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The Domesday Book of Texas Veterans: Old Soldiers Fade Away

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538.     TEXAS VETERANS ASSOCIATION. [BRYAN, Moses Austin (compiler)]. [Wrapper title] Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the Texas Veteran Association, Held in Houston, May 20 and 21, 1874. Together with Report of the Executive Committee, and a List of Veterans Now Living, and a List of Deceased Veterans, from 1828 to 1874. Houston: Printed at the Telegraph Office, 1874. [1] 2-48 pp. 8vo (22.2 x 14.5 cm), original lilac printed wrappers with original stitching. Wrappers moderately chipped with some loss (including section of border and first word of title), spine perished, faded and stained; first 8 leaves damaged at top with loss of section of blank border and a few letters. Wrappers professionally stabilized and reattached with missing portions supplied; first eight leaves professionally repaired. Old pencil call number and ink number stamp on upper wrapper. A rare survival in any condition. We trace no records of sales.

     First edition. Raines, p. 66: “Abounding in historical reminiscences.” Winkler 3504 (citing copies at the Huntington Library, Bancroft Library, New York Public Library, Texas State Library, and the University of Texas, Austin). Under the constitution printed here, members were divided into three classes: the first included surviving members of the Old Three Hundred and soldiers, seamen, and citizens who could prove service in Texas between 1820 and October 15, 1836; the second included soldiers and sailors who could prove service between October 15, 1836, and November 1, 1837; and the third included those who had proof of service between November 1, 1837 and annexation in 1845. The original officers elected at this meeting were Francis W. Johnson (president), William J. Russell (1st vice president), Walter P. Lane (2nd vice president), and Moses Austin Bryan (secretary). Bryan was probably responsible for the compilation of this text, as described in his report herein. The original officers served without interruption for over a decade. Handbook of Texas Online: Texas Veterans Association.

     The text is a virtual mine of information on Texas veterans because it lists every person who is included in the first two classes, usually with some biographical information. These lists are supplemented by two necrologies, “Texas Necrology: Deaths Reported at the Annual Meeting, May 1874,” and “A List of Old Texans Who Have Died and Been Killed by Mexicans and Indians, from 1828 to 1874.” The lists in their totality give several hundred names.

     Secretary Bryan’s annual report is unusually interesting for its review of the various Association activities that have taken place in the intervening year, especially his account of how the Association’s Proceedings (Galveston, 1873) found their way into print and his descriptions of documentation he has received from veterans, some of whom “speak of their services to Texas, and their present and decrepit and chronic ailments, and their almost universal poverty in their last days on earth” (p. [29]). He also reports the collective outpouring of good will from the railroads who, upon inquiry about transportation terms, said they would transport any veteran to and from this meeting gratis.

     As important and influential as the Association was, its terms of organization carried the seeds of its own destruction. By closing off membership to any soldier or soldier with post-1845 service, the Association gradually withered by attrition. In 1907 it disbanded, and its work was taken over by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, an affiliated organization founded in 1891.


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $900.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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