Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Noah Smithwick banished from Texas as "a bad citizen"

December 7th, 1830

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On this day in 1830, Noah Smithwick was banished from Texas as "a bad citizen." Smithwick, born in North Carolina in 1808, came to Texas in 1827 and eventually settled in San Felipe. When San Felipe authorities ordered a friend of his who was accused of murder chained with leg irons, Smithwick, a blacksmith by trade, provided a file and a gun so he might escape. As a result, the authorities tried Smithwick, declared him "a bad citizen," and banished him from Austin's colony and Texas, providing an escort as far as the Sabine River. Smithwick returned to Matagorda in the fall of 1835 and reached Gonzales the day after the battle of Gonzales. He served in the Texas Revolution, married, and after an unsuccessful stint as a Williamson County cattle rancher established a mill near Marble Falls. With the coming of the Civil War, the Unionist Smithwick received threats and decided to abandon Texas. He sold his property and, with a number of friends, left Burnet County for southern California in 1861. In California, Smithwick gradually lost his eyesight but dictated his memoirs to his daughter. After his death in 1899, she had the manuscript published by Karl H. P. N. Gammel as The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days.

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