The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 217
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Epidemic Cholera in Texas, 1833-1834 217
It is not definitely known how cholera reached the shores of
Texas from New Orleans, or from Mexican seaports. It may be
safely assumed, however, that the Asiatic visitor sailed to Texas
from New Orleans, since the disease was widely spread in that
city and since Texans carried on most of their trading with
business houses in that port.
The alarming report of the presence of cholera in New Orleans
was sent to the Political Chief of the Department of Bexar from
the villa of Austin on November 25, 1832, by Miguel Arciniega,
commissioner distributing lands in the colony of Austin. Among
other things he wrote:
There is in this villa a trustworthy person who has just arrived
from New Orleans and reports that Cholera Morbus is causing
frightful ravages in that city. As it is probable that the disease
may soon visit the towns of this republic, I decided to forward
this unwelcome report to your lordship in order that proper steps
may be taken to safeguard the people from it.3
The Political Chief received the letter at Guadalupe Victoria,
and, on December 19, forwarded Arciniega's letter to the Ayun-
tamiento of Bexar urging them to do everything in their power
to prevent the spread of cholera in Texas. He advised them to
establish a Board of Health because, he declared, "now more than
ever it is necessary that you devote all your indefatigable labor,
availing yourselves of every means within your reach, to protect
the people, who will be eternally grateful."4
Arciniega's letter was also forwarded to the Ayuntiamento of
Nacogdoches. Perhaps because of its proximity to the infected
area, Nacogdoches was the first town in Texas to attempt to ward
off the dreaded cholera. The alcalde of Nacogdoches ordered the
commander of the garrison, in compliance with orders from the
Political Chief, to have all the buildings occupied by the troops
cleaned thoroughly because, he said, "cleanliness is one of the
best preventatives of the devastating disease called cholera morbus,
3Miguel Arciniega to Political Chief of Bejar, November 25, 1832, Span-
ish Archives, University of Texas.
'Ram6n Mizquiz to Ayuntamiento of Bexar, December 19, 1832. Span-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/239/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.