University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Andrew F. Smyth Papers

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Smyth, Andrew Farney.
Title: Andrew F. Smyth Papers
Dates: 1799-1800, 1832-1990
Abstract: The Andrew F. Smyth Papers, 1799-1800, 1832-1990 [bulk 1840s-1940s], consist of correspondence, Legal and financial documents, photographs, publications, and other material, which document the business activities and personal lives of five generations of the Andrew F. Smyth family, including his children, grandchildren, brother George W. Smyth’s family and son-in-law Elisha D. Seale’s extended family. Series include: I. Smyth Family Papers, II. Seale Family Papers, III. Assorted Family Papers, IV. Unidentified Family Papers, V. Photographs, VI. Newspapers, VII. Artifacts, and VIII. Confederate States of America Money.
Extent 6 ft., 7 in.
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Andrew Farney Smyth (1817-1879), riverboat captain, surveyor, mill owner, farmer, merchant, and judge, was the second eldest son of Andrew and Susannah Smyth. After living in Pennsylvania and Tennessee, the family settled down near Moulton, Alabama, in 1817. Andrew F. Smyth moved to Jasper county, Texas, in 1835, and initially aided in managing the affairs of his brother George W. Smyth, a congressman and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Andrew gradually found his own success, first as a surveyor then as a grist and sawmill owner, employing 80 people full time at the Smyth Mills by 1855. Andrew entered a brief and ill-fated partnership between 1855 and 1859 with W. A. Ferguson to operate a general store that nearly resulted in Andrew's bankruptcy, but with his family and friends’ financial assistance, he was able to buy out Ferguson and turn Smyth's Mercantile into a profitable business.

Andrew is best known as a riverboat captain, a business he began in 1838 by building flatboats to ship cotton down river, then selling both the cotton and the timber of the boat upon arrival at the Gulf of Mexico. Around 1850, Andrew acquired the keelboat Jasper, for transporting cotton to the Gulf. Upon retirement, the Jasper's hull was used to build a house on the Smyth acreage along the Angelina River. Andrew captained his first steamboat, Camargo, beginning in 1862, but persistent mechanical problems compelled him to replace it with the newly built Laura in the early 1870s. The best-known ship on the Neches for 25 years, the Laura hauled cargo and provided the first dependable passenger transportation in lower east Texas.

In 1844, Andrew married Emily Allen (1827-1907), daughter of Benjamin and Nancy Allen. The couple had six children, all of whom Emily corresponded with regularly: Frances, Andrew C. “Buddy” or “Constantine,” Araminta “Mintie,” Susannah “Susan” or “Coo”, Nancy “Nannie,” and George W. “Buck,” II (not to be confused with Andrew F.’s brother George W. Smyth, Sr., or his son George W., Jr.). After his father's death, George II formed the George W. Smyth & Co. partnership with his mother and brother Andrew, in order to handle the business affairs of the family, including the land, the Smyth & Seale General Merchant Store & Sawmill, and the steamer Laura, now captained by M. C. Smyth.

In 1861, Nancy Smyth (1846-1892) married Elisha D. Seale (1833-1911), son of Lewis Seale and grandson of Joshua Seale. Elisha was a well-respected teacher and served briefly as a school supervisor at the Jasper Collegiate Institute before the Civil War caused the school to close. Elisha had a close relationship with his mother-in-law Emily Smyth, and referred to her affectionately as “Ma” and “Little Mother.” Elisha and Nancy had fifteen children: Emma “Emily”, Francis “Jimmie”, Henry M., Andrew G., Basco, Esther “Essie”, David W. “Watts”, Ruth, Minnie, Susan E. “Coo”, Lewis J., William, Nancy, Mary “Mame”, and Grace. Ruth went on to become a pharmacist and owned R. Seale & Co. Drugs, raising chickens on the side for additional income. William, a contractor and timberman, was actively involved in the American Lumberman Society during the 1920s. Both Esther and William Seale became interested in family genealogy. In 1966, Wiliam’s son, Dr. William Seale, Jr., published the biography, Texas Riverman: The Life and Times of Captain Andrew Farney Smyth.

