Convention Hall Rental Agreement, 1836

Shaping Texas in a half-finished building

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In early February 1836 in Washington, Texas, Noah Byars and Peter Mercer, listed as “merchants and partners” in deed records, were constructing a crude frame building, approximately 25 by 50 feet in dimension. It was one of the largest buildings in town and one of only a few frame buildings in a village composed largely of log huts.

The two men were approached by a group of 11 little-known business and professional men and agreed to rent the structure, beginning on March 1, 1836, for what would become the Texas 1836 constitutional convention. Though the roof and sides of the structure were added by the time the convention commenced, the windows and doors were not yet installed. The delegates met daily in the unfinished building until the convention adjourned on March 17.

Document translation:

Washington 18th Feb 1836

We the subscribers do hereby bind and obligate to pay to Messer Byars and Mercer, the sum of One Hundred and Seventy Dollars, being in consideration of the rent of this house owned by them, on Main Street for the term of 3 months to commence on the first day Of March -- said Byars and Mercer are to have the house in complete order and repair for use of the members of the convention, to meet in March next -- for which purpose said building is rented by us.

Hall and Lott

John G. Caldwell

John C. Neal

J. B. Neal

J.B. Paterick

Wood and Peables

L. R. Roberts

Martin Clow and Co.

William P. Smith

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Convention Hall Rental Agreement, 1836 Artifact from Austin, Texas
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