John G. Tod Papers
Manuscript Collection: MC037
The youngest of nine children, John Grant Tod was born on November 14, 1808, to Scottish immigrant parents, William and Margaret Tod. In 1825 he traveled to New Orleans where he joined the Mexican Navy. After obtaining a commission in the United States Navy through the influence of Henry Clay, Tod served from 1830 until illness forced his discharge in 1836. In 1837 Tod arrived in Texas intending to join the Texas Navy. From 1838 to 1840, Tod was appointed a naval inspector, received his commission as a commander, oversaw the construction and outfitting of the "second navy" in Baltimore, and briefly served as acting secretary of the Texas Navy. In 1842 Tod resigned and moved to Washington where in addition to personal business pursuits he lobbied for the Republic of Texas. In 1845 he returned to Texas with the official notification of annexation.
During the Mexican War (1846-1848), Tod once again served in the United States Navy and assisted in recommissioning the Texas naval vessels for United States service. After several business ventures, in 1852 he founded the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado railway along with Sidney Sherman and eastern capitalists. In 1851 Tod served as the Texas delegate to the London Industrial Exhibition. Tod married Abigail Fisher West of Delaware in 1851; the couple had three children. John G. Tod died on August 14, 1877, at his home in Harrisburg, Texas.
Correspondence, legal documents, and Monuments of Washington's Patriotism, a book used concurrently as a scrapbook, document John G. Tod's professional and personal life from 1839-1851. Correspondence relating to Tod's Texas naval career include two letters from Louis P. Cooke including the notification of his commission, a letter from Reuben M. Potter concerning the smuggling of slaves from Cuba to Texas, and one from Samuel M. Williams about establishing loans to finance the Texas Navy. Included in the papers is Tod's 1839 commission as a commander in the Texas Navy. Also of interest are a memo Tod wrote in 1841 establishing the provenance of a pen used by President Mirabeau Lamar to halt an execution and an Abstract of title (1824-1897) which traces the ownership of land John G. Tod and F. C. Sandow once owned in the Nathaniel Lynch League. Monuments of Washington's Patriotism (1838), a facsimile of financial accounts maintained by George Washington during the American Revolution, was purchased by Tod and presented to David G. Burnet in 1839. Used as a scrapbook, the book contains in addition to Tod's presentation letter to Burnet, a letter from George Washington (1779), a ten pound paper note from the colony of New York (1758), a carte de visite of Washington, a hand painted bookmark, an advertisement from the 1851 Industrial Exhibition in London, and several newspaper clippings.
Papers collected by Tod include three letters and a legal document (1837-1841). The correspondence refers to the treatment of the prisoners Antonio López de Santa Anna, Juan N. Almonte, and Nuñez after the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texas Navy, and administrative duties of the president of the Republic of Texas. An 1837 agreement between Nicolai Hansen, a carpenter, and Thomas William Ward concerns Hansen traveling to Houston to work for Ward for four months.
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Open for research by appointment.
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.
[Identification of Item], John G. Tod Papers, MC037, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.
Mary Tod, Rosa Tod Hamner, Mrs. George Hamman, J. G. T. Milby, 1959.
Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2001.