Important San Antonio Merchant, Developer & Cattleman
Tejano Families in San Antonio & Manuscript Maps
256. LEWIS, Nathaniel C. Archive of manuscript materials by and about Lewis, his business activities, and land transactions, mostly around the San Antonio area in the nineteenth century. Includes autograph letters, documents, deeds, and several original manuscript survey maps. All documents are creased where formerly folded.
The subject of this collection, Nathaniel C. Lewis (1806-1872), came to Texas around 1830 under somewhat mysterious circumstances that have never been satisfactorily explained. Once in San Antonio, he soon rose to be a prominent merchant in the region as part of the firm Lewis and Groesbeck. He also became the first Anglo cattleman to operate in the region on a large scale. After serving in the Texas Revolution, he returned to San Antonio and was elected to various political offices. Lewis has a slight Alamo connection. "Another reputed courier, Nathaniel C. Lewis, was reported as having slipped into the Alamo with supplies and is said to have ‘probably’ been the last to leave before the fall. However, both Sutherland and Menchaca….had him heading out of town on foot when the Mexican Army arrived, and therefore the report is highly unlikely" (Todd Hansen, The Alamo Reader, Stackpole Books, 2003, p. 244).
The archive offers interesting insight to changes around San Antonio involving the gradual displacement of Tejanos by Anglos.
The collection includes:
SUTHERLAND, George. Document signed, July 2, 1836. 1 p. Small 12mo (9.5 x 20 cm) on wove paper. Five-day furlough issued to Lewis, after which he is “to report himself at head quarters Texian Army.” Creased where formerly folded, some edge wear. Sutherland (1787?-1855) was a prominent Texas patriot, soldier, and politician who fought at San Jacinto and against Adrian Woll. Here he signs as Captain of his company. See Handbook of Texas Online.
LYONS, James H. Document signed, San Antonio, November 5, 1857. 4 pp. Folio (31.5 x 20 cm) on lined blue paper. This is the original deed by which Lyons sells to Lewis the building in which he operated his drug store. Lyons (1805-1888) was a prominent San Antonio doctor, soldier, and legislator who once served as the city’s mayor. He opened this drugstore on Main Street in 1852. Handbook of Texas Online. Very good.
LOCKWOOD, A.A. Document signed, San Antonio, November 26, 1857. 2-1/2 pp. Folio (31.5 x 20 cm) on parchment paper. This is the original deed for Lewis’ plot in the San Antonio cemetery. Slightly wrinkled, otherwise good. Lockwood was mayor of San Antonio at the time.
LEWIS, Nathaniel C. Autograph letter signed to “Dear Hank,” San Antonio, August 19, 1869. 12 pp. 4to (26.8 x 21 cm) on blue, wove paper with stationer’s mark reading “Correspondencia particular.”
An extremely important, unpublished letter from the leading stock raiser in the area written in response to Hank’s July 27 letter in which he made “inquiries about ranches, ranching, stock, etc.,” to which Lewis promises to give him “my experiences, results, and present ideas.” The letter covers the entire history of Lewis’ activities as a stock grower, analyzes past and present financial considerations, and even correctly predicts that eventually the ranges will all be fenced in. Lewis was the first substantial cattleman in the San Antonio area, and any analysis of that business by him would be of great interest to understanding the era. An unusual analysis of a vital industry, written when the Civil War in Texas had ended only a few weeks prior with Kirby Smith’s surrender on June 2, 1865 (see Item 120 herein).
ZAMBRANO, Juan Manuel. Document in secretarial hand, San Antonio, April 5, 1824 [but ca. 1850?]. 4 pp. 4to (24.8 x 19.7 cm) on wove paper. A later copy and translation into English of documents in which Zambrano says he cannot successfully carry on his ranching business at Laguna de las Ánimas because of disruptions caused by the 1812-1813 Gutiérrez-Magee expedition and Native American raids. He asks for replacement lands on the Guadalupe River, which are granted. A very good example of the issues facing early Mexican ranchers in the San Antonio area. Important documentation on an outstanding Tejano and his vicissitudes. See Handbook of Texas Online.
[MAP]. LEWIS, Nathaniel C. Survey map signed “N. Lewis” and priced “$1.00” along bottom. N.d. [ca. 1859?] 20.7 x 16.3 cm, ink and watercolor on cartographic linen. This exquisite and professionally drawn map shows an area then in western Blanco county along the then-eastern Kerr County line on the Guadalupe River, Sister Creek, and Comfort/Sisterdale and Old Fredericksburg Roads. The county line is indicated in pink and labelled “New County Line of Kerr Co” (the county was formed January 26, 1856, but Blanco County was not founded until 1858). The county lines shown were rendered obsolete by the establishment in 1862 of Kendall County, which removed any abutment of Blanco and Kerr counties. The area shown is in the vicinity of present-day Sisterdale, Texas, which because of various county boundary realignments is now in Kendall County. Some of the land owners shown are Lewis himself, George Sutherland, P. McGreal, G. Morales, and S. del Bosque. Very fine.