Scope and Contents

The Andrew F. Smyth Papers, 1799-1800, 1832-1990 [bulk 1840s-1940s], consist of correspondence, Legal and financial documents, photographs, publications, and other material, which document the business activities and personal lives of five generations of the Andrew F. Smyth family, including his children, grandchildren, brother George W. Smyth’s family and son-in-law Elisha D. Seale’s extended family. Series include: I. Smyth Family Papers, II. Seale Family Papers, III. Assorted Family Papers, IV. Unidentified Family Papers, V. Photographs, VI. Newspapers, VII. Artifacts, and VIII. Confederate States of America Money.

The bulk of the first series, Smyth Family Papers, 1835-1909, 1923, and undated, document the land surveying and river transportation trade of Andrew F. Smyth, the relationships between Emily A. Smyth and her six children, and the business activities of George W. Smyth II and Co. Within the series are also the papers of other family members, including Andrew’s brother and sister-in-law George W. and Frances Grigsby Smyth, Sr., his children Araminta Wagley and Andrew C. Smyth, his son-in-law Nathan M. Hart’s family, and assorted family members.

The Andrew F. Smyth Papers, 1835-1880, 1896, and undated, document Smyth’s activities as land surveyor, sawmill owner, judge, and steamboat captain. Of note is a June 1, 1860, sealed certificate signed by Governor Sam Houston appointing Andrew F. Smyth subengineer of the Neches-Angelina navigation improvement project. Included are many hand-drawn survey plats created by Andrew F. Smyth for land surveying and as part of the Neches-Angelina project. Correspondence, Legal documents, and Financial documents relate to his business ventures as well as his private life. Also, some of the ledger books have entries written by family members, including one nearly twenty years (December 1896) after Andrew’s death in 1879.

The Emily Allen Smyth Papers, 1847-1904, and undated, contain primarily Emily’s correspondence with her five children, and business and Legal documents relating to the shipping business, her pension and inheritance, and the rental of her properties.

The second series, Seale Family Papers, 1799, 1858-1927, 1942-1976, and undated, highlights the Legal and financial activities of schoolteacher Elisha D. Seale, his grandfather Joshua Seale and father Lewis P. Seale, his wife Nancy Smyth Seale, his brother William F. Seale, and many of Elisha and Nancy’s children and grandchildren, including druggist Ruth Seale, William Seale, Sr. and Jr., Esther Seale Hooks, Esther Hooks Walker, and others. Receipts, bills, warranty deeds, probate records, business and personal correspondence, and genealogical documents also illuminate the activities of the Seale Family.

The third series, Assorted Family Papers, 1838, 1849-1851, 1861, 1890-1902, and undated, contains the Legal and financial documents of the Allen and Grigsby Families and Horace A. Glenn, a cousin of Emily Allen Smyth.

Material without a known author or with an author of unknown relation to the Smyth and Seale families form the fourth series, Unidentified Family Papers, 1800, 1832-1923, [ca. 1959], and undated. It is comprised of correspondence, Printed material divided by subject, Legal and financial documents, survey material, Creative works, and handwritten notes.

The Photographs series, [ca. 1850s]-1990, includes prints, cased daguerreotypes, tintypes, negatives, and one glass ambrotype, of Smyth family members, Seale family members, and unidentified or unrelated people. Although most of the photographs date to the 19th to early 20th centuries, many prints in this collection were made in the latter half of the 20th century from original photographs; most of the dates reflect the original date rather than the reprint dates.

The sixth series, Newspapers, 1846-1925, 1942, and undated, comprises various publications from the United States, primarily in Texas. Listed alphabetically, the date and place of publication is also given when known. Of note are the complete issues of The Christian Herald and Signs of Our Times (NY), July 9, 1885- June 7, 1888. However, most of the newspapers are incomplete issues or news clippings.

