Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836 (Item 1909/001-344),
Lamar Papers. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
View the Texas Declaration of Independence Broadside (one page PDF opens in a new window/tab)
View the Texas Declaration of Independence Handwritten Manuscript (12-page PDF opens in a new window/tab)
On March 1, the first day of the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Convention President Richard Ellis appointed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence. George Childress, the committee chairman, is generally accepted as the author of the Texas Declaration of Independence, with little help from the other committee members. Since the 12-page document was submitted for a vote of the whole convention on the following day, Childress probably already had a draft version with him when he arrived. As the delegates worked, they received regular reports of the ongoing siege on the Alamo by Mexican General Santa Anna's troops.
A free and independent Republic of Texas was officially declared on March 2, 1836. Over the course of the next several days, 59 delegates -- each representing one of the settlements in Texas -- approved the Texas Declaration of Independence. After the delegates signed the original declaration, five copies were made and dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad, Nacogdoches, Brazoria and San Felipe. One thousand copies were ordered to be printed in handbill form to circulate the momentous news.
Texas Secretary of State Jane McCallum and other officials posing with the original manuscript Texas Declaration of Independence in 1929, Prints & Photographs, 1/104-117. McCallum found the document in the vault shortly after she took office in 1927. The declaration was displayed in the Capitol for many years before it was eventually transferred to the permanent custody of the State Archives.
The original signed manuscript was taken to Washington, D.C. by Commissioner William H. Wharton, who deposited the document at the U.S. Department of State. The declaration was returned to Texas sometime after June 1896. Texas Secretary of State Jane McCallum rediscovered the document in the department’s vault after she took office in 1927. After being on display within a niche in the main foyer of the Texas Capitol building for many years, the Texas Declaration of Independence was eventually transferred to the permanent custody of the State Archives.