“Billy Bowlegs” was a Seminole chief, and lived in the swamps and Everglades of Florida, and some might ask, what had, he to do with the history of Fort Bend County. Personally, nothing, but Fort Bend has an old Negro woman living at Old Arcola (Lucinda Lawson), who has some interesting reminiscences connected with the exploits of this famous chief. She belonged to Dr. Braden in Florida, who had a fine plantation not a great distance from the stronghold of Chief Bowlegs, who often made raids on the planters and carried off their stock, and even Negroes. United States troops were in the vicinity, but so sudden and swift were the raids of Bowlegs that he often got off scott-free with his booty. On one occasion he made a sudden dash upon the plantation of Dr. Braden. It was at night, and the family was at the supper table, Lucinda waiting upon them. In passing from the kitchen to the dining room she discovered the Indians in the orange orchard creeping towards the house. The master was at once informed, who had every light extinguished, and, seizing his gun approached a window and opened fire on them. They returned the fire and yelled considerably, but finally drew off, with Bowlegs badly wounded, having an arm shattered by a ball. They could not easily burn the doctor’s house, as it...Read More
Collection: History of Fort Bend County Texas
This collection contains 42 biographies and various historical references from the manuscript History of Fort Bend County by W. M. Morrison. Included with the history are articles on the Meir Expedition, Billy Bowlegs, Terry Rangers, and a list of early land titles.Read More
J. G. Jones, Captain, Gonzales County, resigned at Shiloh, April 6th, 1862. W. H. Harris, 1st Lieutenant, Gonzales County, resigned and died in 1861. A. D. Harris, 2nd Lieutenant, Gonzales County, promoted Captain May 7, and killed, Alay 9, 1862. J. H. Paramore, 3rd, Lieutenant, Gonzales County, wounded in 1862, promoted Captain June 2nd., 1864, wounded December 30, 1864. JaMes Harris, 1st Sergeant, Gonzales County, died May, 1862. Geo. W. Littlefield, 2nd Sergeant, Gonzales County, elected Lieutenant January, 1862, promoted Captain, wounded December 27, and resigned. Chas. W. Mason, 3rd: Sergeant, Gonzales County, killed at Gonzales by William Baltzell in 1869. Ed. T. Rhodes, 4th Sergeant, Guadalupe County, died in Seguin in 1878. B. F. Burr, 5th Sergeant, Guadalupe County, killed at Shiloh April. 6th, 1864: W. E. Jones, 1st Corporal, Gonzales County, elected Lieutenant May 7th, 1862; twice wounded; promoted Captain March, 1865. J. D. Bunting, 2nd Corporal, Gonzales County, taken prisoner at Moss Creek January 12th, 1863. N. B. Cotton, 3rd Corporal, Gonzales County. L. A. L. Lampkin, 4th Corporal, Gonzales County; wounded twice, and came home in 1865. Privates. G. R. Allen, Gonzales County, wounded at Rome, Ga., in 1864. S. Andrews, Gonzales County. Mat. Anderson, Grange County, discharged. Thomas Balfour, Guadalupe County, discharged. James Bankhead, Gonzales County. G. J. Borthe, Jackson County, wounded twice. J. E. Bowling, Gonzales County, wounded at Shiloh. Lem Barnett, Bee...Read More
John G. Walker Captain, Harris, County, wounded at Woodsonville, Ky., in 1861, elected Lieutenant Colonel January, 1862, resigned in September, 1862, died September, 1869. A. W. Morris, 1st Lieutenant, Montgomery County, wounded at Woodsonville, KY., resigned and died. Henry Thomas, 2nd Lieutenant, Harris County, resigned January, 1862. S. P. Christian, 3rd Lieutenant, Harris County, elected Captain January, 1862, promoted to Major “July, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel in 1865, wounded at Farmington, Tenn. A. W. Hottle, 1st Sergeant, Montgomery County, promoted to Major and Quartermaster; died in Harris County. No other non-commissioned officers elected. Privates. J. D. Alexander, discharged at Bowling Green, Ky. J. H. Alexander. H. Bowling, elected Lieutenant January, 1862; resigned May, 1863. G. Bowling, wounded and discharged. A. L. Baine, Washington County, killed at Murfreesboro. J. W. Bowers, Washington County. J. L. Bowers, Washington County. H. J. Barfield, Washington County. T. J. Burroughs, Montgomery County, discharged October, 1863. R. R. Benjamin, Leon; County, killed at Dandridge, East Tennessee, January, 1863. A. B. Briscoe, Harris County, elected Lieutenant March, 1863. D. K. Browning, Washington County, killed near Kirkville March 13, 1863. William Ballantine, Washington County, transferred to infantry. G. P. Burke, Harris County, company clerk to brigade. P. Ludgood, Harris County, wounded at Woodsonville, Ky., discharged. James Bates, Montgomery County, discharged in 1862; died in Texas, 1865. A. Billingsly, Washington County discharged in 1862. Joe Collins, Victoria County, died...Read More
