The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 201
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The Autobiography of George W. Smyth
ous in an exemplary degree and meritorious in all their domestic
relations. My father was by trade a millwright and was of Ger-
man descent, his father having been born in Germany. My
Mother was of Scotch-Irish origin. My father resided in Ten-
nessee until about the year 1817, when he emigrated to Alabama,
where he remained until his death, which happened only a few
About the year 1815 I was put in a retail dry goods store in
Fayetteville, Tennessee, with Robert Dickson, an Irishman, a
man of strict business habits, where I remained about three years.
In the year 1818 I left the store and joined my father's family
in Alabama. In 1820 or 21, I spent about four months at school
in Maury County, Tennessee; Again, in 1824 I spent about eight
months at school in the same County, with William Williford as
teacher, a man celebrated in his day as a mathematician; And
certainly, the best practical one I ever knew. Most of this time
was devoted to mathematical studies, though a part also to Eng-
lish Grammer and Geography. With Mr. Williford I acquired
the rudiments of some of the elementary branches of mathematics,
which afterwards I improved considerably by the fire side at
In 1829, greatly in oposition to the wishes of my parents, I
determined to try my fortunes in Texas, and on the 20th of
January 1830, like Columbus, I set out on my voyage into the
unknown ocean of adventure On the 11th of
February 1830, I crossed the Sabine river, and on the 14th ar-
rived in the town of Nacogdoches.
There was a great deal then, about the old town of Nacog-
doches to excite the wonder of one so inexperienced - The three
hundred Mexican troops who then occupied this post under
Piedras, with their peculiar uniform and still more peculiar per-
of a more personal and intimate nature are equally valuable to the so-
ciologist and historian. -One group of seven was unopened. All bore
dates in April, 1836, and had been given to Smyth to deliver when he
reached the Revolutionary Army. By the time he reached his destination
the Battle of San Jacinto had been fought, and the army was largely
dispersed. The letters were never delivered and remained unopened for
almost a century.
This gift of Smyth's descendants is indeed significant. Its acquisition
by the Library takes rank with that of the Ashbel Smith, Henry Smith,
and Maverick Family papers, and it will serve as a valuable supplement
to these and other collections in the Archives.
'Unless otherwise stated, bracketed sections were deleted by Smyth.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/221/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.