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George Washington Smyth papers

George Washington Smyth:
An Inventory of the George Washington Smyth Papers at the Texas State Archives, 1833-1865, undated, bulk 1836-1841

 

Organization History Scope and Contents Restrictions Related Materials Inventory
Record of Land Titles Signed by George W. Smyth

Record of Land Titles Signed by George W. Smyth

Overview

Creator: Smyth, G. W. (George Washington), 1803-1866
Title: George Washington Smyth papers
Dates: 1833-1865, undated, bulk 1836-1841
Abstract: George Washington Smyth was a surveyor, land commissioner, judge, and congressman in the early days of both the Republic of Texas and the United States governments. As a member of the Texas Convention of 1836, Smyth co-wrote and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and signed the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in early March 1836. The George Washington Smyth papers relate chiefly to his time as a surveyor and land commissioner at the eastern boundary of Texas, near Nacogdoches. The bulk of the papers consist of documents and correspondence created during Smyth’s work with the boundary commission. Documents include boundary commission accounts, purchasing inventories, meeting minutes, a land title, and memoranda, dating 1833-1856, undated, bulk 1836-1841.
Quantity: 0.25 cubic ft.
Language: English
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

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Other Formats for the Papers

A description of the original records referenced in this finding aid is available at http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/90056/tsl-90056.html .


Arrangement of the Papers

These papers are arranged loosely by document type.


Biographical Sketch: George Washington Smyth

George Washington Smyth, surveyor, land commissioner, judge, and congressman was born in North Carolina on May 16, 1803, to German millwright Andrew Smyth and his wife. As a child, he moved several times between Alabama and Tennessee. Smyth attended schools in Maury County, Tennessee, and the college of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Against the wishes of his parents, he left home for Texas in 1828.

Smyth arrived in Texas on February 11, 1830, and briefly taught at a school in Nacogdoches. Soon after, surveyor general Thomas Jefferson Chambers appointed Smyth as surveyor of Bevil’s Settlement, a loosely defined community of pre-Republic of Texas settlers located between the Neches and Sabine rivers. In 1834, he married Frances M. Grigsby, with whom he had seven children. He served as land commissioner for Nacogdoches until the office was closed on December 19, 1835. In 1835, he served as a delegate to the General Consultation of Texas at San Felipe de Austin. In that same year, he was appointed first judge of the Bevil Municipality by the General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas.

As a member of the Convention of 1836, Smyth co-wrote and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and signed the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in early March 1836. During this time, Smyth and his family took part in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing their home in fear of the invading Mexican Army. On April 21, 1836, Smyth gathered sixteen men to join the Battle of San Jacinto, but they arrived after the battle was over. In 1839, Mirabeau B. Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas, appointed Smyth to the commission in charge of setting the Texas-United States boundaries. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1844, he was an avid supporter of the annexation of Texas to the United States as well as a member of the convention that drew up the Constitution of 1845. From March 1848 to 1851, Smyth served as the second commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. Smyth served as a Democratic Representative with the 33rd United States Congress (1853-1855), but declined a re-nomination in 1855.

After serving in Congress, Smyth returned to his farm in Jasper County, Texas. Although Smyth opposed secession from the Union, his sons served with the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he served in his last political position as a delegate to the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1866 in February of that year. He died on February 21, 1866, in Austin, Texas, while attending a session of the convention. He is buried in the State Cemetery.

(Sources include: Smyth, George W., “The Autobiography of George W. Smyth,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36 (January 1933): 200-214, accessed through the Texas State Historical Association Online; Wooster, Robert, “Smyth, George Washington,” Handbook of Texas Online; “Smyth, George Washington, (1803-1866),” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; all sources accessed on March 15, 2019.)


Scope and Contents of the Papers

George Washington Smyth was a surveyor, land commissioner, judge, and congressman in the early days of both the Republic of Texas and the United States governments. The George Washington Smyth papers cover his time as a surveyor and land commissioner at the eastern boundary of Texas, near Nacogdoches, dating 1833-1865 and undated. The bulk of the papers consist of documents and correspondence dating 1836-1841, created during his work with the boundary commission. Documents include boundary commission accounts, purchasing inventories, meeting minutes, a land title, and memoranda, which are interfiled between boundary agreements and correspondence. Many of the boundary agreement documents deal with the Texas Department of State and include such signatories as Memucan Hunt and Abner S. Lipscomb. Located within the papers, an 1839 signed declaration by Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Smyth to the positions of boundary commissioner and surveyor to run the boundary line between the United States and Texas. Three boundary treaties dated from 1838 and 1839 and signed by David G. Burnet outline boundary agreements between the United States and Texas as well as between the United States and Mexico. Correspondence includes letters with David G. Burnet, Mirabeau B. Lamar, James Kearney, Abner S. Lipscomb, James S. Mayfield, and Smyth’s father. The papers also include a hand-drawn survey map of the Sabine River; large newspaper clippings from The Standard, The Galveston Daily News, and the Texas State Gazette, dating from the mid-nineteenth century; and several pages from Smyth’s professional journal during his time with the boundary commission. Some of the documents within the papers have deteriorated to fragments.

