1846: M. Hopkins to Charles Crommelin

This letter was signed simply M. Hopkins and internet search in genealogy and historical records has not yet revealed any further identity.

Hopkins wrote the letter to Charles Crommelin (1800-1857), the son of Charles Crommelin (1770-1820) and Ann Newell Cogswell (1775-1854) of Saratoga, New York. He graduated from King’s College, now Columbia University in 1818 and moved to Alabama in 1820, locating in Montgomery and Wetumpka. He was licensed to practice law in Montgomery in 1833 and entered into a partnership with George C. Ball. Their firm, well known in the Montgomery, Mobile, and New York areas and dealt with the collection of debts and payments for individuals and companies. Charles Crommelin also operated a plantation near Wetumpka and owned about 30 slaves.

Stampless Cover

Letter

TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to Charles Crommelin, Esq., Montgomery, Alabama

Galveston [Texas]
April 20th 1846

Charles Crommelin, Esq., Montgomery, Alabama
Dear Sir,

A contract was made by me with a Mr. Belden for the location of the claims belonging to you when on a visit here in 1839. On Belden’s death, I was enabled to procure the claims and gave a contract of a similar nature to Jacob De Cordova agreeing to give him one third of the lands for locators and interest. The claims, two 1280 acre claims, and one 320 acres, are by this time patented and I require your power of attorney to convey the one third of the lands to the locators or authority & the means to purchase the locator’s interest, which I suppose may cost you.  The locator’s interest being 960 and the rate of 20 or 25 cents the acre, say $200. It is entirely optional with you which you will do.

The papers will be in Galveston shortly, the patents in your own name. Send me the authority or the money & I will forward the patents. If I might advise, I would advise you to purchase the locator’s claims as I understand the locations are valuable & it is better that you preserve the integrity of the patents.

Your obedient servant, — M. Hopkins

Bounty Lands

One 1280 acre granted Jore Maria Sies
One 1280 acre granted Marten K. Snell
One 320 headright A. McGowen

FOOTNOTES

Jacob De Cordova, (1808 Spanish Town, Jamaica -1868), was the founder of the Jamaica Gleaner. He settled in Texas in 1839 and lived in Galveston. After living in Galveston, De Cordova moved to Houston, Texas where he was elected a Texas House of Representatives to the second Texas Legislature in the year 1847.

De Cordova, Jacob Raphael (1808–1868), Texas land agent and colonizer, was born in Spanish Town (near Kingston), Jamaica, on June 6, 1808, the youngest of three sons of Judith and Raphael de Cordova. Since his mother died at his birth, he was reared by an aunt in England. He was well educated and became proficient in English, French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew. In 1834 Jacob moved back to Kingston, where he and his brother Joshua started a newspaper, the Kingston Daily Gleaner, which is still published today. In early 1836 Jacob went to New Orleans, where he shipped cargoes of staples to Texas during its struggle for independence. At this time he served a term as Grand Master of the Odd Fellows. After the battle of San Jacinto he visited the Republic of Texas to install members in the Odd Fellows lodges, the first established outside the United States.

He settled in Texas in 1839 and lived in Galveston and later Houston, where he was elected a state representative to the Second Texas Legislature in 1847. De Cordova traveled extensively through Texas, including the frontier western areas. Through scrip and direct purchase he acquired large amounts of land to sell to settlers; at one time he had 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) in scrip or title. To attract settlers to Texas, he made speeches on Texas in New York, Philadelphia, and other cities, and even to the cotton-spinners association in Manchester, England. His lectures were published on both sides of the Atlantic and were widely read. His land agency, which he owned with his half-brother Phineas de Cordova, became one of the largest such agencies that ever operated in the Southwest. De Cordova and two other men laid out the town of Waco in 1848-49. Town lots of 1 acre (4,000 m2) sold for five dollars, and nearby farmland brought two to three dollars an acre.

De Cordova and Robert Creuzbaur compiled the Map of the State of Texas, first published in 1849. Much subsequent Texas cartography was based on this map, which was praised by Sam Houston on the floor of the United States Senate. Books de Cordova wrote that were influential in attracting settlers included “The Texas Immigrant and Traveller’s Guide Book” (1856), and “Texas, Her Resources and Her Public Men” (1858), the first attempt at an encyclopedia of Texas.


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