Toby and Brother Company

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

Toby and Brother Company, composed of Thomas and Samuel Toby, businessmen of New Orleans, was made the purchasing agent for the Republic of Texas on May 24, 1836. To obtain money for meeting outstanding obligations, purchasing supplies, and making advances to the government, previously, on March 19, 1836, the firm had been commissioned to sell 300,000 acres by the state. Toby and Brother were appointed general agent of Texas on June 10, 1836. The firm was also commissioned to sell 500,000 acres of Texas land at a minimum of fifty cents an acre. The firm formally accepted the appointment on June 30, 1836, and set up subagents in Louisiana, Baltimore, and New York to sell the land scrip. Land scrip was reduced to fifteen cents per acre in December 1836, but there was little market for the land or scrip in the winter of 1837. On March 15, 1837, the Texas treasury drew on Toby for 100,000 acres of scrip to be used by Felix Huston to purchase army supplies; Toby returned 106,640 acres in scrip. On December 14, 1837, the Congress prohibited the further sale of scrip and authorized the recall of the agency, all scrip to be returned within four months. At the close of its contract with Toby and Brother Company the state owed the firm $76,620.26. During the period of its agency, the firm disposed of 940,761 acres for cash or credit in addition to furnishing transportation and supplies for the Texas army and serving in an advisory and diplomatic capacity. Although its efforts to exchange scrip for cash were not successful, it was faithful to its obligations. The converted schooner Swift was renamed Thomas Toby in honor of the firm and became a privateer. Claims of Toby and Brother against Texas were approved by 1838, but lack of funds kept them from being fully paid at the time of Thomas Toby's death in July 1849. Simon Toby visited Texas at intervals after 1850. Thomas Toby's children attempted several times to settle the claim against the state and succeeded on March 29, 1881, when $45,000 was appropriated to settle the claims.

Alma Howell Brown, "The Consular Service of the Republic of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 33 (January, April 1930). Galveston Daily News, January 20, 1881. Lillian Martin Nelson, The Second Texas Agency at New Orleans, 1836–1838 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1922).

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

Anonymous, “Toby and Brother Company,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995