The final two series, Artifacts and Confederate States of America Money, have been removed to the Artifact Collection and Money Collection, respectively.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Smyth, Andrew Farney, 1817-1879.
Smyth, Emily Allen, 1827-1907.
Smyth, George Washington, 1850-1922.
Seale, Elisha DeKalb, 1833-1911.
Seale, William, 1882-1962.
Beaumont (Tex.)
Jasper (Tex.)
Woodville (Tex.)

Related Material

George W. Smyth Papers, 1819-1892

The Louisiana History Museum in Alexandria preserves additional images of the Seale family, including photographs of Lewis Seale, David Watts Seale and Minnie McCaskle.

Separated Material

Artifacts and Confederate States of America Money have been removed to the Artifact Collection and Money Collection, respectively.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Andrew F. Smyth Papers, 1799-1800, 1832-1990, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Detailed Description of the Collection



4Ja1 Smyth Family Papers, 1835-1909, 1923, undated
Andrew F. Smyth Papers, 1835-1880, 1896, undated
Correspondence, 1845-1880
Business, 1845-1880
Personal, 1845-1879
Financial documents, 1835-1879, 1896
Account statements and bills of articles, 1837-1879
Checks and receipts, 1838-1879
Ledger books, 1844-1879, 1896
Promissory notes, 1838, 1847-1879
Legal documents and drafts, 1835-1875
3S191.1 Legal documents and drafts, 1835-1875
4Ja1 Shipping records, [ca. 1840-1879]
Bills of lading, 1846-1871
Cargo lists, [ca. 1840-1879]
Survey records, 1836-1879
Field notes, 1836-1879
Plats, 1838, undated
Publications, 1859-1875
Notes and Drafts, 1854-1863
4Ja2 Emily Allen Smyth Papers, 1847-1904, undated
Correspondence, 1847-1904
Financial documents, 1878-1904
Ledger books, 1878-1903
Bills and receipts, 1887-1904
Legal documents, 1885-1903
Raw goods orders, 1894, undated
George W. “Buck” Smyth, II, Papers, [ca. 1860]-1909
Correspondence, 1877-1909
Financial documents, 1870-1884, 1894-1900
Bills and receipts, 1870-1884, 1894-1900
Ledger and check books, 1878-1884, 1896-1900
Legal documents, 1872-1881, 1923
Creative works, [ca. 1860-ca. 1892]
Printed material, February 15, 1908
4Ja3 George W. Smyth, Sr., Papers, 1835-1864, undated
Correspondence, 1835, 1848-1859
Financial documents, 1847-1864
Legal documents, 1843-1848, undated
3S191.1 Legal documents, 1843-1848, undated
4Ja3 Andrew C. Smyth Papers, 1871-1883, undated
Correspondence, 1871-1883
Legal drafts, 1880-1882
Schoolwork, undated
Araminta D. “Minty” Smyth Wagley Papers, 1881-1904, undated
Correspondence, 1881-1904
Creative works, undated
Nathan M. Hart Family Papers, 1886, 1898-1905, 1913, undated
Correspondence, 1886, 1898-1905, 1913
Financial documents, 1901, undated
Frances M. Grigsby Smyth Papers, 1866-1869, 1879
Legal and financial documents, 1866, 1879
Correspondence, 1869
Assorted Smyth Family Papers, 1848-1857, 1868-1882, undated
Legal and financial documents, 1848, 1868-1882
Correspondence, January 19, 1880
Creative works, 1857
3S191.1 D. A. R. Genealogical Chart for Fannie Smith, undated
4Ja3 Seale Family Papers, 1799, 1858-1927, 1942-1976, undated
Elisha D. Seale Papers, 1858-1916, undated
