University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

John Henry Brown family papers, 1691-1951

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Brown, John Henry, 1820-1895
Title: John Henry Brown family papers
Dates: 1691-1951
Abstract: Correspondence and notes relating to Texas history comprise the bulk of the John Henry Brown family papers. Materials document the life, career, and historical writings of journalist, politician, and historian John Henry Brown, as well as other family members, from 1691-1951.
Identification: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00286
Extent: 30 linear feet
Language: English .
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

John Henry Brown (1820-1895), pioneer historian, newspaper editor, soldier, and legislator, was born on October 29, 1820, in Pike County, Missouri. Brown spent most of his adolescence working on newspapers in Pike County and St. Louis, and received little formal schooling. In November 1837, he moved to Texas to live with his uncle, James Kerr, on the Lavaca River. Two years later, Brown moved to Austin and began working on the Austin Texas Sentinel. He participated as a private in the battle of Plum Creek in August 1840. In the spring of 1842, he joined John C. Hays's company and suffered a hip injury in the battle of Salado; he then took part in the Somervell expedition.

In April 1843, Brown returned to Missouri. He remained in his home state working as a journalist for almost two years, then returned to Texas with his new wife in April 1845 and settled near Rock Spring. In late 1846, he began working on the Victoria Advocate and became a major of the newly formed state militia. In 1848, he and his family moved to Indianola. There Brown founded and edited the Indianola Bulletin. In 1854, Brown became associate editor of the Civilian and Galveston Gazette. In Galveston, he was first elected to the state legislature and after his legislative service, and he was elected mayor of Galveston in 1856. He began a second term as mayor in 1857, but it was cut short by his reelection to the legislature.

Brown moved to Belton in 1858, where he was appointed to a committee to study problems with placing Indians on reservations, and he became captain of two military companies formed in 1859 to enforce the committee's recommendations. He also again took on editorial duties, this time for the Belton Democrat. He edited the Democrat until 1861, when he became a delegate to the Secession Convention, where he served as chairman of the committee that prepared the articles of secession. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he became a member of Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch's staff; he published the War Bulletin from McCulloch's camp in Arkansas. When the general was killed in 1862, Brown was transferred to the staff of Gen. Henry E. McCulloch, where he served as assistant adjutant general. However, poor health ended his military career in 1863, and Brown served the remainder of the war with the Texas militia and commanded the Third Frontier District.

After the war, Brown and his family immigrated to Mexico in June 1865. The Browns settled in the Tuxpan River valley, and Brown surveyed areas for settlement as assistant commissioner of immigration for the Mexican government. After a brief period in New Orleans, the family returned to Texas to live in 1871; they finally settled in Dallas. In 1872, Brown was again elected to the state legislature, and three years later he became a member of the state Constitutional Convention of 1875.

During the last fifteen years of his life, Brown divided his time primarily between political duties and historical writing and editing. In 1880–1881 he served as the revising editor of the Encyclopedia of the New West. In 1881, he was also appointed state commissioner for the surveying, marking, and locating of school lands. He served as a Dallas alderman in 1884 and from 1885 to 1889 as the city's mayor. From 1888 to 1890, he also held a post as justice of the peace. Brown's daughter, Marion Taylor Brown, studied art under Robert J. Onderdonk in Dallas. Meanwhile, John Henry Brown wrote and published The History of Dallas County, 1837–1887 (1887) and The Life and Times of Henry Smith (1887). These were followed by Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (ca. 1896) and The History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (1892). Brown died of a bronchial ailment on May 31, 1895, in Dallas.

Sources: Erma Baker, "BROWN, JOHN HENRY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed January 21, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Scope and Contents

The John Henry Brown family papers are comprised of correspondence, journals and diaries, scrapbooks, literary productions, genealogies, newspaper clippings, land surveys and deeds, legal documents, maps, photographs and other pictorial items, and financial records. Materials related to the family and career of Brown include papers accumulated in connection with his historical writings and others produced by family members. Correspondence, notes, drafts, and other materials relate to his Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas and six other books. The Brown family papers include a substantial component of artwork (more than 160 pieces) created by John Henry Brown's daughter, Marion Taylor Brown. Her work includes illustrations for her father's book History of Texas Travels from 1695 to 1892 and her mother's A Condensed History of Texas for schools.


