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    Promissory not to Stephen Austin signed by Jesse Leftwich of Robertson's Colony: one of only three known examples

    [Stephen F. Austin] Partly Printed Document. Being a printed form for a promissory note. [San Felipe de Austin: G. B. Cotton, 1829]. May 13, 1830, 1 p., oblong 16mo. Signed by Jesse Leftwich. Light soiling and browning, with occasional minor chips at edges. Matted and framed, under glass. Fine and desirable.

    This promissory note, completed in manuscript, begins: $50.00 San Felipe de Austin, [13 May 1830] Having been Received by S. F. Austin, as One of the Settlers under His Contracts with Government, in Conformity with the Terms Published by Him, 20th November, 1829: I Promise to Pay to Said S. F. Austin....

    On March 22, 1822, a group of Nashville citizens, calling themselves the Texas Association, made a formal request to the Mexican government for permission to settle in Texas. Robert Leftwich, their most active member, eventually did obtain a contract to settle 800 families along the Navasota River, but by the time it was awarded (April 15, 1825) the Association had run out of money. Using his own funds, Leftwich got the contract in his name, as well as the authority to form a militia within the colony.

    Upon his return to Tennessee, he sold the contract to the Texas Association on the condition that the tract be known ever after as Leftwich's Grant. Failing health prevented Leftwich from returning to take claim of his namesake colony and little is known of his subsequent activities. Late in the summer of 1826, claims against him in the court of San Augustine ultimately resulted in the colony being renamed Robertson's Colony.

    Little is known of Jesse Leftwich, other than his Pittsylvania County, Virginia mercantile business partnership with his brother (1802-1806), but as evidenced by this document, it is clear that Jesse eventually arrived at the Texas colony originally granted to his brother.

    The value of this piece lies not only in its association to Stephen Austin and Robert Leftwich, but also in the fact that it is the first printing of an early Texas imprint, the tenth item recorded by Streeter as having been printed in Texas.

    Reference: Streeter 10 (locating three copies: two in Texas and one at Yale).


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st-3rd Saturday-Monday
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