Correspondence, 1858-1911
Financial documents, 1859-1909
Ledger and check books, 1860-1901
Bills and receipts, 1859-1909
Tax receipts, 1868, 1880-1900
Legal documents, 1860-1900, 1912-1916
Warranty deeds, 1870-1883, 1895-1900
Rental agreements, 1867, 1894-1898
4Ja4 Wills and probate records, 1867-1869, 1883, 1895, 1912-1916
Teaching contracts and certificates, 1860-1894
3S191.1 Tyler County Commissioner certificate, July 24, 1876
4Ja4 Assorted, 1864-1865, 1879, 1888-1895
Survey notes, 1872, 1894-1895
Creative works, 1871, 1892, undated
Handwritten notes, 1894-1898, undated
Printed material, 1872-1888, undated
William Seale, Sr., Papers, 1902, 1913-1926, 1949-1961, undated
Correspondence, 1918-1923, 1949-1955
Financial documents, 1922-1923
Legal documents, 1902, 1922-1926
Genealogical material, 1951-1961, undated
Printed material, 1913, [ca. 1921], undated
Joshua Seale Papers, 1799, 1828-1868, undated
Financial documents, 1830-1863
Legal documents, 1828-1838
Probate records, 1864-1868
Masonic documents, 1799, undated
Nancy Smyth Seale Papers, 1865, 1889-1896, undated
Correspondence, 1865, 1886-1894
Legal and financial documents, 1887, 1896, undated
William Seale, Jr., Papers, 1952-1956, 1966-1967, undated
Family history and genealogy, 1952, [ca. 1966], undated
General Land Office receipt, October 5, 1956
Lewis P. Seale Papers, 1867-1870, undated
Lumber orders, 1867-1869
Legal and financial documents, 1870, undated
Ruth Seale Papers, 1891-1932, 1942
Personal correspondence, 1891-1906, 1942
R. Seale Drug & Co. records, 1892-1899, 1912-1932
Esther Hooks Walker Papers, [1918], 1927, 195[?]-1976, undated
Genealogical notes, 195[?], 1967-1976
Correspondence, [1918], 1927
Creative works, undated
Minnie Seale Hawthorne correspondence, 1891-1901, 1917-1920, undated
Emma Seale Stevens correspondence, 1883-1893
William F. Seale correspondence, 1868, 1885
Esther Seale Hooks Family Papers, 1892, 1907, 1917-1923, undated
Correspondence, 1892, 1907, 1917-1923
Handwritten note, undated
Assorted Seale Family Papers, 1832-1836, 1848-1872, 1883, 1893-1919, 1942, undated
Correspondence, 1863-1872, 1883, 1896-1919, 1942
Financial documents, 1832-1836, 1848-1870, 1893
Legal documents, 1833-1836, 1856-1869
Creative works, 1867
Printed material, undated
Assorted Family Papers, 1838, 1849-1851, 1861, 1890-1902, undated
Allen and Grigsby Family legal and financial documents, 1838, 1849-1851, 1861
Horace A. Glenn financial documents, 1890-1902
Unidentified Family Papers, 1800, 1832-1923, [ca. 1959], undated
Correspondence, 1845-1870, 1883-1923, 1955, undated
3S191.1 Correspondence, 1845-1870, 1883-1923, 1955, undated
4Ja5 Printed material, 1856-1874, 1884-1902, [ca. 1959], undated
Farming, 1856-1857, 1873-1874, undated
Religion, 1888-[1896]
Dress and health, 1884-1889, 1902, undated
Political pamphlets and speeches, 1859-1874
Entertainment, 1886, 1896, [ca. 1959], undated
Assorted advertisements, 1857, 1869, undated
3S191.1 Assorted advertisements, 1857, 1869, undated
4Ja5 Assorted booklets and pamphlets, 1849, 1867, 1889, undated
Assorted business cards, 1886, undated
Assorted printed material, 1856, 1873, undated
