AUSTIN, Texas, July 16 (UPI) -- Texas is suing a woman for 48 historical documents, but she says the state doesn't have a right to claim them because they predate Texas as a state.
The Texas archives says Mary Ann Davis of Waco, Texas, has no right to the documents, which include Texas Revolution hero Jose Antonio Navarro's resignation letter to Sam Houston and a paper certifying that William Travis was in the Texas army until his death at the Alamo, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
The archives had not noticed the documents were missing until they were put up for auction more than a year ago, state archivist Chris LaPlante said, adding he believes they were probably stolen in the early 1970s, before security measures were implemented.
Lawyers representing Davis and the Robert E. Davis Family Trust acknowledge their clients have the documents. While they don't reveal how they were obtained, they contend the documents are not state records because they were created before Texas became a state in 1845, the newspaper says.
The documents, from the 1830s and 1840s, represent "an extremely important period in the history of the state," LaPlante said.
Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836 and existed as the independent republic for nearly 10 years. It joined the United States as the 28th state in 1845.