10/09/06 - a texan reflects

In today's excerpt - the brief proud reflections of Alexander Horton, written while living in San Augustine, Texas October 18, 1891, are tinged with a final bitterness—unaffected by the ironies that come from a very small fortune and a State built in no small part on slavery:

" 'I was born in the State of North Carolina 18th day of April, 1810. My father's name was Julius Horton, my mother's name was Susannah Purnell. My father moved to the State of Louisiana in 1818. He died in the month of May, 1818, leaving my mother with nine helpless children, Nancy, Elizabeth, Sarah, Samuel, Sandy or Alexander, Martha, Wade, Henry and Susan. My mother moved to Texas first part of January 1824 and settled in San Augustine, then called Ayish Bayou; found the country almost uninhabited. ...

"The year 1835 brought about a new order of things. After the people had fought for Santa Anna in 1832, looking on his as the Washington of the day, [in] 1835 he turns traitor to the republican party and declared himself Dictator or Emperor. He soon overrun all the Mexican states except Texas, who true to the principles of 1776 refused to submit to his tyrannical form of government, and this brought on the war with Mexico. The people held political meetings everywhere in Texas and resolved to resist the tyrant at all hazards. ...

"I have been in Texas since 1824, served in all the wars, beginning with Fredonian war 1827, in the war between Santa Anna and Bustamente 1832, in the war 1835 and 36 between Santa Anna and the Republic of Texas, and in 1839 against the Cherokees under John Boles the great war chief. I have served Texas in various wars. I was first Sheriff, for I was President of the Board of Land Commissioners in 1838, Custom House Collector 1839, was Mayor of San Augustine.... At 27 years, I married to Elizabeth Latten formerly Elizabeth Cooper by whom I had three children one son and two daughters. My oldest son I named Sam Houston Horton, after my glorious old chief that led me to battle, and who remained my best friend through life. Houston Horton is still living. I had also two daughters Eliza and Mary, both dead. I lived with my wife ten years. ...

"In the meantime I had by honest assertions accumulated a small fortune but the civil wars of my country left me in my old age penniless poor, having given away a fortune in valuable land for negro property which was taken away from me by the self righteous people of the North, these hypocritical people having dealt in slaves as long as it was profitable in the North and finding out that the money that they had invested in negro property could be better and more profitably invested in factories at once brought their negroes down south and sold them for from one thousand to fifteen hundred dollars to their southern neighbors."


Alexander Horton


Memoirs written An Augustine, Texas, 18 oct. 1891


From the Kemp Papers Center for American History University of Texas and reprinted by the San Jacinto Museum of History Houston Texas
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