Diary of Mary Rabb, 1875

An account of life in early Texas

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Mary Rabb and her husband John moved to Tejas in 1823 as early settlers in Austin’s Colony. Her experiences as a pioneer woman in Texas – establishing a home, interactions with American Indians, participating in the Texas Revolution, and sending her sons off to fight in the Civil War – are all chronicled in her diary, written as a reminiscence for her family in 1875.

The Rabbs settled initially along the Colorado River near La Grange, but moved multiple times in their early years in Tejas. By 1832 they had returned to the Rabb family land near La Grange and began operating a mill. They were forced to flee as part of the Runaway Scrape during the Mexican Revolution. Her accounts of this time are particularly poignant. 

"We was all drove out of ouer [sic] houses with ouer [sic] little ones to suffer with cold and hungry … little Lorenzo not three months old when we started died on the road (on the 22 of may)."

Her diary also describes the frustration many Texans were feeling toward Sam Houston and his perceived unwillingness to engage the Mexican Army.

"Your uncle Tommy would keep telling old Sam Houston that he had better fight the Mexicans and not let them invade Texas any further … but old Sam was afraid and would not fight."

The Rabb family was able to return to their home following the Texan victory at San Jacinto. From La Grange they moved to Fayette County, and then to Barton Springs near Austin, where they settled permanently. Active in the Methodist Church, the couple helped to finance and organize Rutersville College, a precursor of Southwestern University.

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Diary of Mary Rabb, 1875 Artifact from Austin
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