[MAP]. SCHLEICHER, Gustav. “Map of Lands on Cibola Creek patented to Nat. Lewis of San Antonio made from the Records.” Survey map in ink. [San Antonio, ca. 1858?]. 30.9 x 22.2 cm on wove paper. Some later pencil or ink notations and marks. Signed in ink by Schleicher at lower right. This professional drawing shows twelve tracts, numbered 347-358, of various sizes, all watered by Cibola Creek. Judging from the configuration of the watershed, the area shown seems to be along the present-day Bexar-Comal County line formed by the creek just south of Road 1863. Schleicher (1823-1879) settled on the banks of the Llano River in 1847 with other German idealists in the commune of Bettina von Arnim. After moving to San Antonio in 1850, he was influential in bridge and railroad building, worked as a restaurateur, soldier, surveyor, politician, and lawyer. See Handbook of Texas Online. Some small losses at folds not affecting image and light overall toning, otherwise very good.
[MAP]. Manuscript survey map [pencil title reads in part “in Montes tract”]. N.p., [ca. 1855?]. 22 x 28 cm on wove paper, in ink. The city of “Golead” is shown at the lower right, and the tracts outlined are all north of the San Antonio River. Lewis has noted his own holdings in pencil, and the name of present landowners of other tracts are given (e.g., M.J. Ybarra, R. Músquiz, M.J. Monchola). Stamped 700 at lower right. Separated at folds with some pieces loose; losses to paper affecting image area, some caused by ink corrosion. Overall, good.
[MAP]. Manuscript survey map. N.p., [ca. 1855?]. 20.7 x 23 cm on cartographic linen, in ink. This map shows basically the same survey as #8 above but without the Goliad area. Moderate damage from ink deterioration. Fair only.
[MAP]. “Plat and Field Notes of a River Lot, situated in the Potrero, on the West Side of the San Antonio River, belonging to Nath. Lewis.” San Antonio, May 13, 1848. 1 pp. on a docketed bifolium, in ink and watercolor. 31.7 x 20.2 cm on wove paper. Original survey map with text description. The lot shown is between that belonging to B. Callaghan and the entrance to the river ford. Light waterstaining and a few tiny losses at folds not affecting image. The area is in the vicinity of present-day Commerce Street in San Antonio. Very good.
[MAP]. “Plat and Field Notes of a Suerte of land in the Labor de Abajo, about one mile South of the Plaza de Armas of Bexar….” San Antonio, February 11, 1850. 2 pp. on a docketed bifolium, in ink. 31 x 20 cm, on blue wove paper. Original survey map with text description of property belonging to José Berban. The lot shown is between the San Antonio River and the Arroyo San Pedro in San Antonio. Stained and holed from rodent damage, slightly affecting both map and text. Fair.
ZAMBRANO FAMILY. Group of seven folio manuscript documents, 1789-1841, in ink, most multi-paged, including originals and copies, related to this San Antonio Tejano family. In Spanish and English. Some of the documents concern land transactions but others relate to the death and estates of Juan Manuel Zambrano and of José Macario Zambrano, the latter represented by a 1791 copy of his will, and the former by an 1839 probate document signed by prominent San Antonio attorney Cornelius Van Ness (1803-1842). Another document is a copy of 1824 records concerning José María Zambrano’s efforts to acquire lands. Superb documentation on an outstanding Tejano family. Overall very good.
LEWIS LAND TRANSACTIONS. Twenty-two originals and copies of deeds and other legal instruments concerning Lewis’ land acquisitions in San Antonio, mostly dating from the mid-nineteenth century. In Spanish and English. Most multi-paged. Among residents with whom he dealt are the Toros, Pérez, Domínguez, Romero, and Verafuentas families. Overall very good.
LEWIS BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS. Five manuscript documents and autograph letters signed concerning Lewis’ business transactions, 1857-1872. Included is an original signed agreement between Lewis and Isaiah Addison Paschal, April 9, 1857, settling property divisions between them in San Antonio, and a brief statement of Lewis’ land holdings in Atascosa County, completed as part of his probate process. Paschal (1808-1868) was another prominent San Antonio resident who had a career as a lawyer, politician, and judge. See Handbook of Texas Online.
Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009