Small Collection of Manuscripts & Documents concerning Early Texas Colonization

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545. [TEXAS COLONIZATION & LEGAL AFFAIRS]. Collection of about 20 documents and letters dating from approximately 1825 to 1843, apparently from the files of attorney and statesman Archibald Wynns (1809-1858, Handbook of Texas Online) who settled in Houston in 1837 where he opened a law firm. Later he participated in the Vásquez expedition (1842), was involved with the move to annex Texas to the U.S. (1845), supported William Walker’s filibustering expedition, and visited Walker in Nicaragua in 1856. Most of the papers in the collection concern litigation regarding Texas, particularly Robertson Colony. The collection includes several transcriptions of original deeds, grants, and three letters to Wynns. Condition varies from very good to poor, although the majority are in acceptable condition. The collection includes examples of signatures of several prominent early Texans.

Signed by Wyly Martin who drew the only known portrait of Travis from life

MARTIN, Wyly, et al. Manuscript in the hand of Samuel May Williams, dated at Fort Bend County, December 16, 1840, signed by Wyly Martin, Randal Jones, et al. 4 pp. on bifolium, folio (32 x 20 cm), embossed seal of the Republic of Texas on final page. Split into four pieces but with few losses, otherwise very good, signatures legible and fine. This is an agreement entered into between Archibald P. Noland and Randal Jones, consenting to arbitration in a payment dispute. Wyly Martin (1776-1842), soldier, judge, and legislator, fought with Andrew Jackson at the battle of Horseshoe Bend (1813), and came to Texas in 1825 after reputedly killing a man in a duel. Very active in all affairs of Texas from Mexican colony to independent Republic, he signed the declaration of war against Mexico and fought in the Texas Revolution. Martin County was named in his honor. Most interesting of all, at Bexar in December 1835, he drew a pen-and-ink sketch of Travis, the only known portrait of the Alamo hero done from life. Randal Jones (1786-1873), first came to Texas in the Long Expedition in 1821, and later became a soldier and politician. Martin died at Randal Jones’ home. The copyist of the document was Samuel May Williams (1795-1858), who came to Texas in 1823 and was employed by Stephen F. Austin as translator and clerk. For the next thirteen years Williams was Austin’s lieutenant; he wrote deeds, kept records, and directed colonial activities during Austin’s absences. See Handbook of Texas Online: Wyly Martin; Randal Jones; Samuel May Williams.

Nullification of transfer of the Nashville grant to Austin & Williams

[ROBERTSON COLONY]. COAHUILA Y TEJAS. Contemporary manuscript copy of order issued at Monclova, May 22, 1834, signed by José del Valle. This copy of the order was made the same day as the original order. 3 pp. on bifolium, folio (30 x 21 cm), stamped seal of Coahuila y Tejas with eagle at top. Creased where formerly folded, chipped at gutter margin with loss of a few letters, chipped at fore-edge margin, overall light browning and offsetting. The order nullifies transfer of the Nashville grant to Stephen F. Austin and Samuel May Williams, and returns it to Sterling C. Robertson. On the convoluted history of Robertson’s Colony, see herein..

“Houston is just now beginning to exist as a place of business.”

WYNNS, ARCHIBALD. Two letters addressed to Archibald Wynns, attorney and statesman (see first paragraph above). [1] CAMPBELL, R.C. Autograph letter signed to Archibald Wynns, dated at Houston, December 12, 1841. 3 pp. with integral address panel, on bifolium, 4to (25.5 x 19.5 cm). Creased where formerly folded, short splits at folds (no losses), a few minor voids not affecting text. Campbell discusses the possibility of publishing Texas Supreme Court Decisions and closes with flattering remarks about the growth of Houston including, “Houston is just now beginning to exist as a place of business.” [2] GAZLEY, G. Autograph letter signed to Archibald Wynns, dated at Houston, December 2, 1841. 1 page, address panel on verso marked “Free,” folio (31.3 x 20.3 cm). Creased where formerly folded, one minor tear from removal of seal (no loss). Concerns Gazley’s desire to pay for land that belonged to F. Smith.

[ROBERTSON COLONY]. Unsigned manuscript draft. 2 pp. Folio (33 x 20.7 cm). [Austin? 1840s]. Creased where formerly folded, slight wrinkling, right margin lightly chipped, one small hole affecting two letters, light staining. Opinion by the judicial committee of the Texas Congress concerning Robertson’s rights to settle people in his colony. Although it says the Committee really does have jurisdiction, it does recommend that Robertson be able to go forward and that he is entitled to payment in land for the colonists he is able to introduce.

[WILLIAMS, Samuel May]. Manuscript document in Spanish signed by Samuel May Williams, Walter C. White, and William P. Harris. San Felipe de Austin, July 28, 1830. 3 pp. (31.5 x 19.5 cm) on bifolium. Split or separated at folds with some losses, age toned, slightly wrinkled. Certified copy of a land deed between William Little and William Stafford, original certification dated June 28, 1830. Further certification dated July 28, 1830, in San Felipe de Austin, signed by Walter G. White, William P. Harris, and Samuel May Williams (the latter two as witnesses). Also, a certification dated September 21, 1839, signed J. Benton Johnson, Austin County Clerk, certifying that the original is on file in the county, with the seal of Texas. See Handbook of Texas Online for William W. Little, Old Three Hundred settler (died 1841); Samuel May Williams (Stephen F. Austin’s secretary); William Plunkett Harris (business man and official); Walter C. White (came to Texas with the Long Expedition in 1821).

Autograph Letter Signed, by a Founder of Galveston

JONES, Levi. Autograph letter signed, to Archibald Wynns, dated at Galveston, March 14, 1843. 3 pp. on a bifolium, 4to (25.2 x 20 cm). Hole in blank margin from seal removal, creased where formerly folded. Jones discusses provisions for closing a land deal with George Lawrence and hopes they can all get together this month. He closes on a chatty personal note, including the mention of one or two cases of married ladies in interesting situations. See Handbook of Texas Online for Levi Jones (1792-1878), physician and land speculator who came to Texas in 1833 and was one of the original founders of the Galveston City Company.

[LEFTWICH GRANT (later Robertson Colony)]. Manuscript document, secretarial copy and translation into English of Robert Leftwich’s colonization contract, dated at Saltillo, April 15, 1835, docketed as Exhibit A on final page. N.p., n.d. [Republic of Texas, ca. 1840]. 4 pp. on a bifolium, folio (32.3 x 19.5 cm). Creased where formerly folded, some splitting at folds (no losses). Robert Leftwich (ca. 1777-?) was the original empresario of Robertson’s Colony. In 1822 he joined the Texas Association and eventually received permission to settle 800 families in Texas. His grant later became Robertson’s Colony.

     Plus several others, some fragmentary.


Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $612.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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