Notes and Documents
Ztwo Meae/ee-Sylvester Letters
T. R. HAVINS
HE TWO unpublished letters presented herewith came to
light as parts of the Boone Collection which was recently
given to Howard Payne College Library at Brownwood,
by Dr. and Mrs. Leslie A. Boone, of Fort Worth.
The first letter, written by John Sutherland Menefee while a
member of the House in the Fourth Congress of the Republic of
Texas to his father-in-law, John Clark of Jackson County, indi-
cates something of the procedure in the establishment of postal
service in Texas in 1839.
The second letter from James Austin Sylvester to John S.
Menefee throws light on the political scene in Texas in the closing
days of President Mirabeau B. Lamar's administration. The writers
of these letters were men of more than ordinary importance in
Texas during the period involved.
John Sutherland Menefee was born in Anderson County,
Tennessee, on June 24, 1813. The family moved to Morgan County,
Alabama, in 1824. Menefee emigrated to Texas in 1830, settling
at Texana in Jackson County, where, in 1835, he entered a mer-
cantile partnership with Robert Mills and George Sutherland.
Menefee saw military service as a private in Moseley Baker's com-
pany in the San Jacinto campaign in 1836. Six years later, in 1842,
during the Mexican threat against Texas, he was captain of a com-
pany under Clark L. Owen.
Menefee's civilian public service included the postmastership
at Texana for a few months in 1836. He was county clerk of
Jackson County during 1837 and 1838. For two years, from 1839
to 1841, he represented Jackson County as a member of the House
in the Fourth Congress. Later, in 1846, he served as county judge
of Jackson County.
Menefee married Angelina Clark, daughter of John Clark of
Jackson County, on July 17, 1839. He died on November 4, 1884,
and was buried in the family cemetery near Edna.
The writer of the second letter, James Austin Sylvester, was
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed March 11, 2014.