Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection

Andrew Briscoe Papers, Manuscript Collection: MC055

Collection Summary

Creator: Briscoe, Andrew, 1818-1849
Title: Andrew Briscoe papers
Dates: 1828-1881
Dates: (Bulk: 1836-1849)
Abstract: Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, and business records illuminate the life of Andrew Briscoe.
Identification: MC055
OCLC Record No.: 50136914
Quantity: 4 boxes (1.4 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

Andrew Briscoe was born on November 25, 1810, in Claiborne County, Mississippi, to General Parmenas Briscoe and Polly Montgomery. He moved to Texas in 1833 and in 1835 established a store in Anahuac. He was arrested with DeWitt Clinton Harris for attempting to sell goods without paying customs duties. The incident and the resulting protests sparked the Texas Revolution. Although an elected delegate to the convention of 1835 and a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, Briscoe left on March 17 and rejoined the army under orders from Thomas J. Rusk. As captain he led the Liberty Volunteers at the battle of Concepcion, and Company A, Infantry Regulars at the Battle of San Jacinto.

After the Revolution, Briscoe was appointed chief justice of Harrisburg by President Sam Houston and served until 1839. He then became involved in raising cattle and business ventures in the town of Harrisburg. He was agent for the Harrisburg Town Company and owner of the Harrisburg and Brazos Railroad. The Harrisburg Railroad & Trading Company assumed the Harrisburg and Brazos Railroad and was chartered in 1841. After grading 2 miles of track, the enterprise failed. In 1849 Briscoe moved his family to New Orleans where he engaged in banking. He died of yellow fever on October 4, 1849.

Andrew Briscoe married Elizabeth House and had a daughter, Elizabeth Zara ca. 1833. His daughter lived with her grandfather, General Parmenas Briscoe, and attended various boarding schools. Elizabeth Zara died of typhoid in 1848 in Kentucky. In 1837, Andrew married Mary Jane Harris, the "Belle of Buffalo Bayou" and daughter of John R. Harris, founder of Harrisburg, and Jane Birdsall Harris. They had five children, four of whom survived into adulthood: Parmenas (1839-1906), Andrew Birdsall (1841-1912), Jessie Wade (1845-1920), and Adele Lubbock (1848-1935).

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, and business records illuminate the personal life, military career, and business ventures of little known Texas settler and soldier, Andrew Briscoe.


Organized into seven series: Correspondence, Financial, Legal, General, Estate of Andrew Briscoe, Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad, and Harrisburg Town Company; arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.


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

Austin, Stephen F. (Stephen Fuller), 1793-1836
Briscoe, Andrew, 1810-1849--Archives
Morgan, James, 1787-1866
Rusk, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1803-1857
Birdsall family
Briscoe family
Harris family
Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad
Harrisburg Town Company
Cattle trade--Texas
Land tenure--Texas
San Jacinto, Battle of, Tex., 1836
Slave records--Texas
Harris County (Tex.)
Harrisburg (Tex.)

Archivist's Note

Other related papers from the Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection include the Mary Jane Harris Briscoe Papers, the Briscoe Family Papers, the John R. and Jane Harris Papers, the John Birdsall Papers, the De Witt Clinton Harris Papers, the Harris Family Papers, and the Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers. All photographs are located in the Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers.

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Andrew Briscoe Papers, MC055, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Mr. and Mrs. George A. Hill, Jr., Houston Public Library, Annie Hume, 1939-1940.

Processing Information

Processed by Sandra Eileen Yates, 2002.


"Briscoe, Andrew." The Handbook of Texas Online.


Correspondence, 1828-1849
Quantity: 2 boxes (.7 linear ft.)

