te -ecas azette, 1829-1831
CHARLES A. BACARISSE
THE Texas Gazette played an important part in the great
drama of the westward movement of the Anglo-Americans
into the Mexican province of Texas. Although it was not
the first newspaper to be printed in Texas, it was, as far as is
known today, the first to be printed in Austin's Colony.'
The purpose of this study is to tell the story of the founder
of the Texas Gazette; to trace the development of the Gazette
through its first fifty-two numbers, which covered little more
than a year; and, finally, to show the place and service of the
newspaper in Texas history.
Little is actually known about Godwin B. Cotten, who, in 1829,
began publishing the Texas Gazette at San Felipe de Austin. The
earliest knowledge of Cotten is as an officer serving with the
forces of Jos6 Alvarez de Toledo who, in 1813, was engaged
in an effort to overthrow the Spanish control of Texas. During
this period Cotten would have been twenty-two years of age,
"more than enough to have been connected with Toledo's expe-
dition."" With the Toledo expedition was a printer named Moore
who printed irregularly a small newspaper called El Mejicano.
Cotten may have served his apprenticeship under Moore. From
1815 to 1816 Cotten was the publisher of the Louisiana Gazette
at New Orleans," and from 1816 to June 23, 1819, of the Mobile
'Duncan W. Robinson states that the Texas Gazette was "not the first Texas
newspaper and not even the first to have been issued in Austin's colony. .." He
gives as his authority for this statement E. C. Barker (ed.), "Notes on Early Texas
Newspapers, 1819-1836," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXI, 127. Since that
article was written, Professor Barker has discovered that the date on Austin's
letter to J. H. Bell given as July 5, 1824, was a mistake. The date that Austin had
written was "July 5, 18-" and someone else had added the "24" to the date. Since
it was on the basis of this confused date that Professor Barker had supposed that
there was an earlier newspaper than the Gazette in Austin's colony and since he
now feels that the date should be July 5, 183o, as concluded from evidence in the
letter, it is reasonable to assume that the paper Austin mentioned was the Gazette.
See Duncan W. Robinson, Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson: Texas' Three-Legged
Willie (Austin, 1948), 51.
2Ike H. Moore, "The Earliest Printing and First Newspaper in Texas," South-
western Historical Quarterly, XXXIX, 98.
3Douglas C. McMurtrie, "Pioneer Printing in Texas," ibid., XXXV, 182.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/. Accessed July 22, 2014.