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Yates, Andrew Janeway (1803–1856)

Amelia W. Williams, rev. by Randolph B. Campbell Biography Entry

Andrew Janeway Yates, early settler, lawyer, and education proponent, son of Andrew and Mary (Austin) Yates, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 20, 1803. Yates was an M.A. graduate of Union College and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Before he moved to Texas in 1835, he had won recognition as a lawyer, college professor, and author and had acquired a considerable fortune. Upon arriving in Texas he applied for a headright in Lorenzo de Zavala's colony and located near the town of Liberty. He soon won the confidence of Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, John A. and William H. Wharton, and other leaders. When the Texas Revolution broke out, Yates immediately joined the army, but late in December 1835 he was appointed loan commissioner and served under Austin, Branch T. Archer, and William H. Wharton in their efforts to raise funds and supplies in the United States for the Texas army. Yates's special business was to attend to the legal and clerical details of the loan negotiations and to purchase boats, munitions, and other supplies for the newly-declared Republic of Texas. When the revolution was over he returned to Texas and lived at Liberty until 1841, when he moved to Galveston, where he published the Daily Advertiser and practiced law. He took an active part in enterprises of city and county. Had he so desired, he might have been the leading educator in Texas, being probably the best informed and best trained man in the education field. He did, however, present to President M. B. Lamar an elaborate but sensible plan for a complete system of schools to be directed by trustees and financed by public lands of the republic. His plan also provided for the training and certification of teachers and outlined a course of study. Yates was also the first signer of a memorial petitioning Congress to establish a system of popular education. In 1840 Yates and Sam Houston became involved in a lawsuit over a league of land at Cedar Point. Two persons had claimed ownership of the land, one selling it to Houston, and the other to Yates. Court records of the case are voluminous, and the Texas Supreme Court did not render its decision in Houston's favor until 1848. Yates married Matilda H. Bunner in Oswego, New York, on January 5, 1832. They became the parents of five children, three of whom were born in Texas. By the early 1850s, Yates and his family had left Galveston and moved to San José, California, where he established an office and practiced law until his death on August 8, 1856. He was buried with Masonic rites in the cemetery at San José.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). William Campbell Binkley, ed., Official Correspondence of the Texan Revolution, 1835–1836 (2 vols., New York: Appleton-Century, 1936). Diplomatic Correspondence of the Republic of Texas, ed. George Pierce Garrison (3 parts, Washington: GPO, 1908–11). Ermon O. T. Rosson, The Life and Career of Andrew Janeway Yates (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1939).

Categories:

  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Educators
  • Teacher Education
  • Activists
  • Lawyers, Civil Rights Activists, and Legislators
  • Politics and Government
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Publishers and Executives
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas

Places:

  • Galveston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Amelia W. Williams, rev. by Randolph B. Campbell, “Yates, Andrew Janeway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 26, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/yates-andrew-janeway.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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