Description[Old Three Hundred]. William Barret Travis and David G. Burnet Legal Document Signed. Two pages, 8" x 13.25", "San Felipe de Austin," December 19, 1834. Hiram M. Thompson, a resident of San Felipe de Austin and the son of Jesse Thompson (circa 1776-1834), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, petitioned the local judge, David G. Burnet, to be assigned as the "curator" of his father's estate. The elder Thompson had recently been killed and "departed this life leaving considerable property consisting of Land, negroes, stock, &c.," but had "left his affairs in a very complicated situation, being indebted to a considerable[?] amount & having a considerable amount of debts due him." A short paragraph following the signed petition attests that Burnet has agreed and is appointing Thompson curator. Travis signs "W.B.Travis" as a witness. Countersigned by Hiram M. Thompson. The document is heavily damaged with resulting loss of paper in places, but has been expertly repaired, though there is some loss of text. Remaining text is faded (or entirely missing) in places, making reading difficult at times, but is generally legible. Unevenly stained throughout.
Hiram's father, the late Jesse Thompson, had arrived with his family sometime in 1823. The following year, on August 7, 1824, he received a sitio of land in Brazoria County, the site of Stephen F. Austin's colony. By 1828, Thompson had moved his family to neighboring Fort Bend County where he operated a ferry across the Brazos River. In 1833, Thompson began quarrelling with his neighbor, Thomas H. Borden (a fellow Old Three Hundred member who had served for a time as Stephen F. Austin's official surveyor), over a piece of land. Tensions between the two men swelled until Borden shot Thompson dead the following year.
Before settling in Texas, David G. Burnet had studied law in Cincinnati, Ohio. Having suffered a string of business failures (before and after settlement in Texas), Burnet had hopes of putting his law studies to use by becoming the chief justice of the new Texas Supreme Court which was to be established in 1834. Instead he was appointed head of the Brazos District Court and it was in this capacity that he signed the above petition. Eleven days after the fall of the Alamo, Burnet was elected as interim president of the Republic of Texas, a position that he would hold until October 1836. He would go on to serve as the second vice president under Mirabeau B. Lamar and first secretary of state for the State of Texas from 1846 through 1848, but by 1856, after failed bids at acquiring positions as a United States district judge and Galveston customs collector, he was making a meager living as a subsistence farmer.
William Barret Travis had studied law in Claiborne, Alabama, and was a practicing attorney in Gosport prior to his arrival in Texas in 1831, quickly establishing a law office in Anahuac. Following the disturbances at that city in 1832, he moved his law practice to nearby San Felipe de Austin. By July 1835 open rebellion had erupted and Travis joined the fight. In December 1835 he was been given a lieutenant colonel's commission of cavalry in the Texan army and shortly after was ordered to defend San Antonio de Bexar by reinforcing the Texan force already occupying the Alamo. Travis and his men arrived on February 3, 1836, and nine days later he was given overall command of the garrison. On February 22, Santa Anna and his army had arrived and began a thirteen day siege. The assault of the Alamo came on March 6. Travis perished (he died early in the battle with a single gunshot wound to the head) in the battle with 188 fellow Texas patriots.
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