Correspondence, journals and diaries, scrapbooks, literary productions, genealogies, newspaper clippings, land surveys and deeds, legal documents, maps, photographs and other pictorial items, financial records, and other materials, organized into two series organized by types of material or subject, arranged chronologically:
  • I. Mitchel family correspondence
  • II. Brown family correspondence


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Barron, Forbes, y approximately (Mexico).
Brown, John Henry, 1820-1895
Brown, Marion T., 1857-1939
Family Names
Bowie (Family)
Corporate Names
Texas Bird and Nature Study Club (Dallas, Tex.)
Frontier and pioneer life
Indians of North America--Wars
School lands
War work
World War (1914-1918)

Related Materials

Manuscript and galley proofs published as History of Texas, from 1685 to 1893, by John Henry Brown. Saint Louis: L.E. Daniell, 1892.

Manuscript published as School History of Texas, from its discovery in 1685 to 1893, by John Henry Brown and Mary Mitchel Brown. Dallas: Published by the author, 1894.

Publications: Correspondence, notes, drafts, and other materials used as sources for publication: Brown, Marion T., Letters From Ft. Sill, 1886-1887. Austin: Encino Press, 1970.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John Henry Brown Family Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Detailed Description of the Collection

2E1 [SRH1230006001] Mitchel Family correspondence, 1777-1840

2E2 [SRH1230005986] Mitchel Family correspondence, 1841-1849

Brown Family Papers

2E2 [SRH1230005986] Correspondence, 1838-1859
Account book with diary and genealogical entries, 1850-1853
Scrapbook, 1849
2E3 [SRH1230005987] Correspondence, 1860-1878
Letters from Emilia Sandoval, Mexico, to Julius Brown, 1873
2E4 [SRH1230005988] Correspondence, 1879-1885
Congratulatory letters on mayoral election, 1885
2E5 [SRH1230005989] Correspondence, 1886-1887
Letters to and from Marion T. Brown at Ft. Sill, 1886-1887
2E6 [SRH1230005990] Correspondence, 1888-1894
2E7 [SRH1230005991] Correspondence, 1894-1897
Items relating to death of John Henry Brown, (May 31, 1895)
2E8 [SRH1230005924] Correspondence, 1898-1899, undated
2E9 [SRH1230005914] Business Papers
Bills, receipts, tax notices, checks, 1863-1899
3E10 [SRH1230015539] Business and Correspondence
Letter Press (business transactions) of Thomas B. Mitchel, April, 1883 - April, 1886
Deeds and real estate matters, 1866-1894
Correspondence, 1900
2E11 [SRH1230005933] Correspondence, 1901-1902
2E12 [SRH1230005943] Correspondence, 1902-1903
2E13 [SRH1230005953] Correspondence, 1904-1905

Brown Family Papers

2E14 [SRH1230005934] Correspondence, 1906-1907
Condolence letters on death of Mrs. John Henry Brown in, April, 1907
2E15 [SRH1230005944] Correspondence, 1907-1909
2E16 [SRH1230005954] Correspondence, 1910
Business papers
Bills, receipts, tax notices, checks, 1900-1911, undated
2E17 [SRH1230005955] Correspondence, 1911-1913
General correspondence and letters regarding the Mexican Revolution
2E18 [SRH1230005956] Correspondence, 1913-1914
General correspondence including letters using code names to refer to persons in U. S. and Mexico involved in Mexican Revolution
2E19 [SRH1230005945] Correspondence, 1915-1916
General correspondence and letters regarding difficulties in getting mail in and out of Mexico, mention of economic problems in Mexico , and effect on family in Mexico
2E20 [SRH1230005946] Correspondence, 1917-1918
General correspondence and letters regarding the war in Europe
Letters from Mary B. Wilcox in London regarding the end of World War I
2E21 [SRH1230005957] Correspondence, 1919-1920
General correspondence and letters regarding Red Cross activities
2E22 [SRH1230005958] Correspondence
General correspondence and letters regarding death of Clara Brown Mitchel, (March 16, 1922)
2E23 [SRH1230005959] Correspondence, 1922-1925

