The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969

Notes and Documents
San Augustine, In the Texas Republic
WILLIAM SEALE*
IN APRIL OF 1836 WILSON HALL HURRIED EAST OVER THE SWOLLEN
Sabine to tell the San Augustine refugees the news of the Texas
victory. "There was whooping and hallooing, weeping and laughing,
shouting and praying and wild rejoicing throughout the camping
grounds," and when their excitement waned, the people took up their
belongings and went home to the Redlands. The town to which they
returned was untouched by the late Revolution. It would, in the next
eight years, witness a sudden rise to significance, and a downfall as
abrupt as it was interesting.-
San Augustine, Republic of Texas, was a decidedly Anglo-American
town, officially laid out in 1833 under the auspices of a stock com-
pany. There had been settlement on the site in the eighteenth cen-
tury, but never so extensively as in the late 182o's and into the next
decade. The location was advantageous, being about halfway between
Nacogdoches and the Sabine River, on the old San Antonio Road,
the principal artery of upland commerce in the Texas and United
States trade. Overland the San Antonio Road, or El Camino Real, as
it was variously called, rambled eastward to Natchitoches, whose Red
River wharves docked steamboats and keelboats bound for the Missis-
sippi and New Orleans. For San Augustinians it was the most con-
venient access to the Gulf of Mexico, thence the world. A more direct
waterway was the Sabine, but in the 1830's it was still impeded by
snags and shallows, its mouth offering poor port facilities during most
of the period of the Republic. And those years were San Augustine's
era of youth and imagination.
There was a great number of Tennesseeans in San Augustine. If one
happened to be a Georgian, or a North Carolinian, or a Louisianian,
he seems to have adopted Nashville habits readily. The whole town
was given to playing Middle Tennessee Aristocracy. An earnest feeling
*Mr. Seale, the author of Texas Riverman, is assistant professor of history at Lamar
State College of Technology.
'Ben Stuart MS (Rosenberg Library, Galveston).

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/. Accessed December 19, 2014.