A Guide to the Russell Howard Letter, 1849
Texas settler Russell Howard served as District Attorney of San Antonio. During the Civil War, he was a member of the Texas Secession Committee. His brother, Richard A. Howard, was an early Texas surveyor. The two had at least one sister, Julia Howard Lombard of Mississippi.
The city of Brownsville, Texas began its life as a Texan outpost called Fort Brown on the northern bank of the Rio Grande. It was the site of multiple conflicts during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. After the war, Charles Stillman established the city itself. It became the county seat of Cameron County in 1849, and was officially incorporated into the state of Texas in 1853.
The Russell Howard Letter is composed of a letter from Howard to his sister Julia written on June 25th, 1849. It reports on his new home, the recently established city of Brownsville. Howard speaks fondly of the natural beauty and economic opportunities in Texas, but he disparages many citizens of Brownsville (some left stranded there by the war) as a diverse collection of “gamblers, thieves, and cut-throats”. He also reports on a deadly outbreak of cholera in the city, Richard A. Howard’s participation in an army expedition to El Paso, Congressman Volney E. Howard’s 1849 congressional campaign, and parodies a Byron poem to describe Texas.
This collection is open for research use.
Russell Howard Letter, 1849, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Keelee James, 2014.
Detailed Description of the Papers