Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    "If you...had been less honest, you would have had fewer enemies... Had a Borden been in your situation...Texas would have been...badly corrupted."

    Sam Houston Autograph Letter Signed "Sam Houston" as U.S. Senator with postscript signed "Houston", four full pages, 7.75" x 9.75", front and verso. Washington, June 1, 1848. To Col. Thomas William Ward, Austin. The letter is browned and soiled, with some splitting and is reinforced with old paper which touches some of the writing.

    Eight line unsigned docket on separate leaf by Ward. Houston writes, in part, "I thank you for your last letter and your kind attention to my interest. I am happy that you did not let my money out of your hands to any person... It has been my wish so soon as it could safely be done, to place it in the hands of Mrs Houston. I mean 'safely' by its transmission by safe hands. In your hands I consider it safe. If you Colonel, had been less honest, you would have had fewer enemies... I confided in you to the fullest extent. At this time there are no vacancies in any office, which you could or would accept. If any opportunities should be presented, I feel assured that we would have the support of our delegation in presenting your claims. Rusk is one of your truest & sincerest friends. He [is] a great man, and a noble fellow! I truly hope you will yet reap the reward due to your merits. They have been useful to Texas and saved her millions of acres and of money!!! Had a Borden been in your situation I am satisfied that Texas would have been a great loser, & badly corrupted!...You will please make my best respects & homage to your Lady, and believe me truly your friend!" In a postscript, Houston adds, in full, "P.S. Mrs. H. presented me with a fine babe (a daughter) on the 13th April. Thine, Houston." In the docket, Ward has penned "From/Genl Sam Houston/Washington June 1st 1848/Wishes his money/sent by safe hands/Land Office/U.S. Offices/Birth of his daughter."

    Col. Thomas William (Peg Leg) Ward had fought at the siege of Bexar in December 1835, during which he lost his leg to a cannonball. He returned to New Orleans to be fitted with a peg leg. Returning to Texas in the spring of 1836, Ward was commissioned as a Colonel by Pres. David G. Burnet and served under Gen. Thomas J. Rusk. He served as Commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas from 1841-1848 during which, according to this letter, he "saved her[Texas] millions of acres." Thomas J. Rusk was Houston's Texas colleague in the U.S. Senate and had previously served as Secretary of War for the Republic. Margaret Lea Houston, Sam's second daughter and third of eight children, was born on April 13, 1848, named for her mother, Margaret Lea Houston. In 1837, Texas Pres. Sam Houston had appointed John P. Borden as the first Commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas. Borden resigned on December 12, 1840 out of frustration; he needed more funding, manpower, and authority for the land office that was responsible for administering 216 million acres of Texas lands. He was succeeded in 1841 by Thomas William Ward, the recipient of this letter. John's brother, Gail Borden, Jr. was Collector of the Port of Galveston from 1841-1843; he resigned after a dispute with Pres. Sam Houston over evaluation of exchequers. Hence, Houston's opinion of the Bordens.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 617

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold on Jun 14, 2008 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 9 - 10 Books Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search