The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE W. SMYTH1
WITH INTRODUCTORY NOTE BY WINNIE ALLEN
Jasper Texas
Sept 18th 1857
My Dear Sir
In compliance with your request I proceed to give you a few
facts & incidents relative to my humble history, though it will
be confined to facts merely, for I cannot pretend to enter upon
an autobiography.
I was born in the State of North Carolina on the 16th of May
1803. My recollection, however, of the old "North State" is very
imperfect, as my father emigrated to the State of Tennessee
when I was but three years old. [Still, I have an indistinct
recollection of some childish incidents in that State, and some
that happened on the road as we journied to Tennessee.]2
Here, I can not do justice to my own feelings without saying
something relative to those kind and indulgent parents by whose
care I was brought up; for though blessed with few of the ad-
vantages of education or fortune they were honest and industri-
1The George W. Smyth Papers, 1819-1892, of which this document is
a part, were recently presented, through the efforts of J. Evetts Haley,
to the University of Texas Library by Smyth's grandchildren, Emily Smyth
Cheesman and Sarah Smyth Walden, of Beaumont, Texas, and J. Blewett
Smyth, of San Antonio. The collection of 2,344 documents numbers 4,466
pages of manuscript material. The papers touch practically all subjects
of political or personal interest to the Texas pioneer or prospective im-
migrant.
A signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and of the Consti-
tution of the Republic, Smyth, for more than thirty years, was an active
participant in shaping political life in Texas. He served as surveyor,
Land Commissioner, Congressman in the Republic of Texas, and, later,
the United States. His opposition to secession brought a cessation of
public service, but in 1866 he was called upon as a member of the Con-
stitutional Convention in spite of his previous attitude, and it was while
serving in this capacity that he met his death on February 21. Many
o the eighty-one plats of land in the collection are the first that were
made for the purpose of giving title; a study of the 203 drafts of letters
which he kept for his files shows that this land interest predominated in
his early years, but was overshadowed by more spectacular questions as
he became more deeply involved in the political life of his state and
nation.
D. S. Kaufman, Thomas F. McKinney, John Durst, S. H. Everett,
George Antonio Nixon, John H. Reagan, Thomas J. Rusk, Adolphus
Sterne, and Frost Thorne were among his correspondents. Many letters

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/. Accessed July 28, 2014.