William Hunter Letter, undated
The letter, written by William Hunter, concerns a plan to put Texas convicts to work mining ore on University of Texas-owned lands in West Texas. Convict labor rose in popularity in Texas in the 1870s and represented another form of enslavement for African American prisoners, who were disproportionately imprisoned in Texas and around the United States. The lands mentioned in the letter were allocated for the University of Texas upon its establishment in 1876 and were meant to contribute to the Permanent University Fund (PUF). Around one million acres of land were included in the 1876 appropriation, while another million acres were added to the PUF lands in 1883.
"Fear, Force, and Leather - The Texas Prison System's First Hundred Years, 1848-1948." Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
"History of University Lands & The PUF Lands." University Lands.
The William Hunter letter concerns a plan to put Texas convicts to work mining ore on University of Texas-owned lands in West Texas. The first page of the letter is missing and the recipient and date of this item are unknown, though the letter is signed by Hunter.
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William Hunter Letter, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Briscoe Center staff. Subsequent revisions made by Emma Trent, October 2020, and Caroline Collins, November 2020.
One possible author of the William Hunter Letter is William Lockhart Hunter (1809-1886), a Texas soldier and politician. He fought in the Texas Revolution and served as a congressman in the Congress of the Republic of Texas from 1839 to 1845. William Wallace Hunter (1803-1892) is a second possible author. He was a Commodore in the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War. However, the author of the William Hunter Letter is uncertain, since the letter's first page is missing.
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