One hundred three letters from members of the Briscoe, Harris and Birdsall families (1828-1849) deal with family affairs and business ventures. Five letters from Elizabeth Zara Briscoe, Andrew's daughter, document a loving relationship with an absent parent and contain family news of deaths and marriages along with reports of her studies and future plans. Of particular interest are the letters to Briscoe concerning military plans and movements. A November 6, 1835, letter from Stephen F. Austin concerns Mexican army movements and directs Briscoe to gather intelligence. Two letters (March 17, 1836) from Thomas J. Rusk, Secretary of War, order Briscoe into service and direct him to organize a company of rangers or spies to gather information about enemy movements. Five letters from James Morgan to Briscoe written in 1836-1837, discuss military plans and conditions prior to the Battle of San Jacinto and after the Mexican surrender. A letter dated 24 March 1836 written in haste by Morgan concerns sending 7 men to Briscoe and a Negro insurrection on the Trinity River. Letters from business firms concern receipt of payments, shipment of merchandise, land deals, the election of 1841, and letters of introduction.
The correspondence sent subseries reveals Briscoe's thoughts and plans. A 24 January 1834 letter written to the Allen brothers in Navasota concerns Briscoe's plans to investigate trading slaves in Texas. A letter to Sam Houston by Briscoe as executor of Judge John Birdsall's estate concerns the disposition of the property held by Houston & Birdsall. Briscoe assumes Houston will give it all to the estate as "all the business got [was] by Judge B. and all the labor done by him." A letter written to his brother James by Briscoe in January 1849 explains his intentions in writing his will and asks his brother to follow them. He also alludes to his plans to emigrate to California, leaving his wife and children in Texas. Third party correspondence contains some letters sent in care of Andrew Briscoe.
Correspondence: Received
box folder
92 1 Birdsall Family, 1837-1844
2 Elizabeth Z. Briscoe, 1845-1848
3 George A. Briscoe, 1840 August 15
4 Mary Jane Briscoe, 1841 December 10
5 James M. Briscoe, 1838-1849
6 John Briscoe, 1828-1840
7 Parmenas Briscoe, 1828-1849
8 Sam Briscoe, 1839-1846
9 William P. Briscoe, 1844-1849
10 David Burnett, 1836-1837
11 J. de Cordova, 1848-1849
12 De Witt Clinton Harris, 1836-1840
13 Lewis B. Harris, 1836-1846
14 David Harrison, 1849 September 1-22
15 Lewis Jones, 1843 May 13-August 4
16 A. B. Logan, 1836-1842
17 F. R. Lubbock, 1843-1849
18 J. Morgan, 1836-1837, undated
19 George M. Patrick, 1841-1843
20 James H. Raymond, 1849 August 11-October 9
21 Thomas J. Rusk, 1836 March 17
22 Sandeman & Company, 1836-1837
23 Sands & Company, 1849 July 20-September 15
24 Smith & Voorhees, 1838 March 15-October 16
25 J. S. Sullivan, 1849 August 14-October 3
26 M. T. Voorhees, 1837-1841
27 Thomas William Ward, 1841-1843
28 General: A, 1835-1843
29 General: B, 1836-1849
30 General: C, 1837-1849
box folder
93 1 General: D, 1836-1849
2 General: E-G, 1837-1849
3 General: H, 1835-1849, undated
4 General: J-K, 1837-1849
5 General: L, 1836-1849
6 General: M-N, 1838-1849
7 General: P-R, 1834-1848, undated
8 General: S, 1833-1849
9 General: T, 1836-1849
10 General: V-W, 1836-1849
11 General: Unknown, 1835-1843, undated
Correspondence: Sent
box folder
93 12 A. C. and J. K. Allen, 1834-1835
13 James M. Briscoe, Parmenas Briscoe, 1847-1848
14 General, 1836-1849
Correspondence: General
box folder
93 15 Third Party, 1836-1849
16 Envelopes, 1836-1848

Financial, 1835-1850
Quantity: (.2 linear ft.)

