James Harper Starr: Financier of the Republic of Texas. By John
Nathan Cravens. Austin (The Daughters of the Republic of
Texas), 1950o. Pp. xiv+195. $3.50.
The name of James Harper Starr is familiar to all who have
used the Archives Collection at the University of Texas, but the
facts of the life of this early Texas patriot were little known until
the publication of the present work which was brought out by
the Daughters of the Republic of Texas as the first of a series of
books to be financed by the James Harper Starr Publication Fund
for Texas History.
James Harper Starr was born in Connecticut in 180g, was edu-
cated for a medical career in Ohio, and settled temporarily in
Georgia before coming to Texas in 1837. Once Starr was settled
in Nacogdoches his career became that of Indian fighter, alder-
man, juror, chairman of the county board of land commissioners,
and physician for whites and slaves alike.
The public service for which Starr was perhaps best known
during the days of the Republic was as secretary of the treasury.
He was appointed by Mirabeau B. Lamar in 1839 to fill the
vacated post and served until his personal business caused him
to resign in 1840. The scope of the secretary's responsibilities
ranged from dealing with the revenue officers at various ports of
entry to furthering the efforts to obtain a foreign loan for the
young Republic. As secretary of the treasury, Starr was conscien-
tious and efficient, but inefficiencies in the department handi-
capped his work.
Upon his return to Nacogdoches, Starr took up his medical
practice while administering his estate and that of his deceased
brother. His land business grew so that he could no longer devote
full attention to his medical service; consequently, in 1844, he
reluctantly abandoned the practice of medicine and became a
land agent in partnership with Nathaniel C. Armory. Because
of Starr's outstanding ability and his knowledge of the techni-
calities of the land laws, the agency was a success from the begin-
ning. He represented the interests of landowners from other
states and was particularly helpful in administering estates for
heirs to land in the area. Along with his land agency, Starr
developed what was probably the first bank in Nacogdoches.
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 September 23, 2014.