The Texas Archive War was an 1842 dispute over an attempted move of the Republic of Texas national archives from Austin to Houston and, more broadly, over then-president Sam Houston's efforts to make Houston the capital of Texas.
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by Mexico to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and United States territories encompassing parts of the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2017 estimate, Austin had a population of 950,715 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,115,827 as of July 1, 2017. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.
Sam Houston was an American soldier and politician. An important leader of the Texas Revolution, Houston served as the 1st and 3rd president of the Republic of Texas, and was one of the first two individuals to represent Texas in the United States Senate. He also served as the 6th Governor of Tennessee and the 7th governor of Texas, the only American to be elected governor of two different states in the United States.
The Republic of Texas was formed in 1836. As the Texas Revolution continued, the papers that documented the workings of the interim government accompanied government officials as they evacuated to various towns to stay in front of the Mexican Army.After the war ended in April, Columbia became the nation's capital city, and the archives were located there. The center of government and the archives were then moved to Houston.
The Texas Revolution was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.
In 1839, Mirabeau B. Lamar became President of Texas. Under his influence, the Texas Congress authorized the establishment of a planned city to serve as the seat of government. The new city, Austin, was at the edge of the frontier, near several hostile native tribes, with no easy way to get supplies.Proponents of the move predicted that when the rest of the nation was settled, Austin would be the population center. The opposition, led by former president Sam Houston, wanted the government to remain near the current population center, along the Gulf Coast.
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was an attorney born in Georgia, who became a Texas politician, poet, diplomat and soldier. He was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was elected as the second President of the Republic of Texas after Sam Houston. He was known for waging war against bands of Cherokee and Comanche peoples to push them out of Texas, and for establishing a fund to support public education.
The nation's archives were moved to Austin between August 26 and October 14, 1839. Fifty wagons were used. Lamar and his cabinet arrived on October 17. Over the next several years, Comanches staged several raids near Austin. Citizens in the Houston area and the Houston Morning Star editorial board used these as evidence to support their argument that the capital and the archives should be returned to Houston.
The Comanche are a Native American nation from the Great Plains whose historic territory consisted of most of present-day northwestern Texas and adjacent areas in eastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma, and northern Chihuahua. The Comanche people are federally recognized as the Comanche Nation, headquartered in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Sam Houston was elected president again in September 1841. His margin of victory was so large he assumed a mandate to implement his priorities, including moving the capital. Congress continued to reject proposals to move the archives.
Congress adjourned in February 1842. The following month, Mexican troops under General Rafael Vásquez invaded Texas. By March 5, over 1,000 Mexican soldiers were camped in San Antonio.Several days later, a committee of vigilance in Austin recommended martial law and ordered residents to evacuate. A small number of people remained. President Houston returned to the city that bore his name.
Vásquez retreated after a few days. Sam Houston may not have known of this; on March 10, he ordered George Washington Hockley, Secretary of War, to move the archives to Houston. As justification, he cited part of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas which stated "The president and heads of departments shall keep their offices at the seat of government, unless removed by the permission of Congress, or unless, in case of emergency in time of war, the public interest may require their removal."
Colonel Henry Jones, the military commander in Austin, convened a group of citizens to discuss Houston's order. Public sentiment was that Austin was safe, and that Houston's departure had created a lack of confidence in the city, which had resulted in devalued real estate.On March 16, the committee of vigilance resolved that removing the archives was against the law. They formed a patrol at Bastrop to search every wagon and seize any government records found. Sam Houston's private secretary, W.D. Miller, wrote him that Austin residents "would much rather take their rifles to prevent a removal [of the archives] than to fight Mexicans". To resolve the issue, the president called a special session of Congress, which convened in Houston on June 27, 1842. Congress took no action to move the capital.
