Notes and Documents
From Missouri to Texas in 1845:
Martin Austin Gauldin's Journal
Edited by JACKIE MCELHANEY*
IN THE AUTUMN OF 1845, TWENTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD MARTIN AUSTIN
Gauldin set out on a lengthy trip by horseback from Marshall, Mis-
souri, to Austin, Texas. Although he was not a highly literate man,
along the way he penned daily notes in a small brown book. Written
in an economical style, imposed perhaps by the demands of travel,
Gauldin's journal contains an interesting picture of frontier conditions
and constitutes one of the earliest Anglo-American descriptions of por-
tions of Northeast Texas at the time of Texas's admission to the United
Gauldin most likely knew something about Texas before his de-
parture, for emigrants' guidebooks circulated widely prior to 1845.1 As
they were designed to persuade people to immigrate to Texas, most of
these accounts praised the land, climate, and opportunities for settlers.
For this reason, the guides often contained more fancy than fact. One
writer, for example, lavishly claimed that "young men of good moral
character" had a "wide and uncultivated field to become not only rich
but eminent and distinguished among men while living and objects of
veneration when dead."'
If the guidebooks predisposed Gauldin to like Texas, nothing he
saw along the way diminished his enthusiasm. Gauldin's motives for
making the journey may have been to learn something of the "promased
land," as he termed Texas, or he may have been indulging a young
*Jackie McElhaney is a graduate student in history at Southern Methodist University.
1Among these guidebooks were: David B. Edwards, The Histoiy of Texas; or, the Emz-
grant's,Farmer's, and Politcian's Guide to the Chaiacte), Climate, Soil and Podutrlion of
That Country . . . (Cincinnati, 1836); Richard S. Hunt and Jesse F. Randel, Guide to the
Republic of Texas (New York, 1839); [A. B. Lawrence], Texas in 184o; or, The Emigrant's
Guide to the New Republic . . . (New York, 1840); and David Woodman, Jr., Guide to
Texas Emigrants (Boston, 1835).
2Edward Stiff, The Texan Emigrant (Cincinnati, 1840), 190.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/. Accessed February 11, 2016.