Thomas White to Stephen F Austin, 01-31-1829

Summary: Asking information especially about social conditions and character of the colonists. Has heard disturbing reports about conditions on the Sabine border.

Franklin Louisiana 31st Jan 1829

Dear Sir

As I contemplate becoming a resident of Texas, I feel great solicitude about the nature of the population which will inhabit the country I have been informed that you permit no one to settle within the limits of your colony unless they produce vochers sufficient to convince you that they possess a good moral character indeed I beleive such is the law and I was truly glad to hear that you were disposed to rigidly inforce it— But I am fearful you may be imposed on for I do no of some very bad men who I have been told are going there. There are a number of criminals who after serveing in the state prisons who it is said when they are turned out look towards Texas. The planters here have a most desperate oppinion of the population there orriginating I presume from such vilains as has been driven from among them and who have taken shelter in that province There are others of my acquaintance whom I got acquainted with before I came to this state who I have understood are now on their way there. I beleive they are from Tennassee and Alabama and I can assure you that I know no good of them I do not wish to make specific charges but be strict in your enquiries about character— I do not wish to mention names because I may see them when I arrive there-™ A Gentleman expects to leave Attakapas shortly for the purpose of exploreing your country If he gives a favourable report I shall certainly remove there and endeavour to carry along with me a numerous train of friends who I am sure you will find to be honest and industerous citizens and who will bring with them considerable property— The Gentleman above alluded to feels some apprehension of danger of robery by persons liveing on the opposite side of the Sabine river from this and is waiting to get company to go with him a planter told me not long since that persons who stole his horses fled to the Spanish country meaning Texas. I mention these things to you to apprise you of the objections which the most respectable class of citizens have to comeing to your county thinking it probable that you would adopt some means to have those lawles fugatives from the laws of their country driven away from this province As it regards your Colony I have confidence in what I have heard that your intention is only to admit respectable persons But I am fearful that some persons haveing the appearance of gentlemen will impose themselves— I heard the other day of a man from New York who says that he is an intimate friend of Bur going to Texas from what expressions which I heard he dropt I fear you will find him a restless sperit and perhaps a troublesome fellow— Will you be so good as to write me and let me know whether it is dangerous traveling on the other side of the sabine in consequence of Robbers— I have heard also that you have obtained an extension of your colony pray let me know at what time I could obtain land in it as I was informed that it was probable it would be ready for settlement this winter if that be the fact do let me know and the terms on which I could obtain lands for my self and five or six other families— I removed to this state last year and have not purchased land yet— nor shall I purchase largely untill I see your country or Know more about it from the Gentleman who is about to visit it

Thomas White


I shall leave here in a few days for St Martinsville where I would thank you to write me

Since writeing the within I have been told by a gentleman that there is liveing near the sabine a man by the name of William Knight who brok geoil here and frequently crosses the river and commits depredations on the state of Louisiana would it not be wise to send a force and detect him and his bandits I presume that the commander of the Mexican Troops at Nacogdoches would order him and his gang arrested if information was given of the character of Knight and his associates

[Addressed:] Colo S. F Austin Natchitoches Louisiana The post master will be so good as to foward this to San Felipe de Austin Texas