In September 1842, General Arián Woll led another Mexican expedition into Texas and temporarily captured San Antonio.Houston convened the Seventh Texas Congress at Washington-on-the-Brazos. In his introductory remarks, Houston demanded that Congress support the removal of the archives, over the protests of the "seditious" citizens of Austin, asserting that "as to the propriety and necessity of the act no reasonable doubt could exist". On December 9, Senator Greer proposed "A Bill to provide for the safety of the National Archives". The vote to suspend the rules to allow the bill to pass quickly resulted in a tie; Senate president Edward Burleson, who did not like Sam Houston, cast the deciding vote against the bill. Undeterred, on December 10, Greer introduced another bill to move the General Land Office. He left blank the name of the city to which the office should be moved, resulting in weeks of debate as to which city should be so honored.
On December 10, Houston privately tasked Colonel Thomas I. Smith and Captain Eli Chandler with moving the nation's archives to Washington-on-the-BrazosHouston wrote, "The importance of removing the public archives and government stores from their present dangerous situation at the City of Austin to a place of security, is becoming daily more and more imperative. While they remain where they are, no one knows the hour when they may be utterly destroyed." The men were encouraged to raise a small troop on the premise of conducting an excursion against the native tribes, then quickly secure the archives and transport them.
Smith led over 20 men and 3 wagons into Austin the morning of December 30, 1842. The men were almost finished loading the wagons with papers when they were noticed by Angelina Eberly, the owner of a nearby boarding house.Eberly ran to Congress Avenue, where a six-pound howitzer was situated. She turned the small cannon toward the General Land Office and fired it. Although some shot hit the General Land Office, there was no real damage and no one was injured.
Smith and his men left quickly, headed northeast to avoid the men patrolling the road through Bastrop. 18 miles (29 km) before stopping for the night at Kinney's Fort along Brushy Creek.They were accompanied by two clerks from the General Land Office, who were tasked with ensuring the General Land Office records were not harmed or modified. Their progress was slow; a downpour made roads almost impassable for the already slow-moving oxen. The group managed to travel
In Austin, Captain Mark Lewis gathered a group of men to retrieve the archives. Some of the pursuers had no horses, and some had little or no weaponry.Lewis's men reached Smith's encampment in the middle of the night. They were undetected, as Smith had neglected to post guards. On the morning of December 31, the records were returned to Austin. It is uncertain as to whether Smith's men took them back or if the Austin group took custody of the records and transported them.
The Texas House of Representatives formed a committee to investigate the attempted transferral of the archives. The committee admonished President Houston for his actions in trying to move the capital from Austin without the approval of Congress.A Senate committee reported that they did not agree that Austin should be the capital, but without an immediate threat to the city, Houston had no legal reason to move the records. In 1843, the Senate voted that the archives should be moved if there was not peace with Mexico. The vote was again tied, but this time Burleson cast his deciding vote in favor of the bill. The Texas House rejected it.
The Senate also issued a resolution encouraging Houston to move the governmental agencies back to Austin.Nevertheless, the legislature and government offices continued to run from Washington-on-the-Brazos. Former president Lamar received a letter in March 1843 that said the town of Austin was almost deserted; most businesses were closed, but the archives were still present.
On July 4, 1845, a convention met in Austin to consider the annexation of Texas to the United States. At that time, the governmental records created in Washington-on-the-Brazos were transferred to Austin, creating a single archive.
A statue of Angelina Eberly was erected in 2004 in downtown Austin.
West Columbia is a city in Brazoria County in the U.S. state of Texas. The city is centered on the intersection of Texas Highways 35 & 36, 55 miles (89 km) southwest of downtown Houston. The population was 3,905 at the 2010 census.
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. A detailed, first-hand account of the battle was written by General Houston from Headquarters of the Texian Army, San Jacinto, on April 25, 1836. Numerous secondary analyses and interpretations have followed, several of which are cited and discussed throughout this entry.