Capt. Randall Jones, one of the historic characters of Fort Bend County, was born in Columbia County, Georgia, on the 19th of August 1786. In 1810 he went to Wilkinson County, Mississippi Territory. When the second war with England broke out in 1812 he joined the American army as a private, but such was his energy and gallantry in battle that he received a captain’s commission, which he held until near the close of the war, or, to be more exact, until 1814. During this service he fought the battle with Indians known as the “Canoe Fight.” An extract from a letter from the volunteer army dated “East bank of the Alabama, November the 25th, 1813,” reads thus: “On the 11th inst. Captain Jones, of the twelve months’ volunteers, with a detachment of sixty volunteers and militia, marched from Fort Madison for the Alabama, and .on the 12th fell in with two parties of Creeks, which he entirely routed and killed nine warriors, without sustaining any loss on his part. Captain Jones and his party deserve the greatest praise and honor for the handsome manner in which the enterprise was conducted.” This was but the beginning of the eventful career of Captain Jones. In the fall of 1814* he came to the Sabine River, and at Gaines’ Ferry met with General Toledo, just after his defeat at the Medina....Read More
Veteran Of San Jacinto Captain Calder was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on the 17th of July 1810, and was the son of James H. and Jane E. Calder (nee Miss Caldwell). His father dying when he was very small, young Calder was raised by his paternal uncle, Major James P. Caldwell (a noble and generous man), until he arrived at the age of manhood. From Maryland he, his mother, and Major Caldwell, moved to Kentucky, and from there to Texas in 1832, settling in Brazoria County. Soon after trouble commenced with the Mexican authorities, which culminated in the battle of Velasco in June, 1832. Young Calder, in company with other citizens of Brazoria County, repaired to the scene of action, but arrived too late for the fight; however, they remained on duty there until the final surrender of the fort. In 1833 his mother died, a true, noble Christian woman. Major Caldwell survived until 1856, dying with yellow fever, in Brazoria County, at the house of his stepson. Mordella Monson. Mr. Calder held various positions in the civil service. In 1835 he was appointed Marshal of the Republic of Texas by President David G. Burnett. The duties of this office were to tale charge of wrecks and prizes and execute the laws of Judge Benj. C. Franklin. During this same year he joined the “army of the people” under...Read More
Mrs. Julia Jones, daughter of Judge C. C. Dyer, was born in Fort Bend County in 1839. Her father was a native of Tennessee and was born at Dyersburg January 29, 1799, and came to Texas with William Stafford in 1824. In this same year he married Sarah Stafford, who was born February 5, 1809, near Raleigh, North Carolina, Judge Dyer had twelve in family six boys and six girls. He lived to quite an old age, served as county judge of Fort Bend County, and died in 1864 on his farm on the east side of the Brazos River, opposite Richmond. He had been suffering for some time with heart trouble and fell in the field one morning while taking a walk, and was brought to the house dead by the Negro field hands. Mrs. Dyer died in 1874. Their homestead is now known as the Pleasant’s place. William Thomas, eldest son of Judge and Mrs. Dyer, was born in 1825. He married Miss Annie Swenson, who still survives. Her brother, F. M. Swenson, lived in Fort Bend County prior to the Civil War, but removed to New York and became a prominent banker there. William Dyer died at Round Rock, Texas, February 25, 1903, at the advanced gage of 87 years. James Foster Dyer was born in 1827 and in 1852 married Miss Sarah Catherine Barnett, daughter...Read More
William Stafford, one of the early settlers of Fort Bend County, was a native of Tennessee, but emigrated from that grand old State to that of Louisiana, where he engaged in raising cane and, making sugar. He was married twice; his first rife was Miss Donald, of Tennessee, and the second Miss Martha Cartwright, of Louisiana. In 1822 he came to Texas as one of the colonists of Stephen. F. Austin and first located near San Felipe, but later settled at what is now known as “Stafford’s Point” on Oyster Creek, in Fort Bend County, fifteen miles east of Richmond. Mr. Stafford, had two residences for convenience as to the seasons. The fall, winter and spring place was in the bottom at the farm on Oyster Creek at Stafford’s Lake. The summer place as in the prairie, a road being cut through the dense brush, timber and cane, nearly two miles, connecting the two places. His grant of land consisted of one and a half leagues, this surplus from the stipulated number of acres that each settler was to receive being added to his headright by General Austin for valuable services performed, in the affairs of the colony. At Stafford’s Point he put up a cane mill and made his own sugar, having planted the first cane and made the first sugar in fort Bend County. He also put...Read More
