Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection

Lewis Birdsall Family Papers, Manuscript Collection: MC069

Collection Summary

Creator: Birdsall, Lewis, 1770-1843
Title: Lewis Birdsall family papers
Dates: 1829-1860
Dates: (Bulk: 1835-1845)
Abstract: Financial documents, correspondence, legal documents and a surveyor's note document a family establishing itself in the Republic of Texas.
Identification: MC069
OCLC Record No.: 50080974
Quantity: 73 items
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

Lewis Birdsall, the son of Benjamin Birdsall, married Patience Lee in 1790 in Columbia County, New York. Their eldest of five children, Jane, was born in 1791 followed by Maurice Lee, Egbert B., Eliza, and Lewis A. In 1800 the family moved to Seneca County, New York, and settled on a farm between Waterloo and Seneca Falls. Jane married John Richardson Harris in 1813. After meeting Moses Austin while living in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, the Harrises decided to emigrate to Texas. While Jane returned to New York with their children, John traveled to upper Galveston Bay and arrived in 1824. He died in 1829 of yellow fever after establishing a town site on Buffalo Bayou named Harrisburg. In 1833 Jane arrived in Texas to gain control of his estate and was followed by her brother Maurice and her parents, Lewis and Patience. All of the Birdsall children resided in Texas at one time or another. Jane Harris and her sister, Eliza Van Tuyl, died in Harrisburg within 8 days of each other in August, 1869.

Scope and Content Note

Estate papers of J. W. Hoyle, financial documents, correspondence, legal documents, and a surveyor's note document a family broken apart by frontier settlement and attempting to establish itself in the Republic of Texas. The estate papers of J. W. Hoyle (41) 1829-1844, administered by Maurice Birdsall, record legal and financial transactions. Thirteen financial documents of Maurice Birdsall (1837-1846) consist of receipts, statements of account, drafts, and promissory notes. Correspondence (8) includes a letter to Lewis A. Birdsall, written by Maurice, persuading his brother to come to Texas. Letters written between the parents, Lewis and Patience, Maurice, Eliza, and Lewis A., describe conditions in Texas and urge immigration. Legal documents record land transactions (1837-1841) conducted by Maurice, Egbert B. and Lewis A. Birdsall. A single surveyor's field note records work completed for Maurice in 1839.


Organized into five series: Correspondence, Financial, Estate of J. W. Hoyle, Legal, and Surveyor's notes; 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

Birdsall, Lewis, 1770-1843
Birdsall, Lewis A., 1802-1886
Birdsall, Maurice Lee, 1794-1847
Birdsall, Patience Lee, 1771-1841
Hoyle, J. W.--Estate
Van Tuyl, Eliza Birdsall, 1799-1869--Archives
Land tenure-Texas
Harris County (Tex.)
Texas--Description and travel

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Lewis Birdsall Family Papers, MC069, 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.



box folder
89.2 1 Correspondence: Received, Sent, 1837-1845, undated


box folder
89.2 2 Financial: Account Statements, Receipts, 1837-1860, undated
3 Financial: Drafts, Promissory Notes, 1849-1846

Estate of J. W. Hoyle

box folder
89.2 4 Financial: Receipts, 1835-circa 1849, undated
5 Financial: Account Statement, 1833, 1843
6 Legal: General, 1831-1844, undated
7 Legal: Agreements, 1831-1839
8 Legal: Promissory Notes, 1829-1842


box folder
89.2 9 Legal: Land documents, 1837-1842

Surveyor's Notes

box folder
89.2 10 Surveyor's Notes, 1839