3S191.1 Assorted printed material, 1856, 1873, undated
4Ja5 Legal documents, 1800, 1838-1895, undated
Financial documents, 1832, 1842-1894, undated
Bills and receipts, 1832, 1842-1894, undated
Lumber orders, undated
3S191.1 Survey plats and maps, 1850, 1879, 1897, undated
2.116/OD1284 Survey plats and maps, 1850, 1879, 1897, undated
4Ja5 Creative works, undated
Handwritten Notes, 1868-1869, 1890, undated
3Y80b Photographs, [ca. 1840s]-1990
Smyth Family, [ca. 1840s-1880], [ca. 1917], 1965, 1989, undated
Andrew F. and Emily Allen Smyth, [ca. 1860s], 1989
Prints, [ca. 1860s], 1989
Matted prints, [ca. 1860s]
3S61 Negatives, 1989
3Y80b The Laura matted print, [ca. 1875-1880], 1965
George W. Smyth prints, [ca. 1917], undated
3T1a Assorted Family Members, [ca. 1840s-1870s]
Cased daguerreotypes, [ca. 1840s-1850s]
Cased tintypes, [ca. 1856-1870s]
Seale Family, [ca. 1850s]-1977, 1989-1900
Grace Seale Wallace Family, [ca. 1890s-1940s]
Prints, [ca. 1910s-1940s]
Matted and paper-cased prints, [ca. 1890s-1920s]
3T1a Tintypes, [ca. 1892-1895]
3Y80b Mary Seale Horn Family, [ca. 1890s-1960s]
Prints, [ca. 1910s-1960s]
Matted and paper-cased prints, [ca. 1890s-1920s], [ca. 1960s]
Esther Seale Hooks Family, [ca. 1880s-1930s], 1973-1977
Prints, [ca. 1880s-1930s], 1973-1977
Matted prints, [ca. 1890s]
Ruth Seale, [ca. 1870s], [ca. 1900s-1930s]
Prints, [ca. 1910s-1930s]
3Y80c Matted and paper-cased prints, [ca. 1870s], [ca. 1900s-1920s]
3T1a Tintype, [1875]
3S61 Negatives, undated
3Y80c Elisha D. and Nancy Smyth Seale, [ca. 1860s-1900s]
Prints, [ca. 1860s-1880s], [ca. 1900s]
Matted prints, [ca. 1880s-1890s]
3T1a Tintypes, [ca. 1870s-1880s]
3Y80c Lewis J. Seale Family, [ca. 1910s-1940s]
Prints, [1914-1918], [ca. 1920s]
Matted prints, [ca. 1910s-1940s]
William F. Seale Family matted prints, [ca. 1890s-1900s]
Susan Seale, [ca. 1879], [ca. 1890s-1910s]
Prints, 1907-[ca. 1910s]
Matted and paper-cased prints, [ca. 1890s-1910s]
3T1a Tintype, [ca. 1879]
3S61 Negatives, undated
3Y80c Emma Seale Stevens Family, [ca. 1910s-1950s]
Prints, [ca. 1910s-1950s]
Matted prints, [ca. 1910s]
Henry M. Seale Family, [ca. 1890s], [ca. 1910s-1940s]
Prints, [ca. 1910s-1940s]
Matted prints, [ca. 1890s], [ca. 1910s-1920s]
Nancy Seale Rimer matted and paper-cased prints, [ca. 1900s-1920s]
Lewis P. Seale, Sr., [ca. 1850s-1870s]
Prints, [ca. 1850s-1870s]
3T1a Ambrotype, [ca. 1850s]
3Y80d Lewis I. Seale, February 14, 1871
Prints, February 14, 1871
3T1a Tintype, February 14, 1871
3Y80d Minnie Seale Hawthorne Family, [ca. 1900s-1910s], [ca. 1970s]
Prints, [ca. 1910s], [ca. 1970s]
3S61 Negatives, [ca. 1900s]
3Y80d Minnie McCaskie Seale Family matted prints, [ca. 1900s-1910s]
William Seale, Sr., matted prints, [ca. 1900s-1910s]
Assorted Family Members, [ca. 1870s-1950s]
Prints, [ca. 1890s-1940s]
Matted prints, [ca. 1880s-1910s]
3T1a Francis Seale tintype, [ca. 1870s]
3S61 Negatives, [ca. 1950s]
3Y80d Assorted Photographs, [ca. 1860s-1940s], [ca. 1960s], 1989-1990
Prints, [ca. 1890s-ca. 1940s], [ca. 1960s], 1989-1990
Matted and paper-cased prints, 1877-[ca. 1930s]
3T1a Tintypes, [ca. 1860s-1870s]
3S61 Negatives, [ca. 1920s-1930s], undated
