An Inventory of Records of the First Two Terms at the Texas State Archives, 1853-1857
Elisha Marshall Pease served his first two terms as governor of Texas from December 21, 1853 to December 21, 1857. Pease was born in Connecticut in 1812, where he clerked in a general store and then in a post office. In 1835 he immigrated to Texas, settling at Mina (Bastrop), where he read law under D.C. Barrett. As secretary of Mina's Committee of Public Safety (the first in Texas), Pease was a member of the peace faction until hostilities loomed; he fought in the first battle of the revolution, at Gonzales. His offices under the Republic included secretary of the General Council, clerk of the committee writing the Constitution of 1836, chief clerk of the navy and treasury departments, acting secretary of the treasury, clerk of the judicial committee of the House of Representatives, and comptroller of public accounts in 1837. After annexation, Pease was district attorney and state representative from Brazoria County; as chairman of the Judicial Committee he wrote the probate code of 1848. He also served in the state senate from 1849-1850.
Pease was elected to the first two of his three terms as governor in 1853 and 1855. As governor, he supported Texas' first state school fund with $2 million in U. S. bonds from the Compromise of 1850; appropriations were also made for a state university. Pease encouraged railroad construction through state loans prorated per mile of new track laid. A new capitol was built, and Pease was the first governor to inhabit the present governor's mansion. Asylums for the deaf and dumb and the insane were also established. In 1854 Pease sent rangers to deal with the violent attacks on Mexican freight carriers in South Texas, known as the Cart War. The next year, a border war with Mexico was narrowly averted after mounted volunteers pursued a band of raiding Lipan Apaches across the Rio Grande, an incident which Pease handled diplomatically. He defeated a Know-Nothing candidate in 1855. As a Unionist, Pease spent the years from 1858 to 1866 in semi -retirement from public life. For further biographical information, see description of records for Pease's third term as governor.
301-24 15 C. N. Riotte to EMP, Feb. 22, 1855, ms, 1 p
301-25 35 C. W. Riotte to EMP, Oct. 7, 1856, ms, 1 p.