinto—Texian Camp—Field of Battle—Vinces Bayou—A Drunkard—Pokersville—Encampment—Events of the War—Harrisburg—Journey by Land—The Country
IV. City of Houston—Bayou—Adjacent Country—Price of Lots—Immigration—Improvements—Price of Labor—Lumber—Accommodations—Beds—The Danger of Elevation—Provisions—Currency—Banks
V. Occupation of the Citizens—Merchants—Price of Goods—Groceries—Dissipation—Gambling—Mechanics—Speculators—Soldiers’ Discharges—Headrights—Riots and Affrays—First Sermon in Houston
VI. The Duello—Death of Laurens—Tragic Fate of His Murderer
VII. First Anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto—Celebration—The Liberty Pole—A Perilous Feat—The Oration—President Houston—The Ball—Indian Council and Dance, etc
VIII. Congress—Preparations—Message of the President—Taxation—Tariff—Opposition—Land Office—Members of Congress
IX. Bexar—Preparations for a Journey—The Mexican Gourd—Departure—The Prairie—Encampment—An Incident—Insects—Theft—Lose Our Way—Difficulties of Traveling—Hospitality—Robbery
X. Description of the Country—The Brazos River—A Scene upon the Prairie—A Herdsman—Texas Market—Laws—Incidents of the War—Escape of Our Horses—A Journey on Foot—A Texian—Progress of Settlement—A Night Adventure
XI. A Texas Farmer—Deer of Texas—Journey through the Country—An Incident—The San Bernard—Night Traveling—The Colorado
XII. Retrospect—Colorado—Columbus—Springs—Wells—Live Oak—Preparations for Our Journey—Plan of Travel—Mexicans—Superstition
XIII. Merchant of San Antonio—Country from Columbus to the La vaca—The Lavaca—A Prospect—Country to the Guadalupe—Gonzales—An Original—Bee Hunt—Philosophy—Fissures in the Earth—Sheep Country
XIV. San Antonio de Bexar—Dwelling Houses—Churches—San Antonio River—Fertility of the Valley—Products—Health of the Valley—Longevity of Its Population
XV. Character of the People of San Antonio—The Mexicans Generally—Habits and Customs—Amusements
XVI. The Alamo—The Siege—Colonel Crockett
XVII. Face of the Country from the Rio Grande to the Sabine
XVIII. Chief Towns of Texas—Vegetable Productions—Fruits—Flowers—Minerals—Wild Animals—Birds
XIX. Climate—Diseases—Medicines—Nights—Prevailing Winds—General Health of Texas
XX. A Replication to Doctor Channing’s Letter to Mr. Clay
XXI. Army, Navy, and Treasury of Texas—Land Laws—Government Scrip—Pecuniary Resources
XXII. Moses Austin’s Negotiations with the Mexican Government—The First Land Grant—Subsequent Grants—Land Claims, Titles, etc.
XXIII. The Constitution and Laws—Administration of Justice
XXIV. Inducements to Immigration—Mechanical Employments—Lawyers—Relations with Mexico—Texian Indians
XXV. Advice to Emigrants, as Regards Provision, Health, Location, etc.—Conclusion

A distinguished and meticulous scholar and editor, Andrew Forest Muir was the author of many works on Texas.

"...an unparalleled description of the Texas republic in its infancy, often with keen insight and humor."

—John H. Jenkins, Basic Texas Books