The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 201
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The Arrival of the Telegraph in Texas
expense between Washington and Baltimore, and years were to
go by before the telephone was to be invented.
Since the telegraph did not originate in Texas, where did it
come from-which border state Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas
or Louisiana-and when? Harriet Smither of the Texas State
Archives in April, 1936, remembered a clipping on file about the
opening of some early telegraph office. The clipping was from
Marshall, Texas, and headlined February, 1854, and published
by a paper called the Texas Republican. This narrowed the search
to Arkansas or Louisiana as the direction from which the tele-
graph came and gave a clue on the date.
After examining primary sources on the subject, it will easily
be understood why the President of the Republic of Texas did
not hurry to accept Samuel F. B. Morse's offer. Life was too peace-
ful in 1839 to get upset about an Electro Magnetic Telegraph toy
invention which was not yet perfected. Nevertheless, there exists
in the public library of San Antonio a copy of the San Antonio
Express dated March 12, 1916, which had this to say:
Had the fathers of the Republic of Texas accepted, in 1838, the
gift of Samuel F. B. Morse of his invention, the telegraph, this
state, today, would have been one in the Union forever free of
taxation. The World Wide royalties from the telegraph would not
only have paid all expenses of the state government, but at the
same time created a sinking fund of millions.
Ashbel Smith had the same idea as early as 1853 when he wrote:
To THE EDITORS OF THE STATE GAZETTE.
Gentlemen: Frequent mention is made in the newspapers of the
proposed establishment of lines of the magnetic telegraph in this
State. I have to state that the inventor of the telegraph, Professor
Morse, about twenty years ago, made a formal grant to the Republic
of Texas, General Hunt then being Minister of Texas at Wash-
ington, of the right to use the telegraph in Texas without compen-
sation. Subsequent to annexation, Professor Morse informed me that
he had not the right, and still less the inclination to withdraw or
resume his gift to the late Republic. The people of this State, there-
fore, have the right to establish telegraph lines without compen-
sation, anywhere throughout the State.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
How viewpoints had changed in a comparatively short period
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/231/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.