Accounts payable and receivable, bills of lading, banking records, promissory notes, receipts, and store inventories record Andrew Briscoe's personal and business financial transactions. Fourteen bills of lading, 12 of which are from 1835-1839, list merchandise imported by Briscoe into Texas prior to and after the fight for independence. Six records including a 57 page cattle book (1841-1848) detail the cattle business during the Republic of Texas. Rent receipts and banking records document Briscoe's final months in New Orleans.
box folder
93 17 Accounts Payable: Cruger & Moore, Gazley & Robinson, Malcom Sandeman & Co., 1836-1841
18 Accounts Payable: General, 1835-1850
19 Accounts Receivable: DeWitt Clinton Harris, 1840-1845
20 Accounts Receivable: General, 1835-1839
21 Bills of Lading, 1835-1849
22 Cattle Book and Papers, 1835-1848
23 Checks, Deposit Slips, 1849 September 10-24
24 Promissory Notes, 1835-1849
box folder
94 1 Receipts: Andrew Briscoe, 1835-1846, undated
2 Receipts: Charles W. Babcock, Cruger & Moore, 1837-1839
3 Receipts: T. S. Chamberlain & Co., 1837 June 12-December 8
4 Receipts: Harris Family, 1839-1847
5 Receipts: Wynns & Lawrence, 1839-1839
6 Receipts: General, 1835-1836
7 Receipts: General, 1837-1838
8 Receipts: General, 1839 January 3-December 15
9 Receipts: General, 1840 January 14-November 26
10 Receipts: General, 1843-1848
11 Receipts: General, 1849 June 25-August 25
12 Rent Receipts, 1849 July 1-October 1
13 Store Inventory, 1836 March 20, undated
14 General, 1835-1839
15 General, 1844-1949, undated

Legal, 1835-1849
Quantity: 1 box (.2 linear ft.)

Affidavits, bills of sale, contracts, deeds, insurance policies, petitions, and powers of attorney document Briscoe's personal and business legal lives along with his service as Supreme Court justice. Six bills of sale document the buying of slaves by Briscoe (1838-1840). Certificates of purchase record the venture of Thomas Jefferson Chambers in promoting his town of Chambersia. Ballots, certifications, notices and returns document the electoral process in Harris County 1842-1846. Probate documents (1841-1842) reveal Briscoe's work as executor of John Birdsall's estate. A copy of Briscoe's will details his plans for his wife and children in the event of his death.
box folder
94 16 Affidavits, 1837-1849
17 Bills of Sale, 1838-1840
18 Certificates of Purchase: Chambersia, 1840 May 15
19 Contracts: Agreements, 1835-1843
20 Contracts: Indentures, Lease, 1839-1849
21 Contracts: Mortgages, 1838-1841
22 Contracts: Releases, 1839-1846
23 Court Costs, undated
24 Deeds, 1837-1848
25 Deeds signed by Judge Andrew Briscoe, 1838 January 15-February 3
26 Elections: Ballots, 1842 October 26
27 Elections: Certifications, 1845-1846
28 Elections: Notices, undated
29 Elections: Returns, 1842-1846
30 Injunctions, 1838-1842, undated
31 Insurance Policies, 1848-1849
32 Interrogatory, 1848 August 17
33 Judgements, 1838-1842
34 Petitions, 1840-1848
35 Petitions to Judge Andrew Briscoe, 1837-1838, undated
36 Powers of Attorney, 1836-1849
37 Probate Court: John Birdsall, Jr., 1841-1842
38 Summons, 1837-1841
39 Wills, 1839 April 15, undated
40 Writs, 1840-1848
41 General, 1839-1848

General, 1836-1849
Quantity: 9 items

Printed materials, locks of hair, and lists further reveal Andrew Briscoe's life. Briscoe's 1836 commission as Chief Justice of the county of Harrisburg is signed by Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. An October 2, 1835, broadside, Freedmen of Texas To Arms!!! To Arms!!! urges Texians to gather at Gonzales to fight the Mexican army. Three circulars and a newspaper clipping concern business opportunities. Locks of hair are from Elizabeth and "Father" Briscoe. A list records the names of the men under Briscoe's command at the Battle of San Jacinto. Mathematical and philosophical instruments and books are valued and listed for sale.
box folder
94 42 Printed Material: Appointment, Circulars, Clipping, 1836-1849
43 Ephemera: Hair of Andrew and Elizabeth Briscoe, undated
44 Lists, 1828 April 21, undated

Estate of Andrew Briscoe, 1849-1854
Quantity: (.1 linear ft.)