Brown Family Papers

2E24 [SRH1230005960] Correspondence, 1926-1929
General correspondence and letters regarding death of Thomas Mitchel, (January 19, 1928)
2E25 [SRH1230005961] Correspondence, 1930-1932
2E26 [SRH1230005962] Correspondence, 1932-1935, undated
General correspondence and letters regarding death of Amie Mitchel, wife of Pierre, (May 30, 1935)
2E27 [SRH1230005947] Correspondence, 1936-1951
General correspondence and letters regarding deaths of Lizzie Brown and Marion Brown, (March 1936), (January 1939)
Puzzles submitted for contests by Pierre B. Mitchel, 1940s
2E28 [SRH1230005948] Business and real estate, 1921-1945
Pierre's Diary in Mexico, 1923
Receipts, circa 1930s
Real estate accounts, 1934-1938
2E29 [SRH1230005949] Journals of Clara Brown Mitchel, Mexico City, 1913-1915
Scope and Contents
(Includes observations about Mexican Revolution, conditions in Mexico, and mention of European war)
2E30 [SRH1230005950] Journals of Clara Brown Mitchel, Mexico City, 1915-1916
2E31 [SRH1230005951] Journals of Clara Brown Mitchel, Mexico City, 1916-1920, undated
2E32 [SRH1230005952] Diaries of Marion T. Brown
Volumes I - XV, 1913-1922
Scope and Contents
(Includes comments on Mexican Revolution, the war in Europe, and family history)
2E33 [SRH1230005942] Diaries of Marion T. Brown
Volumes XVI, XVII, XVIII, 1922-1924
Incomplete, 1924-1932
2E34 [SRH1230005941] Scrapbooks and journals of Marion T. Brown
3 scrapbooks on astronomical matters and references to Dallas Society
Scrapbook materials, Genealogy materials, Personal family items, Early Texas history, 1861-1889, undated
Scrapbook of "New England Literary Greats" , 1894-1895
Notebook and diary when Marion was in Mexico, 1898-1910
Journal in Mexico, 1899
Diaries in Mexico, 1902
Scrapbooks of Marion T. Brown
2E35 [SRH1230005940] Legends and folklore
(3 volumes)
Horses and mules
Tree, shrub and wildflower notes
2E36 [SRH1230005939] Nature Studies
Trees and flowers
Ancient peoples
"Old Books"
2E37 [SRH1230005935] Political career of John Henry Brown, 1860s-1890s
Ambassador Morgenthau's story, "Mission to Turkey" , 1918
Cardinal Mercier's own story of Belgium during four years of German occupation, 1919
Newspaper clippings on World War I, 1918
Red Cross knitting record, 1917-1919
2E38 [SRH1230005936] Miscellaneous scrapbooks and diaries
Clara M. Beckworth's inventory of books, undated
Autograph book of Mollis Martin, 1861-1888
Cora Mitchel, "Summer in Mexico" , 1901
Guest book of Marion and Lizzie Brown, 1909
Address and memo books of Marion T. Brown, undated
Family notebooks and diaries, 1912, 1923, 1924, undated
Autograph book of Marion T. Brown, 1887-1934
Inventory of personal household items of Lizzie and Marion Brown, undated
2E39 [SRH1230005937] Scrapbooks of Lizzie Brown
"Historical and Personal Items," Part I
"Historical and Personal Items," Part II
Scrapbook, 1925
Notebook, "Red Cross Knitting Inspection" , 1918
Yearbook, "Red Cross Activities" , 1918
Real estate items, 1912-1914
Miscellaneous records
Business records of Lizzie and Marion Brown, 1929
Address and memo books, 1916-1935
Notes from Presbyterian Church records, 1873-1922
Women's work, First Presbyterian Church, Dallas, 1928
Documents related to Presbyterian Church, Dallas, 1871-1934
Account books, 1907-1919
Diary, Lizzie Brown, Mexico City, 1908
2E40 [SRH1230005938] Family scrapbooks and historical papers
Newspaper clippings and pressed plants
Newspaper clippings concerning Texans and southern literature
Papers re: J. J. Ogsbury and Thomas Henesee Lands in Calhoun County
Historical scrapbook
