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Texas Association notebook
University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506
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Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Texas Association notebook, 1873-1882, 1VF87M21, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.
Lawyer, diplomat, politician, soldier. Born in Jefferson County, Ky, William Preston returned from Harvard University to practice law in Louisville in 1840, attended the 1849 Kentucky constitutional convention, served in the state House of Representatives (1853-1855), and was minister to Spain (1858-1861). During the Civil War, he served as a Confederate officer and envoy to Mexico. In 1875 Preston, while a Lexington attorney, became chief agent for the Texas Association.
The notebook contains William Preston's notes on the Texas Association. The notes are bound with CONTRACT OF COLONIZATION BETWEEN CHARLES F. MERCER AND ASSOCIATES WITH THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS (1858). This contract includes "The Petition of George Hancock", "Contract of Colonization" and "Statement of the Present condition of the Texas Association". The notes, regarding Hancock vs. Austin (March 6, 1875) and the related publications, were made by Preston on the facing pages of the documents from March, 1873 to January, 1882.
Preston listed points of argument, cited other cases and recorded supporting evidence to the Texas Association's claim to the Mercer Colony in southwestern Texas. Founded by Kentuckian Charles Mercer, for financing and promoting a contract of colonization in Texas in 1884, the Texas Association, according to Preston's calculations in the notebook, claimed 768,000 acres of land in Texas which had been opened to settlement by the commissioner of the General Land Office. As chief agent, Preston's uncle, George Hancock, had sought an injunction in the United States Circuit Court at Austin, Texas in March of 1875 to gain control of the Texas land he had claimed in his colonization venture. The notes stated the evidence which Preston utilized when he became chief agent upon his uncle's death in August, 1875. Eventually the court declared the contract void because of the failure of Charles Mercer to meet all the requirements.