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TOMKINS, AUGUSTUS M.

TOMKINS, AUGUSTUS M. (?–1843?). Augustus M. Tomkins (Tompkins), lawyer and state district attorney, is believed to have come to Texas from the neighborhood of Vicksburg, Mississippi, where other Tomkins families remained. He may have been named for Augustus W. Magee of the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition of 1812–13 and was probably born at or shortly after that time. The holdings in his personal library suggest that Tomkins may have studied law and been admitted to the bar in Louisiana. In Texas he served as a reporter for the Republic of Texas Senate in the First and Second Congress. He was nominated and confirmed district attorney for the Second Judicial District of the republic on December 19, 1836. He was twice indicted by his own court for assault and battery and convicted at least once. His headright, granted by the land commissioners for Harrisburg County (now Harris County), was dated February 26, 1837; in time he acquired extensive landholdings. In October 1837 he opened a law practice in Houston with S. Stephens. Tomkins was one of a five-man committee appointed to draft rules for the Houston Jockey Club in October 1838. He entered a horse at the Houston races in November 1839. He was assistant marshal for a celebration opening a turnpike between Buffalo Bayou and Spring Creek in July 1840. He wrote editorials for the Houston Daily Times that year. With his brother John D. he was freed on bail on October 20, 1840, and was believed to have left the area. In 1841 formal notice appeared in the Daily Times closing his practice. In 1842 he was appointed to receive subscriptions in Houston for the relief of the Texan Santa Fe expedition prisoners. On May 24, 1838, at Lake Providence, Louisiana, Tomkins married Elizabeth E. Graham, with whom he had at least two children. Tomkins died between September 27, 1842, and September of the following year, when his estate was settled.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Houston Morning Star, November 14, 1839. Andrew Forest Muir, "Augustus M. Tomkins, Frontier Prosecutor," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 54 (January 1951). Andrew Forest Muir, "Railroad Enterprise in Texas, 1836–1841," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1944). Telegraph and Texas Register, October 4, 1837, October 20, 1838, August 31, 1842. Texas Sentinel, August 8, 1840. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

Diana J. Kleiner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "TOMKINS, AUGUSTUS M.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fto16), accessed September 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.