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Early Texas journalist heralds Long expedition


On this day in 1819, Eli Harris led an advance guard of the Long expedition across the Sabine River. He proceeded to Nacogdoches, where he published the first edition of the Texas Republican on August 14. Though no copies of the paper are extant, the St. Louis Enquirer stated that the content was "principally occupied with the military and political operations going on in that quarter." Those operations certainly included the activities of the Long expedition, the last filibustering attempt to kick the Spaniards out of Texas. This freelance project fell apart when Long's men, who had arrived in Nacogdoches a few days after Harris, failed to receive supplies. The men scattered. Some of them joined Jean Laffite, the famous Galveston Island pirate, and tried to enlist him in their cause. Harris and his men abandoned the printing press to forage off the land. Eventually Harris settled in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, where he became a judge. In 1841 he wrote to President Lamar of the Republic of Texas, claiming to have originated the Lone Star emblem of Texas.

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