The initials GTT ("Gone to Texas") came into use in the first half of the nineteenth century, when Texas had the reputation for producing and harboring outlaws. The letters were often chalked on the doors of houses in the Southern states to tell where the occupants had gone, but the exact date at which they came to be a synonym for "at outs with the law" is not known. Frederick Law Olmsted, in his Journey Through Texas (1857), says that residents of other states appended the initials to the name of every rascal who skipped out, and that in Texas many newcomers were suspected of having left home for some "discreditable reason." In 1884 Thomas Hughes, in the preface of his book G.T.T., observed, "When we want to say that it is all up with some fellow, we just say, `G.T.T.' as you'd say, `gone to the devil, or `gone to the dogs.'"
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Ramon F. Adams, Western Words: A Dictionary of the Range, Cow Camp, and Trail (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1945). J. Frank Dobie, The Flavor of Texas (Dallas: Dealey and Lowe, 1936). William R. Hogan, The Texas Republic: A Social and Economic History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946; rpt. 1969). John W. Thomason, Gone to Texas (New York: Scribner, 1937).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 30, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
July 14, 2020