of the Dallas Morning News, Tyler Telegraph, Gilmer Mirror, Jefferson
Jimplecute and every other newspaper in Texas may not know about
the journalistic ancestor they share. That was a single issue of the
Gaceta de Tejas, or Texas Gazette, and here is its story.
The Gaceta de Tejas, the first newspaper published in Texas,
came out as part of an expedition
into Spanish Texas led by filibusters Augustus Magee and Bernardo
Gutierrez de Lara in 1813. This was six years before the Adams-Onis
Treaty designated the Sabine River as the U.S.-Spanish (later
Magee, a former Army officer who had chased outlaws from the Neutral
Ground along the river, recruited many of his former foes into his
Army of the North to claim eastern Texas from Spain for himself and
partner, Gutierrez de Lara, a nationalist exiled from Spanish Mexico.
Theirs was a wholly extralegal venture but it likely had covert support
from the United States.
The expedition brought along a printing press apparently owned by
William Shaler, a former United States diplomatic officer who had
introduced Magee and Gutierrez de Lara; Shaler's co-publisher was
another Mexican nationalist named Alvarez de Toledo y Dubois. The
typesetter was named Moore, or Moorer, with the single initial of
"A." Magee and Gutierrez de Lara seized Nacogdoches
in the Spring of 1813 and made it the temporary headquarters of their
Republic of the North. When time came to publish the Gaceta de
Tejas-really, a propaganda sheet-a dispute between Toledo and
Gutierrez had resulted in the transportation of the press back to
Still, the newspaper's mast claims its publication in Nacogdoches,
even if printed in Natchitoches, much as today's Nacogdoches Sentinel
is actually printed in Lufkin,
since the newspapers in both towns are owned by the same corporation.
So the distinction between a newspaper being "published" and being
The dateline is May 13, 1813, though the paper was printed sometime
after that date and its' motto was "Le Salud del Pueblo es la Suprema
Ley," (The Safety of the People is the Supreme Law). Contents
included dated information about the effort to seize part of Texas
from Spain and related items.
Gaceta de Tejas may have been written in Nacogdoches,
but not a single copy of it remains there-indeed, perhaps none ever
arrived. But what a mighty torrent of words, then pictures, and most
of all, advertisements, it launched in Texas.
6, 2007 column
A syndicated column in over 70 East Texas newspapers
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical
Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and
author of more than 20 books on Texas.