The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 451
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Notes and Documents
copacy in Texas may be indicated statistically. In 1861 when he
was elevated to the archbishopric, there were fifty churches, forty
priests, a number of convents of religious, four academies, one
college, schools and other institutions, and a flourishing Catholic
A portion of the work accomplished by Odin is reflected in the
letter here presented.2
SIRS: GALVESTON January 26, 1861s
Allow me to offer you my very sincere thanks for the new al-
location that you have had the goodness to make to the Diocese
of Galveston. Your inexhaustable charity on my account inspires
in me deep gratitude. May the bountiful God who protects our
mission in such a marvelous manner be forever praised May he
bless our generous benefactors!
The year that has just past has been disasterous for Texas. A
drought of five consecutive months has destroyed the harvest and
produced general misery.
A man, Cortinas,4 at the head of a band of hostile Mexicans has
scattered our poor Catholics of the Rio Grande valley, stolen their
herds and destroyed or burned their cottages. One of our better
chapels had been burned during the strife. The savages, on another
side, have ravaged the northern frontier and set most of the in-
habitants to flight. Finally the election of Lincoln, the abolitionist
candidate, to the presidency, has set all the states of the South in
ferment. Six have already seceded from the Union, and it is probable
that the others will have also proclaimed their independence before
the end of February. What will be the result of the revolution? It
iThis sketch of Odin is based upon Dictionary of American Biography (21 vols.;
New York, 1928-1936), XIII, 625-626; and Roger Baudier, The Catholic Church
in Louisiana (New Orleans, 1939), 411-412.
2The original letter is in the Archives of the Society of the Propagation of the
Faith, Lyons, France, where it was found by the Most Reverend Laurence J.
FitzSimon, Bishop of Amarillo until his death in 1958, who graciously allowed the
editor the use of a photostatic copy.
3The Society of the Propagation of the Faith was founded in 1822 at Lyons to
aid Catholic missions throughout the world. The diocese of Galveston was allotted
30,100 francs for the year 1861.-Annalles de la Propagation de la Foi, XXXIV
(May, 1862), 204.
4Juan Nepomuceno Cortina or Cortinas (1824-1894), a native of Mexico, was
uneducated but a natural leader of men. He lived on the Santa Rita ranch a few
miles west of Brownsville, Texas. In 1859-1860 he was the leader of a band which
terrorized that territory and was finally defeated by United States troops. He con-
tinued to hold power in the Matamoros area for years.-Handbook of Texas, (2
vols.; Austin, 1952), I, 416-418.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/557/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.