The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Thomas Toby

General Entry

The Thomas Toby, originally named the De Kalb, was renamed in honor of the Texas agent in New Orleans when commissioned as a privateer in the Texas Navy in 1836. According to a Yucatan newspaper, the crew was only thirty men and armament consisted of one eightpounder, two brass guns, rifles, and small arms; yet the Thomas Toby was the outstanding privateer of the navy and captured several vessels off the Mexican coast. When the early navy vessels had all been captured or destroyed, the Sam Houston administration discussed buying the privateer, but the purchase was never made. Walter Paye Lane joined the crew of the Thomas Toby and was on board for six months; during that time an attempted mutiny was quelled in February 1837. The vessel was lost in a storm off Galveston in October 1837.

Alex Dienst, "The Navy of the Republic of Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 12–13 (January-October 1909; rpt., Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army Press, 1987). Jim Dan Hill, The Texas Navy in Forgotten Battles and Shirtsleeve Diplomacy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937; rpt., Austin: State House, 1987). Walter Paye Lane, Adventures and Recollections (Marshall, Texas, 1887; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1970).

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Anonymous, “Thomas Toby,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.