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STIFF, EDWARD (?–?). Edward Stiff, writer, was originally from Virginia but had been a hatter in Baltimore, Maryland, before he came to Texas in 1839. He served briefly as deputy constable in Houston but was dismissed from that position for alleged drunkenness. Shortly thereafter he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he wrote The Texan Emigrant: Being a Narrative of the Adventures of the Author in Texas, and a Description of the Soil, Climate, Productions, Minerals, Towns, Bays, Harbors, Rivers, Institutions, and Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants of That Country (1840). This work was intended as a guide for people who planned to settle in Texas and has been described as one of the best books of its genre issued during the period of the Republic of Texas. At the time of publication, however, it was discredited as fictitious and inaccurate. Francis Moore, Jr., editor of the Telegraph and Texas Register, denounced Stiff as a drunken fraud who had not traveled beyond the Houston and Galveston area and had not remained in Texas longer than about sixty days. Stiff's A New History of Texas was published in 1847. Sometime after his visit to Texas, Stiff published a newspaper in Cedar Bluff, Alabama. He later killed a man and was jailed in Ashville, Alabama, where he committed suicide. He was buried in an unmarked grave near Centre, Alabama.


John H. Jenkins, Basic Texas Books: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works for a Research Library (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1983; rpt. 1988). C. W. Raines, A Bibliography of Texas (Austin: Gammel, 1896). Telegraph and Texas Register, March 2, 1842.

David L. Fisher


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David L. Fisher, "STIFF, EDWARD," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed May 22, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.