Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Robert Crawford Papers

Manuscript Collection: MC005

Collection Summary

Creator: Crawford, Robert, 1815-1888
Title: Robert Crawford papers
Dates: 1837-1886
Dates: (Bulk: 1867-1883)
Abstract: This collection documents the life of Robert Crawford, veteran of the battle of San Jacinto and Methodist circuit rider on the Texas frontier.
Identification: MC005
OCLC Record No.: 45966759
Quantity: 1 box (.2 linear feet)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

Born in the Abbeville District of South Carolina in 1815, Robert Crawford moved to Tennessee in 1829 with his father and two brothers, John B. and Andrew. The following year, his father died, orphaning the three boys. The small family remained in Tennessee until December of 1835 when aroused by "the fires of patriotism," and a sense of familial duty to his brother, John B., Crawford joined a company of volunteers eager to enter the fight in Texas. Crossing the Sabine River on January 1, 1836, Crawford soon enlisted in the Volunteer Auxiliary Corps. He served as a private under Capt. Robert James Calder's Company K of Colonel Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers at the Battle of San Jacinto.

When in Tennessee, Crawford became a Methodist on September 22, 1834, a decision that would dictate his life's work. Although interrupted by his departure for Texas, Crawford's desire to study for the ministry and become a Methodist preacher was realized soon after Independence. Crawford was licensed to exhort in the Methodist Church on March 18, 1838, and to preach on September 14, 1839. For the next twenty years, he traveled throughout Texas as a Methodist preacher riding many of the circuits of the time. Married on October 27, 1846, Crawford and his wife had four children. In December 1848, the East Texas Conference appointed Crawford to Harrison County African Mission, a move which required the approval and trust of the slave owners in the area for him to be granted access to the slaves. Crawford continued in this significant mission until the Civil War. In 1859 Crawford moved his family to Owensville, Robertson County, where he and his wife taught school for several years. Retiring from preaching in 1874, he became a physician late in life. Robert Crawford continued to reside in Robertson and Williamson Counties until his death on December 5, 1888.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, creative works, tax receipts, legal documents, and printed materials document the life of Robert Crawford, a San Jacinto veteran who became a Methodist circuit riding preacher on the Texas frontier. The Robert Crawford Papers are divided into two groups: Personal Papers and the Ridgway Papers. Of particular interest in the Personal Papers are Crawford's autobiographical writings concerning his life in early Texas, the Battle of San Jacinto, his life as a frontier preacher, and drafts of several essays and speeches. An early Texas legal action (1839) in Robertson County, J. M. Ridgway vs. George Robertson, comprise the bulk of the Ridgway Papers. Jona Ridgway's Oath of Allegiance to Texas (1837) and Permit to Leave Texas (1837) have artifactual interest.


Organized into two groups: I. Personal papers and II. Ridgway papers; arrangement varies according to series, Alphabetical, Chronological, Subject, or no arrangement.


Restrictions on Access


Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Index Terms

Crawford, Robert, 1815-1888--Archives
Addison, O. M.--Correspondence
Ridgway, J. M.
Robertson, George
Harrison County African Mission (Tex.)
Methodist Church (U.S.)--Texas
African Americans--Missions--Texas
Circuit riders--Texas
Family records--Robertson County (Tex.)
San Jacinto, Battle of, Tex., 1836--Personal narratives
Harrison County (Tex.)
Robertson County (Tex.)

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Robert Crawford Papers, MC005, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Gift of Mrs. Willis N. Downs, 1940.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2000.


"Crawford, Robert" The Handbook of Texas Online.


Personal Papers

box folder
15 1 O. M. Addison 1883
2 O. M. Addison 1883
3 O. M. Addison 1883
4 General undated
box folder
15 5 Financial Documents 1874-1881
box folder
15 6 Legal Documents 1838-1881
Printed Materials
box folder
15 7 Printed Materials circa 1875-1881
Creative Works
box folder
15 8 "Brief Biographical Notes of Life of Dr. R. Crawford" 1883
9 Drafts of Essays, Oratory undated
10 "A Plea for Texas" undated

Ridgway Papers

box folder
15 11 Oath of Allegiance to Texas, Permit to Leave the Republic, J.M. Ridgway vs. George Robertson 1837-1840