Notebooks (publications and family), 1887-1893
2E41 [SRH1230005925] Scrapbooks of John Henry Brown
General newspaper clippings, 1843-1848
General newspaper clippings, circa 1892
Historical sketches
Texas Indian wars
"Confederates in Mexico"
Literary (Texas writers)
Organizations and clubs
2E42 [SRH1230005915] Scrapbooks on Texas Bird and Nature Study Club, 1924-1935
Papers presented to Texas Bird and Nature Study Club, 1911, 1929-1933
Items related to Texas Bird and Nature Study Club, 1926-1934
Marion Brown's articles related to Texas Bird and Nature Study Club, 1932-1935
Dallas Reading Circle, 1881
2E43 [SRH1230005926] Pierian Club minutes and other materials, 1920-1924
Dallas Students Art League (R. J. Onderdonk, teacher/ Marion Brown, secretary), 1983
Pearl Street Reading Club
2E44 [SRH1230005916] Literary productions of Clara Brown Mitchel
Literary productions, incomplete/untitled
Stories and legends of Mexico
Stories and legends of Mexico and Spain
Notes on ancient Mexican art, sculpture, architecture
2E45 [SRH1230005917] Family literary productions
Clara Brown Mitchel diary, Texas to Mexico, 1865
Clara Brown Mitchel literary productions, many incomplete, undated
Clara Brown Mitchel manuscript, from Florida to Tampico
Lizzie C. Brown literary productions, 1911, undated
Marion T. Brown literary productions, undated
Thomas B. Mitchel manuscript "Three Republics…" , undated
Thomas B. Mitchel manuscript "Le Bateau Trouve" , undated
Various family members or unidentified
Literary productions of Mrs. John Henry Brown (Mary Mitchel Brown)
2E46 [SRH1230005927] Scrapbook of poems
Juarez, President Benito of Mexico
"Dinah" (manuscript)
Manuscripts (incomplete)
"From Orizava to Tuspan"
Manuscripts (one of her 70th birthday)
Miscellaneous manuscripts
2E47 [SRH1230006197] Materials relating to Mrs. Brown's School History of Texas
School History of Texas (manuscript)
Letter book re: School History of Texas
2E48 [SRH1230005928] Literary productions
"Mrs. Horn's Captivity," by Mrs. John Henry Brown
"Mrs. Thornton's Story of her Captivity," by Mrs. John Henry Brown
Materials concerning Oxendale-Plummsa-Jasperson-Direfamilies
John Henry Brown manuscript and historical notes
Empty envelopes with annotations by John Henry Brown
2E49 [SRH1230005918] "Historical" correspondence, diaries, and journals
Copies of official correspondence concerning independence from Mexico, 1824-1836
John S. Moore's manuscript on the Bowie family, undated
Biography of Alfred Sturgis Thurmond, undated
Diaries and journals of John Henry Brown, 1869, 1870, 1888, 1893
Family diaries and journals, 1861-1882
2E50 [SRH1230005865] Genealogies
Miscellaneous genealogies and requests
Brown-Jones-Kerr-Wells-Stevenson families
Mitchel-Avery families
Avery family
2E51 [SRH1230005885] Genealogies and historical associations
Genealogies of Brown-Clark-Kerr-Wells Doddridge families
Genealogies of Avery-Mitchel-Alden families
Printed funeral notices of family and friends
Newspaper clippings about Brown family
Dallas County Pioneer Association
Dallas Genealogical Society
Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, United Daughters of the Confederary
Bell County Independent Blurs
Military Organizations--Texas Veteran Association
2E52 [SRH1230005895] Materials relating primarily to Dallas
References to history of Dallas County
Journal re: Dallas city government and public schools, 1884
Political papers including Brown's mayoral term, 1861-1882
Items relating to Brown's term as Justice of the Peace, 1888-1890
Field notes of Dallas County School Land, 1879
