Carmago, Mexico: June 21, 1847. pp., in Spanish, on a single folded sheet, verso of integral leaf addressed on verso. Original mailing folds, mild wrinkling, minor toning to address panel, small chip to outer blank portion of integral leaf. Very good. Item #3214
A hand-carried letter from a Mexican merchant or lawyer named Francisco Perez to Benjamin S. Grayson, a Texas associate in Carmago, Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Perez writes to Grayson about some legal actions and the transfer of certain tercieros (sharecroppers bound in servitude through Mexico's feudal hacienda system). Grayson may have threatened legal action against Perez. The letter reads, in part, in rough English translation: "D. Pedro Garcia left ten sharecroppers at my house, the same ones the Mayor Jose Pio Salinas received at my door. These same ten sharecroppers were part of the twenty-one sharecroppers you and Mr. Davis told me the mayor gave to you. You can be sure that if I thought I owed you that I would have asked you for time to satisfy you. I would not have needed the courts to tell me. I am fully satisfied with the time you allowed for this trial to end. I know that the law has stopped the fugitives. It is very good that the lawyer knew the case and agreed with the term of twenty-seven days.... Mr. Ate. l wants to explain to us why you should be satisfied with it. The results of the trial will be enforced by the judge; laws against the two legitimate debtors will be rigorously executed.... Without objection I wait for your orders."
Benjamin S. Grayson and his brother Thomas Wigg Grayson relocated to Texas from South Carolina sometime before 1835, at which time Benjamin established a mercantile business. Both brothers became involved in the Texas Revolution and were part owners of the famous privateer, the Thomas Toby, which Thomas also captained. After Texas gained its independence, Benjamin moved to San Antonio where he unsuccessfully ran for mayor. While there, he purchased land script that had been used to pay Texas soldiers and became a wealthy landowner. Fearing malaria, Grayson expanded his business to more remote locations in Mexico where he ran his business from haciendas in Monterrey and Carmago. When the American Army entered Mexico during the Mexican-American War, it set up a base camp at Carmago, from which Grayson provided supplies and equipment. Following his time in Mexico, Grayson turned his attentions to the California Gold Rush. In early 1849, he personally led a mule train of goods, presumably mining supplies from Mexico to Los Angeles. Grayson made another fortune grubstaking miners and acquired significant property around San Francisco, where he died in July 1849.