The Estate of Andrew Briscoe consists primarily of correspondence (1849-1852) between Thomas Carothers, Edward Hall, and James M. Briscoe, concerning the sale of land owned jointly by Andrew Briscoe and Hall near the headwaters of the San Jacinto River, Carothers acting as their agent. An 1850 inventory lists the property owned by Andrew Briscoe at the time of his death. Two leases (1881) show the disposition of property in Hamilton County.
box folder
94 45 Correspondence: Thomas Carothers to James M. Briscoe, 1849-1851
46 Correspondence: Edward Hall to James M. Briscoe, 1850-1851
47 Correspondence: Thomas Carothers and Edward Hall, 1850-1852
48 Financial: Edward Hall to James M. Briscoe, 1849-1854
49 Legal: Inventory, 1850 March 2
50 Legal: Lease, 1881 December 10

Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad, 1839-1841
Quantity: (.05 linear ft.)

Financial and legal documents, reports to stockholders, and general papers, chronicle the history of the Harrisburg & Brazos Railroad. Account statements (4) and receipts (12) detail payments to workers and for supplies, and five timber agreements show other expenses of constructing the railroad. "An Act to Incorporate the Harrisburg Rail Road and Trading Company," January 9, 1841, is signed by David G. Burnet. Two reports to stockholders are dated March 18, 1840.
box folder
95 1 Financial: Account Statements, 1840-1841
2 Financial: Receipts, 1840 March 20-May 28
3 Legal: Deeds to Railroad, 1840 February 12-March 16
4 Legal: Timber Agreements, 1840 February 12-28
5 Legal: An Act to Incorporate Harrisburg Railroad & Trading Company, 1841 January 9
6 Legal: Conditional Offers, 1840 January 17
7 Ephemera, 1840, undated
8 Report to Stockholders, 1840 March 18
9 General, 1839-1840, undated

Harrisburg Town Company, 1839-1841
Quantity: (.05 linear ft.)

Correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed materials, a surveyor's field notes and a map document the Harrisburg Town Company from 1839 to 1849. Minutes of the board of directors show the working of the company. An 1845 note from the board of directors gives permission to contract with Sidney Sherman for a six-month period to purchase the remaining unsold land in Harrisburg. Financial documents include accounts payable, receipts, and an agent's report by Andrew Briscoe that details the preparation of a map of Harrisburg, the building of a brick yard, facilities required in building a town, and an estimate of expenses for the Harrisburg Town Company. Legal documents include certificates of purchase by DeWitt Clinton Harris [13], Lewis B. Harris [3], Robert Wilson [8], Alexander Farmer [1], Sally Moore and Francis Moore [2], Stephen Richardson [1], Magnus T. Rodgers [2], and Edward Smith [2]. A power of attorney appoints Andrew Briscoe agent for John W. Moore, John Birdsall, and David G. Burnet. Printed materials are stock certificates in the Harrisburg Town Company owned by Mary Jane Briscoe, William P. Harris, and Francis Moore. The map is a plat of the Harris Tract.
box folder
95 10 Correspondence: Instructions from the Board of Directors, 1845-1847
11 Correspondence: Memoranda, 1892, 1839-1847, undated
range shelf
14 5 Journal of Harrisburg Town Co. and its Board of Directors, 1839-1842
box folder
95 12 Minutes of Board of Directors' Meetings, 1839-1849
13 Financial: Accounts Payable, 1839-1850
14 Financial: Agent's Report, 1839 October 16
15 Financial: Receipts, 1839-1840
16 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: DeWitt Clinton Harris, 1840 February 10
17 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: Lewis B. Harris, 1840 February 10-April 10
18 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: Robert Wilson, 1840 February 10
19 Legal: Certificates of Purchase: General, 1840 February 10-April 10
20 Legal: Powers of Attorney, 1839-1840
21 Printed Materials: Stock Certificates: Mary Jane Briscoe, 1839 July 4
22 Printed Materials: Stock Certificates: William P. Harris, 1839 June 28-July 4
23 Printed Materials: Stock Certificates: Francis Moore, 1841 March 16
24 Ephemera, 1839, undated
25 Surveyor's Field Notes, 1839 May 14
26 Map: Plat of Harris Tract, undated