Streets of Dallas, 1872, 1880
Items concerning Bachman Lake Camps--Dallas, 1933-1934
Newspaper clippings about Dallas, 1890-1924
2E53 [SRH1230005905] Literary effort and newspaper clippings
Articles and speeches, 1870-1886
Description of state of Texas in, 1878
Topographical description of Texas in, 1880
Newspaper clippings concerning Texas
2E54 [SRH1230005866] Materials and correspondence related to literary efforts by John Henry Brown
Henry Smith biography
G. W. Fulton correspondence
Texas history book and Indian wars, 1876-1888
Texas history book and Indian wars, 1889-1890
Texas history book and letters from John Henry Brown in St. Louis, 1893
Texas history book and Indian wars, 1892-1899
Texas Revolution, San Jacinto, Alamo
2E55 [SRH1230005876] History of Texas, 1685-1892, Volume I
Original manuscript
2E56 [SRH1230005886] History of Texas, 1685-1892, Volume I
Original manuscript
2E57 [SRH1230005896] History of Texas, 1685-1892, Volume II
Original manuscript
Index, appendices, fragments
Incomplete manuscript
Corrected proof (incomplete)
2E58 [SRH1230005906] Correspondence and biographies concerning "Eminent Texians"
Correspondence requesting information about early Texans, 1887-1895
Brief biographies of Eminent Texians, 1890
Materials concerning biographical data of early Texans, 1891-1894
Sketches of eminent Texans for encyclopedia, 1891
Correspondences from and about eminent Texans: Hamilton P. Bee, Lorenzo De Zavala, James Bonham, Haron
Correspondence from G. Nelson Smith of Philadelphia (Texian soldier), 1886
Correspondence from J. T. DeShields, 1886-1888, 1893, 1907
Papers from and references to Stephen F. Austin and family, 1832-1889
Correspondence relating to Ben McCulloch biography by V. M. Rose, McCulloch family, 1883-1886, 1889-1894
Correspondence and materials concerning Bowie family, 1876, 1889
Materials relating to death of Jefferson Davis
Sketch of W. W. O. Stanfield (private secretary to Thomas Rusk) by son
2E59 [SRH1230005867] Materials about Indian wars and/or Mexico
Indian depredations and fights
Correspondence concerning Indian wars and pioneers, 1881-1895
Items related to Brown and Mitchel families in Mexico
Spanish/Mexican documents, 1691-1858
Newspaper clippings and materials re: Mexico
Items concerning Barron, Forbes & Co., Mexico (mining company)
Will from South America (copy), 1911
2E60 [SRH1230005877] Land Surveys by John Henry Brown
Yucatan Peninsula, 1865-1866
Matagorda, 1877-1879
Unorganized county school lands, 1882
Correspondence and report on unorganized county school lands, 1882-1883
Survey trip to Wise County, 1882
2E61 [SRH1230005887] Mitchel, Avery, Chaplin families
Religious literary productions, 1897-1929
Sermons and religious tracts by Rev. Colby C. Mitchel, 1813-1841
Rev. Colby C. Mitchel materials, earlier than Nov. 15, 1841
Correspondence and fragments concerning Fannie Chaplin, undated
Avery family materials, 1820-1830
2E62 [SRH1230005897] Unidentified and/or undated items and fragments
2E63 [SRH1230005907] Unidentified and/or undated items and fragments
2E64 [SRH1230005868] Family memorabilia, 1846-1938
Family memorabilia
Calling cards
Memorabilia cards/complimentary tickets
Invitations and monograms
Wedding invitations
Greeting cards
Club and dance programs
Ephemera and official documents
Items concerning Indianola, Texas
Items concerning death of Lizzie Brown, 1936
Papers concerning Ann King Williams (Black servant)
2E65 [SRH1230005878] Legal and business
Wills and legal correspondence, 1877-1936
Legal and business materials, 1893-1936