4Ja5 Newspapers, 1846-1925, 1942
Banner, Beaumont, TX, January 22, [?]
3S191.1 Baptist, Memphis, TN, October 7, 1876, December 9-16, 1876, undated
Beaumont Daily Journal, Beaumont, TX, September 12, 1925 , undated
Beaumont Enterprise, Beaumont, TX, June 11, 1905, August 26, 1917
Chicago Ledger, Chicago, IL, May 25, 1892
4Ja5 Christian Herald and Signs of Our Times, New York City, NY, July 9, 1885-June 7, 1888
2.116/OD1284 Civilian and Gazette, Galveston, TX, February 16, 1858, [1859]
3S191.1 Corsicana Evening Chronicle, Corsicana, TX, February 16, 1898
Corsicana Observer, Corsicana, TX, February 10, 1888
East-Texas Clarion, Jasper, TX, October 29, 1859
Eureka, Woodville, TX, January 11, 1890, July 26, 1890, July 4, 1891
2.116/OD1284 Galveston Daily News, Galveston, TX, April 22, 1883
4Ja5 Galveston News Price Current and Market Review, Galveston, TX, December 2, 1871
3S191.1 Galveston Weekly News, Galveston, TX, September 2, 1856, March 27, 1860
Home and Farm, Louisville, KY, November 1, 1881, May 15, 1882, May 15, 1883
Housekeeper, TX, September 15, 1894, undated
Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX, November 29, 1917
4Ja5 Microcosm, 1891
Musical Million, April 1, 1878, February 1883, January 1886
3S191.1 Musician’s Mouthpiece, Chicago, IL, April-June 1905
National Economist, Washington, D.C., September 14-21, 1889
4Ja5 National Temperance Advocate, NY, January-August 1881
3S191.1 New Era, Austin, TX, February 1846
New Era, Galveston, TX, December 24, 1861
2.116/OD1284 News-Boy, Jasper, TX, September 17, 1880, June 17, 1881
3S191.1 Sabine Pass Times, Sabine Pass, TX, October 10, 1860
4Ja5 Southern Farm, undated
3S191.1 Southern Statesman, Prattville, AL, December 25, 1858
Sunday School Times, Philadelphia, PE, January-March 1878, undated
Texas Baptist, Anderson, TX, January 20, 1859
Texas Baptist Herald, Houston and Dallas, TX, August 5, 1875
Texas Farmer, Dallas, TX, August 30, 1890
Texas State Gazette, Austin, TX, August 24, 1850
Times, Colmesneil, TX, November 8, 1890
Tri-Weekly State Gazette, Austin, TX, August-November 1866
Tyler County Messenger, Woodville, TX, June 23, 1906, October 7, 1911
Weekly Civilian & Gazette, Galveston, TX, December 24, 1861
Weekly News-Boy, Jasper, TX, April 10, 1889
Weekly Union, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1847
Woodville Gazette, Woodville, TX, March-July 1905
Woodville News, Woodville, TX, June 13, 1902
Unidentified, 1850-1864, 1885-1904, 1925, 1942, undated
Shipping news page, December 20, 1850
2.116/OD1284 River bill, [1856]
State news, [1857]
3S191.1 Extraordinary Births clipping, [1858]
Hotel and Merchant Advertisements, [1860]
Civil War clipping, [1864] August
Ross, Roberts and Lubbock Declare the [Prohibition] Amendment Wrong, [1885]
Dr. John Wagley’s death, [December 14, 1893]
Medical advise, [1896]
Emma Shelby’s obituary, July 1904
Tyler County History review, August 30, 1925
John Harrison Seale’s obituary, [March 28, 1942]
Assorted clippings, undated
Artifact Collection Artifacts, 1858, 1870-[ca. 1877], [ca. 19th century]
Money Collection Confederate States of America Money, [ca. 1863], undated