The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 45
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The Municipality of Harrisburg, 1835-1836 45
Harrisburg. There they stayed at the house of Mrs. Jane Harris,
widow of John Richardson Harris, and the only woman in the
entire town." The house lacked sufficient beds for the crowd,
and sleeping arrangements were, therefore, according to strict
protocol. The President, Vice-President and secretary of state
were provided with beds, and the remaining cabinet officers-
the secretaries of war and the navy and the attorney general-
were obliged to sleep on the floor.37 Harrisburg lacked almost
everything required for creature comfort, and soon the govern-
ment was imploring and ordering its commandant at Galveston
to provide it with stationery, blankets, washbowls, plates, cups
and saucers, tumblers, loaf sugar, tea, corn, flour, but above all
with "Liquors suitable for Genteel men to drink."8 Harrisburg,
like every other place in Texas, was a madhouse of confusion.
President Burnet was unable to force the "lazy hounds" lying
about the town to cut cordwood so that the steamboat Cayuga
could operate.39 Soon the President had no steamer at all, for
its captain, William Plunkett Harris, found the opportunity of
utilizing the craft to make profits for himself and his partner.40
Secretary of the Navy Robert Potter shortly left town ostensibly
to see to the fortification of Galveston Island but in actuality to
seek respite in the arms of his lady friend first aboard ship at
Galveston and then at New Washington-incidentally, at the ex-
pense of the taxpayers, for the Republic later paid the board and
room bill of Mrs. Page as well as that of Potter.41
Every person from the municipalities of Brazoria and Mata-
gorda who was fleeing to the Louisiana boundary was obliged to
traverse the Municipality of Harrisburg and to cross the San
Jacinto River at Lynchburg. By April 2, "the prairie near
Lynch's resembled a camp meeting; it ... [was] covered with
carts, wagons, horses, mules, tents, men, women, and children,
86Lewis Birdsall to Mary J. Harris, Seneca Falls, New York, May 27, 1836, in
Looscan Papers (MS.).
37Gray, From Virginia to Texas, 144.
3sSam P. Carson to Morgan, Harrisburg, March 23, 1836, in Comptrollers Mili-
tary Service Records (MSS. in Archives, Texas State Library), file James Morgan.
89Burnet to Morgan, Harrisburg, April 3, 1836, in Morgan Papers (MSS.).
40Burnet to Morgan, April 6, 1836, in Morgan Papers (MSS.).
41Comptrollers Military Service Records, file James Morgan.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/63/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.