Researchers should be advised that variations of the name Smyth, such as Smythe and Smith, are present throughout the papers and reflected as such in the item level descriptions.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished works are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. The term of copyright for published material varies. Researchers are responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.). All creators have been dead for more than 70 years, so the collection is open for use.


The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas (Republic) Department of State diplomatic correspondence, 1831-1832, 1835-1846, undated, 6.9 cubic ft., 3 microfilm reels
Texas Department of State records of legislative and executive bodies prior to the Republic, 1835-1836, undated, 2.64 cubic ft., 1 microfilm reel
Texas Department of State treaties between the Republic of Texas and other nations, 1838-1844, 3.59 cubic ft.
Texas Secretary of State general correspondence of the Department of State, Republic of Texas, 1822-1859, undated, bulk 1835-1846, 4.96 cubic ft., 4 microfilm reels
Texas General Land Office incoming correspondence, 1837-1899, 374.25 cubic ft., 7 volumes
John H. Reagan collection, 1835-1892, 1905, undated, bulk 1835-1887, 1.75 cubic ft.
Texas Constitutional Conventions records, 1845-1846, 1860-1861, 1866-1871, 1875, undated, 5.02 cubic ft.
Texas Secretary of State boundary records, 1837-1843, 1858-1860, 1873-1877, 1882, 1885-1887, 1911, undated, 1.5 cubic ft.
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
George Washington Smyth Papers, 1819-1892, 1912-1960, 3 ft., 1 in.
Andrew F. Smyth Papers, 1799-1800, 1832-1990, 6 ft., 7 in.
William Seale Items, ca. 1844-ca. 1878, 1 in.
Texas General Land Office, Archives and Records
Commissioner Reports, 1837-2017, 8.21 linear ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), George Washington Smyth papers. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information
Accession number: 1911/006

These papers were donated on November 28, 1911, by Mrs. George W. Smyth Jr. and the grandchildren of George W. Smyth Sr.

Processing Information
Processed by State Archives staff, dates unknown

Item-level processing, EAD encoding, and Texas Digital Archive links added by Jana Zevnik, March 2019