Fort Bend County, District Clerk Edgar P. Andrus was born in Richmond, Fort Bend County October the 34th, 1858. His father, Walter Andrus, was also born in Fort Bend: County in 1830, on the east side of the Brazos River, about four miles from Richmond. The grandfather, Williams Andrus, came with the first installment of Austin’s colonists, and his league and labor of land, was located on both sides of the Brazos, the league on the east and the labor on the west, in the bend. When the Mexican army came in 1836, the Andrus family were living on the Benard, eighteen miles from the Brazos, and in their flight went to San Felipe, where Captain Hosly Baker and his men were guarding the river, and crossing there, went on with the fleeing families, and came back, with others of the colonists, to their homes, after the battle of San Jacinto. William Andrus died in 1842, and Walter Andrus in 1897. They were farmers and stock raisers, except the father of E. P., who was a lawyer, abstracter and real estate agent. The mother of District Clerk Andrus was the eldest daughter of Martin McMahan, and the grandmother was Lucinda Travers, on the mother’s side. She was born in Florida, but came to Texas from Georgia at a very early day. The mother of Mr. Andrus was also born...Read More
Adam Sylvester Neel, named for James Sylvester, one of the captors of Santa Anna, was born in Fort Bend County, near Stafford’s Point, on the 25th of August, 1844. His father was William T. Neel, a native of Louisiana, who came to Texas with William Stafford. He was a young man and unmarried at the time, and was not entitled to as much land as heads of families, but located a labor near, Stafford’s Point, at which place he built a home, and afterwards located a league in the west on the Medina River during the Presidency of General Lamar. He married Mary, the daughter of William Stafford, who was the mother of Adam S. Neel. When the Mexican army came William Neel and wife had two children, James D. and. William T. Neel. They went with the Stafffords and returned with them, and while their home had not been burned, a party of Mexicans had been there and thoroughly pillaged the place, carrying off and destroying the property, even the bread tray was found in the well. Two more children were born, Sarah and Adam S. Sarah was not married, and died with yellow fever at Hodge’s Bend during the terrible epidemic of 1853. The family at the time were living in Richmond, and fled from the scourge, but Sarah had contracted the fatal malady and died at...Read More
Fort Bend County, Deputy Sheriff Henry Lee Ransom, the present efficient deputy under Sheriff Peareson, was born in Brenham, Texas, on the 29th of December 1870. His father was a soldier under General Lee, his grandfather having ten sons in the Confederate army. Henry came to Fort Bend County in October 1889, and was living in the county when the war broke out with Spain, and has the distinction of being the only Fort Bend County boy who served in the Philippines. He enlisted August 15th, 1899, in the company of Captain John A. Hulein, Company D, 33rd Infantry Regiment, U. S. Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Luther R. Hare. He saw much active service in the Philippines, and was one of the famous band under Colonel Hare that rescued Gilmore’s men. On, June the 30th, 1901, when his term of enlistment had expired, he received an honorable discharge, with the following military record from his Captain: “Noncommissioned officer, Corporal. Battles, engagements, skirmishes and expeditions, San Jacinto, November 11, 1899. Taynadin Pass, December 4, 1899. San Fabian, November 7, 1899; Augo, November 16, 1890; Bantayon, November 8, 1899; San Jose, December 7, 1899; Bandi, January 13,1899; Licuan, January 25,1900; Cagituman, April 19, 1900; Dalawog, April 20, 1900; Malibcong, May 19, 1900; Dinguan Mountain, September 16, 1900; insurgent attack on Banguea, September 20, 23 and 28, October 6, 131 20 and...Read More
