Matagorda Bulletin

By: Rachel Jenkins

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 19, 2020

The Matagorda Bulletin was a weekly newspaper published in Matagorda from August 1837 to May 1839. It was initially published by John Warren J. Niles, son of Hezekiah Niles, who founded and edited the Maryland Niles National Register. The Bulletin was probably the first or second paper published in Matagorda and was printed on what may have been only the fourth press to arrive in the Republic of Texas. According to its prospectus, it was intended to contribute to the development of Texas, for instance by encouraging the establishment of a trade route between Matagorda and San Antonio. Though the prospectus also claimed the paper would be free of political bias, Niles himself quickly became involved in the election campaign for Mirabeau B. Lamar. Through the group Niles and Company, Niles was also associated with papers including the Houston National Banner and the Galveston Commercial Intelligencer, both of 1838. Thus, counting the Bulletin, he was involved in three of the seven papers the New Orleans Picayune found in the Republic of Texas by June 1838. The 1838 election possibly caused the temporary proliferation of newspapers noted by the Picayune, for of the seven cited in June 1838 only the Matagorda Bulletin and the Telegraph and Texas Register still existed a year later.

Late in 1837 Niles sold one-third interest in the Bulletin to James Jones, younger brother of William Jefferson Jones, Lamar's informal campaign manager. Jones edited the paper until Niles bought back his share in February 1838. In June 1838 Niles, who around July 1839 founded the short-lived Texas Emigrant at Washington-on-the-Brazos, sold the Bulletin to John G. Davenport, who edited the paper until his death in October 1838. At that time W. Donaldson became editor. William Douglas Wallach, a prolific contributor to the paper, was probably doing most of the editing by 1839, when the Bulletin was essentially a Lamar organ.

The Bulletin's subscription rate was five dollars annually, and its four pages usually contained considerable news of the Texas Congress and president. It had agents throughout Texas and in New York City, Mobile, Boston, and New Orleans. It was discontinued in 1839 and succeeded by the Colorado Gazette and Advertiser. Copies of the Bulletin are housed at the Texas State Library and the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Joe B. Frantz, Newspapers of the Republic of Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Mary Glasscock Frazier, Texas Newspapers during the Republic (March 2, 1836-February 19, 1846) (M. Journ. thesis, University of Texas, 1931). Marilyn M. Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers before the Civil War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers

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

Rachel Jenkins, “Matagorda Bulletin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 19, 2020