Austin News Today

Archives War

Other Facts

The choice remained in uncertain until 1839, when Mirabeau B. Lamar replaced Houston as president and pushed the Central Texas plan. A site was chosen along the Colorado River near the tiny settlement of Waterloo.

Within the year, Lamar had moved to the new capital, now called Austin, and Congress was meeting in log buildings in the frontier town. Forty wagons carried the government archives from Houston to their new home. Over the next several years, the archives would become a highly visible symbol of a tug-of-war for government power in Texas.

Background Story

This all started when Sam Houston moved the capital of Texas from Austin to Houston and the people of Austindidn't like that.

Big Topic

In December 1842, Houston announced that Austin was no longer the capital and ordered Colonel Thomas I. Smith and Captain Eli Chandler to Austin to remove the archives. Smith and Chandler and 20 men loaded three wagons without incident before being spotted by Mrs. Eberly. She fired a cannon to alert the citizens of Austin.

Smith and Chandler fled with their wagons, with the vigilantes in hot pursuit. At Brushy Creek in Williamson County, just north of Austin, Chandler and Smith were forced to surrender at gunpoint. The archives were returned to Austin, where the citizens celebrated with a New Year's Eve party.

Other Details

In 1839,Mirabeau B Lamar became President of Texas. Under his influence, the Texas Congress authorized the establishment of a planned city to serve as the seat of government. The new city, Austin, was at the edge of the frontier, near several hostile native tribes, with no easy way to get supplies. Proponents of the move predicted that when the rest of the nation was settled, Austin would be the population center. The opposition, led by former president Sam Houston, wanted the government to remain near the current population center, along the Gulf Coast.


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