Transcript of Jane McManus Storm Cazneau

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture and education.

Writer and promoter Jane Cazneau helped shape Texas and American history in the mid-nineteenth century.

Cazneau was born in New York in 1807. Working as a journalist in the 1840s and 50s, she campaigned tirelessly for Texas independence. Her columns in periodicals such as the New York Sun helped sway public opinion in support of Texas statehood—and America's "manifest destiny" more generally.

Cazneau's campaign was hardly selfless. She speculated in Texas land and in 1834, even explored the possibility of settling her family in Stephen F. Austin's colony.

In 1850, she and her husband moved to Eagle Pass to open a trade depot and explore mining opportunities along the border. She later wrote a memoir recounting her experiences. Of Texas, she wrote, "There is no country under the sun in which a sober, sensible, and industrious man can more certainly realise a quick independence and a delightful home."

During the Mexican War, Cazneau became an unofficial diplomat, when President Polk sent her on a secret peace mission to Mexico City. She became the only American journalist to issue dispatches from behind enemy lines.

In later years, Cazneau lived mostly in the Dominican Republic, where she continued to promote American expansion. She passed away in 1878. One historian has since remembered her as "perhaps the most unusual and mysterious woman" in nineteenth-century America.

More information about Jane McManus Storm Cazneau and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.