Featured Pay Warrants of the Texian Navy

Discussion in 'Paper Money' started by kaparthy, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    Although Republic of Texas “red backs” are well-known to collectors, the pay warrants for the Texian navy and marines are truly scarce. I bought two and donated them to the Brigadier General John C. L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry. Of course, I made scans for myself. I also began assembling images of other notes in this series. Heritage Auctions has the best library of online sales catalogs listing many of these. I found a few others, as well. Of course, I also got books from the UT Austin library about the Texian Navy; and I visited university’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. I found online resources from the Texas State Historical Association and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. From those repositories, I began building a spreadsheet to correlate the names from the backs of the pay warrants to their places in the history of the Texian Navy.
    972 Face (CT).jpg
    “Remember the Alamo!” encapsulates the story of Texas independence. The easy narrative is that the 185 defenders bought time for the government to form an army with which to defend itself. In fact, Texas was created, secured, and maintained by its navy. Therein lies a bitter irony. Sam Houston disliked the Navy because it spoiled his plans for annexation to the United States. Houston wanted to plead for federal Washington’s protection but the Navy kept scoring wins against Mexico.

    From the outset of the war for independence, the land victory at San Jacinto (April 21, 1836) was made possible by the Texas flotilla which deprived Gen. Antonio López Santa Anna of supplies. On March 3, 1836, the Liberty captured the Pelicano. Her cargo was manifested from an American firm, J. W. Zacherie of New Orleans. But inside the barrels of flour and other trade goods were concealed military supplies. The Liberty later seized another American ship, the Durango, which was also carrying military stores under a false manifest. Deprived of materiel and food, the Mexican army was forced to forage, ultimately allowing the Texians to advance on an unprotected staging area. There, at San Jacinto, they captured Gen. Santa Anna.
    972 Back (CT).jpg
    As the same time, Mexico was torn by its own on-going constitutional crisis of federalism versus centralism. Yucatán won its independence from Spain in 1823 and joined the Mexican federation as a state. But Santa Anna (“the Napoleon of the West”) wanted a centralized government. In 1841, Yucatán declared its independence from Mexico. The Texian navy was only too happy to help out. The tens of thousands of silver pesos that supported the Navy while it was away from Texas came from rebel governments at Yucatán and Campeche. In addition, those engagements forced the attentions of the Mexican army and navy away from Texas.

    Meanwhile, President Sam Houston could not succeed himself and the next chief executive was Mirabeau Lamar. He supported the Navy. But Texas was broke. Her first paper money was immediately discounted by 50% on the streets of New Orleans. By 1841, as the legislature authorized ever more expenditures, the Texian dollar was down to 16-2/3 cents, when it was accepted at all.

    On his own authority, Mirabeau Lamar then authorized the issue of over $100,000 in emergency warrants, mere promises. All dated April 23, 1841, the notes read: “The last Naval Appropriation being inadequate to satisfy the claims of the Officers, Sailors and Marines of the Texian Navy, the holder of this Certificate or his Assignee, will be entitled to FIFTY DOLLARS upon its presentation at the Treasury out of the first Appropriation made by Congress to meet said claims.” Notes were printed three to a sheet, one fifty and two twenty-fives. They were immediately passed out to the men at Galveston. Some were turned in at Austin where they apparently were honored and cancelled. When Sam Houston was re-elected on December 21, 1841, he repudiated the debt.

    As artifacts the warrants document a history that is somewhat different from the official narratives. Pres. Lamar told Pres. Houston that he could not retrieve the notes because they had all been given out. But we know of uncut sheets that were cancelled without being redeemed. I believe that the notes shed some light on the mutiny aboard the San Antonio when it was docked in New Orleans on February 11, 1842. My research continues ahead of a more formal publication.

    (As a closing comment, Sam Houston is not highly regarded among all Texans. The main thoroughfare in the state capital is Lamar Boulevard. The road from the north into town is named for David Burnet, Lamar’s vice president. Houston Street is a half-mile long residential secondary between Burnet and Lamar.)
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
    RoadDog, PlanoSteve, NSP and 14 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Very interesting. Thank you.
  4. I agree, good reading.

