An Inventory of Records at the Texas State Archives, 1849-1853
Peter Hansbrough Bell served as governor of Texas from December 21, 1849 to November 23, 1853. Born in Virginia on March 11, 1808, Bell came to Texas in 1836 and fought as a private in Henry Karnes' cavalry company at the Battle of San Jacinto. After serving as inspector general in 1839, he joined the Texas Rangers under Jack Hays in 1840 and was a major in the Somervell Expedition of 1842. Bell was in command of the Corpus Christi District when the Mexican War broke out. He served as lieutenant colonel in Colonel George T. Wood's regiment and fought at Buena Vista; he then rejoined the rangers to protect the Rio Grande frontier. In 1849, Bell traded his military career for a political one, defeating George T. Wood for governor. He was re-elected in 1851.
The major event of Bell's tenure was the settlement of the western boundary dispute by the Compromise of 1850. Bell had requested troops from the state legislature to occupy Santa Fe, and Mississippi had promised to help Texas should war break out with United States troops. Despite this, the federal government obtained the cession of the area (amounting to 56 million acres) in exchange for $10 million in U.S. securities, with which Texas paid its public debt. In addition, Austin was re-named the temporary capital. A few months before the expiration of his second term, Bell resigned to take the vacant seat in the U.S. Congress from the Western District of Texas. Lieutenant Governor James Wilson Henderson completed the last month of Bell's term. In 1857 Bell married and moved to North Carolina, his bride's home state. Impoverished by the loss of slaves in the Civil War, Bell was awarded a pension by Texas in 1891. He died in North Carolina in 1898.
Records, Texas Governor Peter Hansbrough Bell. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
301-21 32. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Apr. 18, 1852, ms, 1 p.
301-21 38. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Oct. 7, 1852, ms, 2 pp.
301-21 38. C. N. Riotte to Chas. A. Harrison, Oct. 29, 1852, ms, 2 pp.
301-21 39. C. N. Riotte to Chas. A. Harrison, Nov. 4, 1852, ms, 1 p.
301-21 39. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Nov. 25, 1852, ms, 2 pp.
301-21 40. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Dec. 29, 1852, ms, 1 p.
301-22 42. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Feb. 17, 1853, ms, 2 pp.
301-22 42. PHB to C. N. Riotte, Feb. 28, 1853, ms, 2 pp., copy
301-22 43. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Mar. 14, 1853, ms, 2 pp.
301-22 43. PHB to C. N. Riotte, Mar. 26, 1853, ms, 2 pp., copy
301-22 44. C. N. Riotte receipt, Apr. 4, 1853, ms, 1 p.
301-22 44. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Apr. 4, 1853, ms, 1 p.
301-22 44. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Apr. 18, 1853, ms, 3 pp.
301-22 45. PHB to C. N. Riotte, May 17, 1853, ms, 1 p., copy
301-22 49. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Sept. 22, 1853, ms, 1 p.
301-22 50. C. N. Riotte to PHB, Oct. 2, 1853, ms, 1 p.