Mr. McElroy Is one of the old settlers of Fort Bend County who still survives those days of pioneer life, fraught with so much danger and hardships, danger from Indian raids and Mexican invasion, and hardships incident to a new and undeveloped country, where the wilderness had to be subdued, far removed from the necessaries of life, except as they could carve them out in their new homes with the ax and, rude agricultural implements. Sometimes the sole dependence for food was the ripe as the long months went by, waiting for the maturity of some primitive crop, which was watched with zealous care to keep the wild animals of the woods from destroying it until the time of gathering came. Mr. McElroy was born in 1827, and came to Texas with his father, Phillip, in 1832, from Connecticut. They first settled on the Colorado River, eight miles below the present city of Austin, which was then not in existence. The headright league of the elder McElroy was located here, as were several others at that day and time. They had nat long remained in their new home, and began to accumulate some of the comforts of life, when the few settlers in that region were greatly alarmed and disturbed by an Indian attack, in which two settlers, Harris and Christian, lost their lives, and another one, Josiah Wilbarger,...Read More
Fort Bend County, Tax Collector Clement Newton Bassett, the present Tag Collector of Fort Bend County, was born in Richmond, Texas, on the 7th of January 1842. His father, Clem N. Bassett, Sr., was a. native of Virginia. and came to Texas in 18361 first stopping on the San Jacinto River at Lynchburg, where he married Miss Julia Lee Beale, also a native of Virginia. This was soon after the battle of San Jacinto, and the young people at once came to Richmond, Fort Bend County, and made that place their permanent home. Mr. Bassett was in the legal profession, and entered into the practice of law at Richmond successfully, and, at one time represented his district in the State Legislature. He died in Houston of cholera in 1848. His wife survived him until 1888, and died at Richmond. The grandmother of the subject of this sketch on his father’s side was Miss Bacon, a relative of Nathaniel Bacon, the instigator and leader of the famous “Bacon’s Rebellion,” the first decided stand against British authority in the American Colonies, The grandmother on the mother’s side was a Miss Lee, about first or second cousin to General Robert E. Lee. At the commencement of the great civil war, in 1861, Mr. Bassett joined the “Terry. Rangers” and was sworn into the Confederate States service at Houston, September the 7th, and...Read More
General William M. Wilkinson, the father of Mrs. Jane Long, was a distinguished officer in the United States Army of the war of 1812. When. Aaron Burr, in 1806, was contemplating the conquest and revolutionizing of Northern Mexico, which then included Texas, his base of operations being Blennerhassetts Island, General Wilkinson was ordered with a part of the United States Army to watch his movements, and also the Spanish army who were coming toward the Sabine River to meet Burr’s invasion. Thomas Jefferson was President at this time, and it was the policy of the United States Government to prevent any armed expedition from leaving her borders for such a conquest. The Spanish government had notification of the intention of Burr, and at that time, not recognizing the Sabine River as the boundary line between the Spanish possessions and those of the United States, moved an army toward that point. Late in the spring, some time in June, Generals Herrera and Cordero, with 1,200 veteran Spanish soldiers, reached Nacogdoches. Governor Claiborne, of Louisiana, called out the militia and placed them at the disposal of General Wilkinson also, and he hastened toward the Sabine with all of these available forces from New Orleans. Negotiations had failed as to the question of boundary and part of the Spanish army had already crossed the border when Wilkinson arrived and confronted them. Both...Read More
Austin Colonist George Washington Pleasants was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, March 30th, 1809, and came from there to Texas in 1830, and first settled at Columbia, and lived there until 1833. There was a great cholera epidemic that year at Columbia, which nearly depopulated the town. Mr. Pleasants had two sisters to die there; one, Fannie, was the wife of Kinchen Davis, and mother of Captain W. K. Davis, father of Judge J. H. P. Davis, of Richmond. Captain W. K. Davis was a Mier prisoner, as will be seen from the account elsewhere of that expedition. After the death of his sisters, Mr. Pleasants left Columbia with their children, and went out in the country to live. There were five or six of the Davis children, and two of the others, the names of whom (the latter) the writer has not been able to learn. When the war commenced with the Mexicans in 1835 Mr. Pleasants went with the army of General Austin to San Antonia, and was in all of the fighting around that place, and helped to storm the town under Colonel Ben Milam. He remained with the army until after the battle of San Jacinto, and then settled in Fort Bend County. In June, 1842, he married Miss Jane Brush, who was born November 5th, 1821. She and her mother, who was a widow,...Read More
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