[San Felipe de Austin: Printed by G.B. Cotten, 1829]. Printed document, 6 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, completed in manuscript. Signed by Samuel M. Williams. Small tear along old fold, slightly affecting a few letters of printed text, else very good overall. In a half morocco and cloth box. Item #WRCAM27615
A rare imprint from the San Felipe de Austin press of Godwin Brown Cotten, and a variant printing of Streeter TEXAS 9. This is effectively the earliest obtainable Texas imprint, since any earlier ones are only surmised or exist in a few copies in institutions. It is now extremely rare in the marketplace. A much inferior copy, with loss on the top margin, sold at Sotheby's in the Texas Independence Collection sale on June 18, 2004 for $30,000 including house premium.
"These grants were the foundation of the colonization of Texas" - Streeter. This document reflects one of the four essential steps in the colonization process, being the empresario's certification stating that the immigrant (in this case a widow named Frances Manifee) had been admitted as a member of Austin's colony. The next step would be to present this certificate to the commissioner charged with issuing land titles in the Colony. This document is signed in manuscript by Samuel M. Williams, a close associate of Stephen F. Austin. Streeter refers to a similar form in his collection dated June 2, 1831, also signed by Samuel M. Williams. "For thirteen years Williams was Austin's lieutenant; he wrote deeds, kept records, and directed colonial activities during the empresario's absences" - NEW HANDBOOK OF TEXAS.
This is apparently a variant printing of Streeter TEXAS 9, most definitely a new type setting, as it exhibits more than ten slight textual differences from the earlier document. The most notable difference is the addition of a "3" where the date appears on the printed form; previously the partially- printed date read "18" followed by blank space - in this iteration of the document the date reads "183" followed by space for completion of the date. In Streeter TEXAS, Streeter refers to a similar form in his collection, most certainly the same printing as the present example: "An original certificate of admission in my collection, filled out by Samuel M. Williams for 'Empresario Austin' on June 2, 1831, is practically identical with the one entered here, except that the printed part of the date reads '183–' instead of '18–.'"
A extraordinarily rare variant printing of a foundational Texas document. STREETER TEXAS 9. NEW HANDBOOK OF TEXAS 6, p.988. EBERSTADT 162:39.