Description[Texas Revolution: Henry M. Morfit] Autograph Letter Signed Requesting Land for the Family of a Victim of the Goliad Massacre. One and a half pages, 7.75" x 9.75", February 7, 1839, Washington. This letter was written by William P. A. Bell [?] on behalf of Louisa Barton, the widowed sister of his wife. Louisa's husband, Thomas B. Barton, "was killed at Goliad on the 27th March 1836 whilst in the service of said republic" and Bell wants to "ascertain what quantity of land she [his sister-in-law] is entitled to recieve [sic] from the Republic of Texas."
Three years earlier as the Texians were rebelling against the Mexican government, Colonel James Fannin was in command of 500 men at Fort Defiance at Goliad, located in far southeast Texas. Asked by William B. Travis in February of 1836 for help at the Alamo against Santa Anna's army, Fannin hesitated and never supplied aid. He also hesitated in early March when ordered by General Sam Houston to evacuate Goliad. Attacked by a much larger Mexican force, Fannin surrendered on March 20, not knowing that Santa Anna had decreed the execution of all rebels. On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, over 300 Texian soldiers, including Louisa Barton's husband, were marched out of Goliad and executed.
In December 1837, the Republic of Texas passed an act granting the survivors of the Goliad massacre bounty warrants. Aware of the act, Bell writes that he had been "informed that those who were killed at Goliad were entitled to a double portion, say 5120 acres of land and that those whose intentions it was to bring their families to Texas were entitled to one square league & a labor of land in addition to the foregoing allowance. Thomas B. Barton has left a widow, Louisa Barton and two children. Elizabeth Barton & Thomas Barton the first 15 years old the latter about 13 years old." Directing this request to Henry Morfit, Bell ends by writing, "you will understand this matter better than I and to you I trust the whole business."
Henry M. Morfit was a U.S. emissary sent to Texas in the summer of 1836 by President Andrew Jackson to gather information about the young Republic of Texas. His report, sent in a series of letters during August and September of 1836, recommended that the U.S. withhold immediate recognition of the Republic. This letter, written in bold, dark ink on the first two of four integral pages, is addressed on the back page. The red seal has been torn away causing a small paper loss. Near fine.
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