    Thanks for sharing @kaparthy .
  5. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    • Fischer, Ernest G. Robert Potter: Founder of the Texas Navy. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing, 1976.
    • Hill. Jim Dan. The Texas Navy in Forgotten Battles and Shirtsleeve Diplomacy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937.
    • Jones, Anson. Memoranda and Official Correspondence Relating to the Republic of Texas Its History and Annexation 1836 to 1846. Chicago: The Rio Grande Press, Inc., 1966.
    • Jordan, Jonathan W. Lone Star Navy: Texas, the Fight for the Gulf of Mexico, and the Shaping of the American West. Washington, D. C.: Potomac Books, Inc., 2006.
    • Siegel, Stanley. A Political History of the Texas Republic 1836-1845. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1956.
    • Wells, Tom Henderson. Commodore Moore and the Texas Navy. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1960.
    • Brigadier General John C. L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. In addition to their displays, they provide an article online which cites a publication of the U.S. Navy Department, Naval History Division, dated January 1, 1968, which is also found at other locations.
    BoonTheGoon likes this.
  6. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

    Yes, nice read :)
  7. iPen

    iPen Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. And, I didn't know that the term "Texians" referred to Texans back in the past. Maybe it's like old English like "ye" and "thou".
  8. BoonTheGoon

    BoonTheGoon Grade A mad lad

    This is amazing, I love the Texas navy and it is something being forgotten. I have found several books on it but most of them are from the 1930s or older so its hard to get info on it. In fact, I am planning on going to the Texas capital and going to the archives to find a specific journal made by a midshipman in the Texas navy back in the 1830s I believe. I want to write it out in a way where its easier to read and absorb for modern people. I don't know if I will achieve this but I really hope I do. It is amazing that you found this!
    kaparthy likes this.
  9. dadams

    dadams Supporter! Supporter

    Texian Navy Pay Warrants - didn't know they existed, but Wow! that's cool.

    Excellent historical write up which I thoroughly enjoyed and of your cited sources the TSHA Article was worth the read as well:
    If you ever make it down to Galveston The Bryan Museum is worth a visit.
    kaparthy likes this.
  10. BoonTheGoon

    BoonTheGoon Grade A mad lad

    I should look at that source, if you want to know where I got my info well its a really good book called "thunder on the gulf, story of the Texas navy" It is a bit rare now. its from 1936 but you can get it for around 50 or 60$ for a first edition copy and there are many reprints of it that are much cheaper. I am really passionate about this as you can see :p. I used to hate Texas history as when you live here they teach it in school and they really don't do it justice. But because I really loved maritime history I found this book in my grand dads garage and it changed my views on everything. I really hope you think to look into it as it is one thing that is being forgotten and still so interesting. In fact I will go off on a limb here and say i am the only young person who even remembers them. I have done so much research at this point and if you want me to tell you answer questions about the navy its self then I will. I do apologize however as I do not know much at all about the banknote but only the navy and the people themselves. Really though, I think this has been one of the most exciting things this month today!
    kaparthy likes this.
  11. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    Wonderful information and much appreciated as a graduate of LAMAR University.
    kaparthy likes this.
  12. kaosleeroy108

    kaosleeroy108 The Mahayana Tea Shop & hobby center

    Thanks for the bit of history , I think somewhere in my collection I may have a few military ration certificate or paybonds.. I will try to snagg one I think each state had these
  13. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Thanks for the interesting writeup, @kaparthy!
  14. MrOils

    MrOils New Member

  15. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks! The UT Libraries have it in their Briscoe Center archives for in-house reading only. I have to go there later this week for other work. I will make a point of asking for this.
    BoonTheGoon likes this.
  16. BoonTheGoon

    BoonTheGoon Grade A mad lad

    Oh nice, I am glad to be of help. I would offer to lend you mine as well but idk you in real life but still glad you know a place to find the book! WIN_20190127_22_21_34_Pro.jpg
  17. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    This is truly unique and very interesting
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page