DescriptionStephen F. Austin Autograph Document Signed. One page, 8" x 3.5", n.p., [ca. November 1836]. Austin, acting as the first secretary of state of the Republic of Texas, requests a horse from one of his Old Three Hundred. In full:
"Mr. David Randon - If you or your neighbors have a horse that will do for an express I wish you to let Mr. Digger have him. I am authorized by the President of Texas to promise pay for the expenses of this express.
[Signed] S. F. Austin."
Four months after Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna's Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, the citizens of the newly formed Republic of Texas held their first presidential election. Stephen Austin had been so confident that he would win that he had offered the office of secretary of state to William S. Archer. Unfortunately, Houston, the hero of the Texas Revolution, announced his candidacy at the last minute and was overwhelmingly elected on September 5, 1836. Houston, one of the first to revere Austin as the "Father of Texas", respectfully chose him as his own secretary of state on October 28. Acting in that capacity, Austin wrote this request for a horse from David Randon sometime between his appointment in late October and his death two months later on December 27, 1836.
David Randon was one of Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. He had taken an active part in the Texas Revolution, urging war and organizing militias. By the time this request was made of him by Austin, he was a slave-owning plantation owner living in Fort Bend County. According to the docketing on the verso, which is in another hand, Randon was unable to comply with the state secretary's request: "No Horse Recd. from Mr. Landrum [sic]."
It appears that Austin originally wrote and signed the note in pencil. He subsequently re-wrote it in ink and added a sentence - likely to assuage fears of non-payment - asserting that he was authorized to pay for the horse by "the President of Texas." The result is that the first three and one-half lines have evidence of pencil beneath the ink and a second "S. F. Austin" signature within the text (directly beneath the fourth line). A stain from the original seal is in the top left corner.
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