Inventory of the George Washington Smyth papers

Box Folder-Item
2-23/995 1-1 Texas State Gazette, October 14, 1854 [4 pages]
[Newspaper clipping.]
1-2 The Standard, April 16, 1859 [4 pages]
[Newspaper clipping.]
1-3 The Galveston Daily News, September 29, 1865 [4 pages]
[Newspaper clipping.]
2-1 Letter from George W. Smyth to Andrew Smyth, April 14, 1833 [2 pages]
2-2 Letter from George W. Smyth to Andrew Smyth, March 27, 1836 [4 pages]
2-3 Letter from George W. Smyth to Andrew Smyth, June 11, 1835 [4 pages]
[Fragment.]
2-4 Letter from George W. Smyth to Andrew Smyth, March 6, 1836 [2 pages]
2-5 Envelope addressed to Andrew Smyth, undated [1 page]
3-1 Letter from David G. Burnet to Memucan Hunt, December 10, 1839 [2 pages]
3-2 General Hunt’s instructions, undated [1 page]
[Fragment.]
3-3 Letter from David G. Burnet to George W. Smith, June 24, 1839 [2 pages]
3-4 Letter from George W. Smythe to unknown recipient, undated [3 pages]
3-5 Untitled correspondence, 1839 [2 pages]
3-6 Untitled correspondence, undated [1 page]
3-7 Untitled correspondence, 1839 [2 pages]
3-8 Letter from George W. Smythe to David G. Burnet, December 1, 1839 [4 pages]
4-1 Appointment statement by Mirabeau B. Lamar, November 17, 1840 [1 page]
4-2 Articles of agreement, January 18, 1840 [3 pages]
4-3 Camp inventory list, January 21, 1840 [2 pages]
4-4 Sabine Pass correspondence, March 17, 1840 [2 pages]
4-5 Untitled correspondence, undated [1 page]
4-6 Letter from Abner Lipscomb to unknown recipient, April 2, 1840 [3 pages]
4-7 Untitled correspondence, May 20, 1840 [2 pages]
4-8 Untitled correspondence, May 2, 1840 [2 pages]
4-9 Boundary demarcation statement, May 21, 1840 [2 pages]
4-10 Letter from Hunt to unknown recipient, May 22, 1840 [2 pages]
4-11 Letter from Abner S. Lipscomb to Memucan Hunt, May 7, 1840 [1 page]
4-12 Letter from Abner S. Lipscomb to George W. Smyth, May 7, 1840 [2 pages]
4-13 Letter from George W. Smyth to Secretary of State, May 23, 1840 [4 pages]
4-14 Letter from Memucan Hunt to George W. Smyth, May 29, 1840 [3 pages]
4-15 Letter from George W. Smyth to Captain Pillans, undated [2 pages]
4-16 Letter from George W. Smyth to Captain Pillans, undated [2 pages]
4-17 Letter from Captain Pillans to George W. Smythe, May 28, 1840 [2 pages]
4-18 Letter to Secretary of State, June 17, 1840 [4 pages]
4-19 Letter from Captain Pillans to George W. Smythe, May 30, 1840 [3 pages]
4-20 Appointment statement by Mirabeau B. Lamar, July 24, 1839 [1 page]
4-21 Joint resolution, November 28, 1840 [3 pages]
4-22 Letter from Abner S. Lipscomb to unknown recipient, November 28, 1840 [2 pages]
4-23 Letter from George W. Smyth to Secretary of State, May 3, 1841 [4 pages]
4-24 Letter from S.H. Everitt to George W. Smyth, November 29, 1840 [4 pages]
[Includes mathematical notes.]
4-25 Boundary statement, July 11, 1841 [2 pages]
4-26 Letter from George W. Smythe to John H. Overton, October 23, 1841 [1 page]
4-27 Letter from David G. Burnet to Memucan Hunt, January 15, 1840 [4 pages]
4-28 Letter from Mirabeau B. Lamar to George W. Smyth, May 13, 1839 [2 pages]
4-29 Letter from Mirabeau B. Lamar to George W. Smyth, May 23, 1839 [2 pages]
4-30 Letter from David G. Burnet to Memucan Hunt, December 5, 1839 [2 pages]
4-31 Letter from George W. Smyth to Joseph Grigsby, December 11, 1835 [3 pages]
4-32 Letter from David G. Burnet to Memucan Hunt, December 2, 1839 [1 page]
4-33 Commissioner appointment act, June 12, 1837 [1 page]
4-34 Appointment statement by Mirabeau B. Lamar, May 1, 1840 [1 page]
5-1 Boundary treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Texas, April 25, 1838 [2 pages]
5-2 Boundary treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Texas, November 23, 1839 [1 page]
5-3 Boundary treaty between the United States of America and the United Mexican States, November 30, 1839 [2 pages]
6-1 Letter from George W. Smyth to Andrew Gray, February 1841 [1 page]
6-2 Letter from James Kearney to George W. Smith, February 8, 1841 [2 pages]
6-3 Letter from George W. Smyth to unknown recipient, February 1841 [1 page]
6-4 Letter from George W. Smythe to Abner S. Lipscomb, January 12, 1841 [2 pages]
6-5 Letter from Mayfield to George W. Smyth, April 3, 1841 [2 pages]
6-6 Purchasing invoice, June 23, 1841 [4 pages]
6-7 Letter to Secretary of State Mayfield, July 20, 1841 [3 pages]
6-8 Letter from George W. Smythe to unknown recipient, July 26, 1841 [2 pages]
6-9 Purchasing invoice duplicate, September 25, 1841 [1 page]
6-10 Purchasing invoice duplicate, September 25, 1841 [1 page]
6-11 Letter from J.H. Overton to George W. Smyth, October 2, 1841 [3 pages]
7-1 Minutes of the boundary commission, undated [1 page]
8-1 Charles Rossignol statement, undated [4 pages]
9-1 Fragment, undated [2 pages]
9-2 Fragment with mathematical figures, undated [2 pages]
9-3 Fragment, undated [2 pages]
9-4 Fragmentary notes, undated [1 page]
9-5 Fragment, undated [1 page]
9-6 Letter fragment, undated [4 pages]
9-7 Fragment, undated [2 pages]
9-8 Boundary notes fragment, undated [1 page]
10-1 Journal pages, about 1839 [4 pages]
10-2 Boundary statement, 1841 [1 page]
10-3 Journal pages, about 1841 [2 pages]
11-1 Record of land titles signed by George W. Smyth, undated [1 page]
12-1 List, January 24, 1841 [1 page]
12-2 Memorandum of goods, undated [1 page]
12-3 Accounts record, undated [2 pages]
12-4 Accounts record fragment, undated [2 pages]
12-5 Payment memorandum, undated [1 page]
12-6 Payment notes, undated [1 page]
12-7 Accounts record booklet, undated [9 pages]
13-1 Envelope addressed to George W. Smyth, undated [1 page]
13-2 Envelope addressed to George W. Smythe, undated [1 page]
13-3 Envelope addressed to George W. Smyth, undated [1 page]
13-4 Envelope addressed to Andrew Smyth, undated [1 page]
13-5 Envelope addressed to George W. Smyth, undated [1 page]
14-1 Survey map of the Sabine River, undated [1 page]
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