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March 02 , 2008

Texas in 1837

An Anonymous, Contemporary Narrative


Written anonymously in 1838–39 by a "Citizen of Ohio," Texas in 1837 is the earliest known account of the first year of the Texas republic. Providing information nowhere else available, the still-unknown author describes a land rich in potential but at the time "a more suitable arena for those who have everything to make and nothing to lose than [for] the man of capital or family."The author arrived at Galveston Island on March 22, 1837, before the city of Galveston was founded, and spent the next six months in the republic. His travels took him to Houston, then little more than a camp made up of brush shelters and jerry-built houses, and as far west as San Antonio. He observed and was generally unimpressed by governmental and social structures just beginning to take shape. He attended the first anniversary celebration of the Battle of San Jacinto and has left a memorable account of Texas' first Independence Day. His inquiring mind and objective, actue observations of early Texas provide us a way of returning to the past, revisiting landmarks that have vanished forever.

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