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newly established Supreme Court on December 16, 1836, and was a presidential candidate at the time of his death. Gray was accurate in noting the judge's troubled emotional state -- Collinsworth committed suicide on August 15, 1838, by jumping overboard in Galveston Bay. Webb, Handbook, Vol. 1, p. 377.

9. [p.204]  William H. Steele was a Robertson Colony land commissioner at the opening of that office on May 24, 1834. He was from Christian County, Kentucky, and was probably related to the Robertson family. Steele is credited with being the founder of the town of Viesca. McLean, Robertson's Colony, vol. 8, pp. 53-55; vol. 9, pp. 38, 55.

10. [p.204]  On December 21, 1836, Jackson addressed Congress with surprising restraint on the question of Texas recognition. Though supporting the principle of a de facto basis for recognition, the president expressed doubts about whether Texas could maintain its independence against expected military action by Mexico. Not only the Texans but Jackson's northern Whig opponents were caught off guard by this moderation, but Texas minister to Washington William H. Wharton correctly discerned that the administration's political strategy was designed to engineer recognition through the Congress. Stanley Siegel, A Political History of the Texas Republic, 1836-1845, pp. 73-75.

11. [p.205]  The first Texas Cabinet contained many well-recognized and talented figures, including both Henry Smith (treasury) and Stephen F. Austin (state) who were Houston's opponents in the first presidential election. James Pinckney Henderson moved from attorney general to secretary of state in December of 1836 upon the death of Austin. The other posts were initially held by Thomas J. Rusk (war), S. Rhoads Fisher (navy), and Robert Barr (postmaster general). Siegel, Political History of the Texas Republic, pp. 55-56.

12. [p.208]  Copperas is defined as an "impure commercial variety of ferrous sulfate." Copperas is used as a deodorant and disinfectant; ferrous sulfate has been used in anemia cases. Stedman's Medical Dictionary, pp. 319, 520.

13. [p.210]  Again, Gray's initial impression was correct. Felix Huston, widely recognized as a firebrand, had come to Texas after the San Jacinto battle searching for more glory than he had found as a Mississippi Whig politician. He advocated the conquest of Matamoros and helped prevent the release of Santa Anna by the Texas government. President Houston appointed Albert Sidney Johnston as military commander in February, 1837 but General Huston challenged his replacement to a duel, inflicted a serious wound on Johnston, and retained the post as if by battle rite. After luring General Huston from camp to address Congress, President Houston in May, 1837 virtually disbanded the army by offering one-time furloughs, and the outwitted general left the country to resume his law practice. Siegel, Political History of the Texas Republic, pp. 65-66.


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas