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Thank you for being here.

The past is inhabited by people, not faceless groups or impersonal trends. Stories are told through human activity. I discovered the magic and meaning of stories as a history teacher and the singular privilege of working at a Texas state archive filled with personal letters written by ordinary folks. Their voices add authenticity and richness to the historical record. Human stories will always be at the heart of history. That is what this website is all about. Please join me as we look at history through the words of those who lived it, one document at a time.

Buck Cole

What is Historify?

According to the Collins Dictionary, Historify means “to tell the history of something.” Scratch the surface of a historical source and one might discover all sorts of interesting things. A casual reference in a personal letter can lead to us to a deeper understanding of the author’s time, place, and purpose in history. Each month I’ll introduce a different Texas archive, library, or museum and highlight a document from its collection.

The History page focuses on the repository, a document from its collection (with transcript), downloadable for your convenience.

The Story page provides background information about the document.

Featured Repository

Save Texas History

Featured Repository

The Texas Collection
Carroll Library
Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Featured Repository

The Texas Collection
Carroll Library
Baylor University, Waco, Texas

“The Certainty of Death”

In April of 1863, Sam Houston filed his last will and testament. The hero of San Jacinto would be dead within four months. The American Civil War, a conflict Sam had worked hard to prevent, had raged for two years with no end in sight. Two years earlier, Texas Governor and staunch Unionist, Sam Houston had defiantly refused to pledge loyalty to the newly-created Confederate States of America, and was removed from office. Exiled and out of the spotlight (and out of favor with many of his former friends) the man who had served the United States, the Republic of

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