2.325/V57 [SRH1230002527] Oversize materials
Family history and autobiography
References to Indianola
Newspaper letters and editorials by John Henry Brown
Materials about Brown, Kerr, Wells, Stevenson, Durbin, Avery, Doddridge, Thomas Mitchel, Parke families
Sign with knitted garments to be reconstituted

3S166 [SRH1230029580] Map of Mexico City (reproduction), circa 1500s
Land grant, letter from Brown to daughters
James Bowie family tree
Galleys of History of Texas
Floor plan
Printed material
Brown family tree
Commissions, 1848-1884

OD1273 Oversize
Brown family tree
Botanical profile, from Fort Smith to San Pedro, 1853-1854
World War I Victory Liberty Loan Banner

4L444 Pierre Brown Mitchel materials
Children's picture book, 1882
Children's picture book, 1882
Marion Brown materials
4L445 Children's scrapbook, 1887
4L446 Red Cross scrapbook, 1914-1918
John Henry Brown materials
4L447 Scrapbook, newspaper clippings - state, 1878-1882
4L449 Scrapbook, newspaper clippings from Galveston, Indianola and Dallas, 1843-1883
4L450 Scrapbook, newspaper clippings - Dallas and Texas, 1885-1887
4L451 Scrapbook (genealogy)

3S4 [SRH1230027680] Photographs and pictorial materials

3S4 [SRH1230027680] Photos, people
Adams, John--Onderdonk, Robert
Ireland, John--Young, Jennie
Illustrations from Brown's History of Texas and other publications

3S5 [SRH1230027679] Photos, places
Alamo--Xochicalco, Mexico (ruins)
Illustrations for Brown's History of Texas and other publications

3S5 [SRH1230027679] Sketches and drawings
By Brown family members and others, 1864-1904, undated
By Marion T. Brown, 1891-1897, undated

3S213 [SRH1230022800] Oversize photographs and lithographs
Drawings and paintings by and of Marion Brown and Sophie Mitchel
Sketches by Brown family members, 1896-1897, undated
Oversize photos of Brown family and historical figures
3Y1 [SRH1230028277] Marion T. Brown sketchbooks, 1887-1894
Postcard albums
Battle of Verdun, France, 1916
Mexico City and greeting cards
Mexico, Canada, Europe, and artwork
3Y2 [SRH1230028278] Ships and New England historic sites
San Antonio and California missions, historic Virginia churches, Mexico churches, and other U.S. churches
Album and scrapbook of greeting cards and other printed illustrations
3Y3a [SRH1230028273] Cased photographs
Brown and Mitchell family members
McCulloch, Benjamin
Scurry, William Redi
3Y4a [SRH1230028275] Brown, Henry

3S164 [SRH1230029577] Daguerrotypes, etchings and engravings

4N13b Paintings
4N13c Portrait of John Henry Brown by Charles Kent Owen, 1902
4N13e Portraits
4N14b Portraits
4N8r Portraits
4N14f Portrait of Mary Mitchel Brown by Marion T. Brown, 1897
4N8s Paintings by Marion T. Brown and Sophie Mitchel
3S164 [SRH1230029577] Marion T. Brown's watercolor sketch of bluebird
31 maps, 1835-1939, in map collection