DescriptionThomas F. McKinney Autograph Letter Signed 3 pages, 8" x 9.75", Galveston, Dec. 3, 1841 to Sam Houston at Austin withdrawing his request to be appointed as Texas Consul at New Orleans. Promising on his next visit with Houston to explain his actions, he warns against the appointment of "Mr. P. Edmunds of Galveston...[who] left the United States for forgery and Since he has been in Galveston has again been guilty of the Same offence and while for the sake of his wife who is a worthy lady and his helpless children I would be glad to see him prosper in business and make a living yet I do think he treats you badly and attempts to abuse your confidence applying for office. I do not with to injure Edmunds unnecessarily these facts are only known to a few in Galveston who for the sake of his family will not expose him. I have seen the paper and while I would be unwilling that this letter should be come public to his inquiry I am willing & desire that should you act upon it you furnish him a copy and give him an opportunity to vindicate himself..." With integral address leaf.
Thomas Freeman McKinney (1801-73) was a prominent trader and stock raiser. Born in Kentucky, his family moved first to southern Illinois and then Randolph County, Missouri. McKinney went to Santa Fe in 1823 and then Chihuahua, Durango, Saltillo, and Bexar. In 1824 he received a league on the Brazos River from Stephen F. Austin, but a trip to Ayish Bayou, where his uncle Stephen Prather had a trading post, convinced him that the Nacogdoches area was best for trade. He married Nancy Watts in 1827 and kept a store on the square in Nacogdoches until 1830. In 1834 he became senior partner with Samuel May Williams in McKinney and Williams, a firm located on the Brazos; Williams supplied the bookkeeping and commercial contacts in the United States, while Mckinney collected and shipped the cotton. The firm developed Quintana at the mouth of the river in 1835 and used its credit to help finance the Texas Revolution. Though he refused commissions as commissary general and loan agent, he continued to forward men and supplies to the Texas army. He and Williams joined Menard in 1833 in a scheme to claim Galveston Island, and in 1836 they combined with others to secure a charter for the Galveston City Company. The firm had a wharf and warehouse on the island in October 1837, when Racer's Hurricane struck and severely damaged their property. McKinney withdrew from the partnership with Williams in 1842 and devoted himself to trading and stock raising, first on the island, where he had a race course, and in 1850 in Travis County, where he constructed a fine stone house, a gristmill, and another quarter horse track opposite the capital city. He also served as state senator from Galveston in 1846 and as representative in 1849. He was a member of the Democratic party and a Unionist in 1860-61. He had opposed independence, annexation, and secession, but once each was accomplished, he worked to support the government. He served the Confederacy as a special cotton agent and made several trips to Mexico with cotton, but the duplicity of various individuals and the confusion of the times left him liable for contracted debts. This burden, along with the loss of about fourteen slaves, crippled him financially. Usual folds, small loss from seal tear, a few contemporary ink smudges, else fine condition. From the collection of Darrel Brown.
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