Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Galveston Research Summary #6 - Texas General Land Office

"The physicians one and all have pronounced the prevailing disease yellow fever; there are upwards of a hundred cases of it and although it is in rather a mild form, of it two to five persons are buried every day..." - Galveston, Texas, Letter, Dudley H. Ward to Thomas H. Ward, September 14, 1864

Previous "Galveston Research Summaries" can be fou
nd below:

#1 - Dissent, Sedition, and Confederate Secret Police (here)

#2 - Ursuline Sisters (here)

#3 - The Pearce Civil War Museum and Collection (here)

#4 - New Orleans Archdiocese Records a the Archives of the University of Notre Dame (here)

#5 - Digital Resources at Rice University (here)

Summary of Galveston/Civil War Research Proje
ct (here)

And now, for the latest in Galveston Research Summaries (!):

The Texas General Land Office (TGLO) is a state agency of Texas. It manages state-controlled lands and mineral rights properties. The agency originally collected and kept records regarding lands controlled by the state. The agency has its headquarters in the Stephen F. Austin State Office Building in Downtown Austin.

The "History and Archives" division of the TGLO is an important resource as explained on its website: Established in 1837, the Archives consist of land grant records and maps dating to the 18th century that detail the passage of Texas public lands to private ownership. Many of these documents continue to be used even today by surveyors, land men and others researching land ownership. The rich primary source material also makes the Archives a haven for genealogists, historians, archeologists and students. Because of the unique nature and the historical value of the Archives, the Texas General Land Office is dedicated to preserving these materials and improving access for all Texans. Through stewardship, innovation, and commitment to quality customer service, the goal of the Texas General Land Office is to make these archival holdings available to the broadest audience at the lowest cost and to advance a greater understanding and appreciation of Texas history.


As it turns out the TGLO has some old (it's an archive, right?!) and some relatively new and interesting material in its collection that I think will enliven and inform my research and writing on Galv
eston and the Civil War!

First - CIVIL WAR MAPS! Maps are the heart of the TGLO History and Archives Division...many of the maps are digitized and other maps are available at a nominal cost...maps are more than just history and information...they are also truly works of art! Some of the maps of interest to me include sketches of the Galveston defenses during the Civil War.

Second - COLLECTIONS OF CIVIL WAR LETTERS - although not the state's primary repository of manuscripts, the TGLO does maintain several Civil War letter collections, which are describes here.

For my purposes, the most interesting and important of these collections are the Dudley H. Ward Papers:

Dudley H. Ward - Confederate soldier and prisoner of war, was born in 1845 in Austin, Texas. His father was Thomas William "Peg Leg" Ward, an Irish immigrant who fought in the Texas Revolution, served as mayor of Austin and as the second Land Commissioner of Texas, and for whom the county of Ward is named. From the ages of eleven to fifteen, Dudley H. Ward resided in New York City with his mother, Susan Marston Ward, and received an education before returning to Texas with his father in 1860. Ward enlisted as a private in Company G, 2nd Texas Volunteer Infantry. He was captured at the siege of Vicksburg and held as a prisoner of war in the hands of the United States Forces. Ward was paroled July 7, 1863.

The Dudley H. Ward Civil War Letters, 1863-1864, contain correspondence with family and one document. Notable correspondence includes letters to his father from the siege at Vicksburg and from Galveston during a yellow fever epidemic.

So you can see why they are of GREAT interest!

What's more, the letters were only recently (2007) purchased at auction and even more recently (2009) processed, so they have not been used much in Galveston Civil War scholarship as of yet!

Check out the Texas General Land Office website yourself...maybe they have something that can help you!

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