Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

John G. Tod Papers

Manuscript Collection: MC037

Collection Summary

Creator: Tod, John Grant, 1808-1877
Title: John G. Tod papers
Dates: 1836-1929
(Bulk: 1836-1841)
Abstract: Correspondence and legal papers document John G. Tod's professional and personal life from 1839-1851.
Identification: MC037
OCLC Record No.: 47656963
Quantity: 20 items
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

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.

Scope and Content Note

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.


Organized into six series in two groups: Personal papers and Collected papers; arrangement is alphabetical.


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

Almonte, Juan Nepomuceno
Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870
Cooke, Louis P., 1811-1849
Eve, Joseph, 1784-1843
Grayson, Peter Wagener, 1788-1838
Hansen, Nicolai
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863
Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte, 1798-1859
Patton, William Hester, 1808-1842
Potter, Reuben M. (Reuben Marmaduke), 1802-1890
Santa Anna, Antonio López de, 1794?-1876
Tod, John Grant, 1808-1877
Ward, Thomas William, 1807-1872
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Williams, Samuel May, 1795-1858
Texas. Navy
Great Exhibition (1851 : London, England)
San Jacinto, Battle of, Tex., 1836
Slave trade--Texas
Texas--History--Republic, 1836-1846
Monuments of Washington's patriotism

Administrative Information


[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.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2001.


"Tod, John Grant, Sr." The Handbook of Texas Online.


Personal Papers

Correspondence: Received
box folder
33.2 1 Louis P. Cooke 1839
2 Reuben M. Potter 1839 August 27
3 Samuel M. Williams 1838 September 24
box folder
33.2 4 John G. Tod 1841 November
box folder
33.2 5 Abstract of Title 1824-1897
6 Commission Texas Navy 1839 July 6
Book / Scrapbook
box folder
33.2 7 Monuments of Washington's Patriotism 1838-1929

Collected Papers

box folder
33.2 8 David G. Burnet to William H. Patton 1836 October 8
9 Sam Houston to Peter W. Grayson 1838 January 2
10 Mirabeau B. Lamar to Joseph Eve 1841 July 20
box folder
33.2 11 Agreement: Nicolai Hansen and Thomas William Ward 1837 February 16