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AUCTION 20

“The earliest example known to me of engraving done in Texas”—Streeter

158. [PORTLAND, TEXAS]. LOWE, J. (engraver). Ornately engraved township stock certificate with allegorical figures, completed in manuscript, commencing: $[100.00] No. [11] Capital Stock Two Thousand Acres of Land & City Lots. City of Portland Matagorda Co. Republic of Texas. This Certificate for [one hundred] Dollars will be received at par in payment for lots in the above named City of Portland [29 April] 1841... [along left margin] J. Lowe. Galveston Texas. [four vignettes, clockwise from left: (1) allegorical illustration of Justice with scales and sword on Lone Star pedestal; (2) Native American in landscape greeting an incoming train; (3) allegorical illustration of Liberty with pitcher and eagle; (4) sheaf of wheat with agricultural implements.  Galveston, 1841. Fine, signed by Nicholas Clopper, notable Texas pioneer and entrepreneur, an official of the company (see below).

     First edition of the first engraved item done in Texas. Medlar (Portland), p. 152.

Streeter 450 (locating only his own copy, now at Yale): “This certificate, which is engraved and not printed, is the earliest example known to me of engraving done in Texas. I know of no other for the period of the bibliography.... This certificate represents an interesting scheme promoted by Nicholas Clopper...for establishing a new town on the Colorado River at the head of the raft. The plan was to connect the new town by a railroad with tidewater on Wilson’s Creek, about three miles to the south, ‘and thence by steam-boats or other craft to Port Austin and Palacios’...the chances are that the project was not carried out.” This certificate represents yet another town that existed only on paper.

Handbook of Texas Online (Nicholas Clopper):

Nicholas Clopper (1766-1841), early settler responsible for the acquisition of the Twin Sisters, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on November 3, 1766. After unsuccessful business ventures in Pennsylvania and Maryland, he moved to Ohio about 1820. Two years later he moved to Texas to Stephen F. Austin's colony, hoping to recoup his fortunes by trade and land speculation. For the rest of his life he divided his time between Ohio and Texas.

Clopper was one of the first to see the potential of Buffalo Bayou as a trade route between the Brazos area and the sea. He organized the Texas Trading Association in 1827 to conduct trade over the route. In 1826 he purchased the peninsula between Galveston and San Jacinto bays, now known as Morgan's Point. The sand bar blocking the entrance to San Jacinto Bay still bears his name. In 1835 Clopper presided over a meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened a subscription to purchase two cannons, the famous Twin Sisters, for the Texas revolutionaries.

Clopper married Rebecca Chambers in 1790, and they had eleven children. One of his sons, Andrew M., was a courier for President David G. Burnet during the Texas Revolution. Another was lost at sea in 1822 or possibly killed by Karankawa Indians on the Texas coast. Two other sons, Joseph C. and Edward N., came to Texas with Clopper at various times. Clopper died on December 2, 1841. The letters and journals of the family tell much about life and events in Texas at the time.

($750-1,500)

Sold. Hammer: $1,300.00; Price Realized: $1,527.50

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