The Convention of 1836 was the meeting of elected delegates in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas in March 1836. The Texas Revolution had begun five months previously, and the interim government, known as the Consultation, had wavered over whether to declare independence from Mexico or pledge to uphold the repudiated Mexican Constitution of 1824. Unlike those of previous Texas councils, delegates to the Convention of 1836 were younger, more recent arrivals to Texas, and more adamant on the question of independence. As delegates prepared to convene, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a large army into Texas to quell the revolt; the vanguard of this army arrived at San Antonio de Bexar on February 23.
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas, second Vice President of the Republic of Texas (1839–41), and Secretary of State (1846) for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.
Thomas Jefferson Rusk was an early political and military leader of the Republic of Texas, serving as its first Secretary of War as well as a general at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was later a US politician and served as a Senator from Texas from 1846 until his suicide. He served as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 1857.
The President of the Republic of Texas was the head of state and head of government while Texas was an independent republic between 1836 and 1845.
Mexican Texas is the historiographical name used to refer to the era of Texan history between 1821 and 1836, when it was part of Mexico. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 after winning its war. Initially, Mexican Texas operated similarly to Spanish Texas. Ratification of the 1824 Constitution of Mexico created a federal structure, and the province of Tejas was joined with the province of Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas.
Capital of Texas usually refers to the present capital of Austin, Texas; however several other locations have previously served as the capital of Texas:
The Runaway Scrape events took place mainly between September 1835 and April 1836, and were the evacuations by Texas residents fleeing the Mexican Army of Operations during the Texas Revolution, from the Battle of the Alamo through the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. The ad interim government of the new Republic of Texas and much of the civilian population fled eastward ahead of the Mexican forces. The conflict arose after Antonio López de Santa Anna abrogated the 1824 constitution of Mexico and established martial law in Coahuila y Tejas. The Texians resisted and declared their independence. It was Sam Houston's responsibility, as the appointed commander-in-chief of the Provisional Army of Texas, to recruit and train a military force to defend the population against troops led by Santa Anna.
Angelina Belle Peyton Eberly was an innkeeper and a hero of Austin, Texas in the Texas Archive War.
The U.S. state of Texas declared its secession from the United States of America on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States on March 2, 1861, after it replaced its governor, Sam Houston, when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. As with those of other States, the Declaration was not recognized by the United States government at Washington. Some Texan military units fought in the Civil War east of the Mississippi River, but Texas was most useful for supplying soldiers and horses for Confederate forces. Texas' supply role lasted until mid-1863, after which time Union gunboats controlled the Mississippi River, making large transfers of men, horses or cattle impossible. Some cotton was sold in Mexico, but most of the crop became useless because of the Union naval blockade of Galveston, Houston, and other ports.
This is a timeline of the Republic of Texas, spanning the time from the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, up to the transfer of power to the State of Texas on February 19, 1846.
The recorded history of Austin, Texas, began in the 1830s when Anglo-American settlers arrived in Central Texas. In 1837 settlers founded the village of Waterloo on the banks of the Colorado River, the first permanent settlement in the area. By 1839, Waterloo would adopt the name Austin and become the capital of the Republic of Texas.
Sidney Sherman was a Texan general and a key leader in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution and afterwards.
The Texas Navy was the official navy of the Republic of Texas. It was created to protect and defend the coastline of Texas and offer protection for the shipping and trade that was desperately needed for the growing republic.
Sterling Clack Robertson (1785–1842) was an empresario from Tennessee, during Mexican Texas. He introduced 600 families into Robertson's Colony. Robertson was also an elected delegate to the Washington-on-the-Brazos convention, signing both the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. He became a Senator during the first two sessions of the Congress of the Republic of Texas.
Moseley Baker was the Speaker of the House of the Alabama House of Representatives and served two terms in the Congress of the Republic of Texas, where he led impeachment proceedings against President Sam Houston. During the Texas Revolution, he led a company of men fighting in the Texian Army and was wounded at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was named a brigadier general of the Republic of Texas militia.
Pamelia Dickinson Mann was a pioneer and hotel operator.