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History in Oil - Santa Fe Depot

Updated: May 2, 2021


In February 1844, there was no one living in the original townsite of 100 acres donated by Farral and Hurt; and there were few people residing in the settlement. In the

the rear of the Anthony hotel, outside of the townsite, was

the rudely constructed house in which Jesse Farral, James

Hurt and their families lived. Joseph Ralston's store was

north of this dwelling. Ralston owned a number of goats,

and as they were continuously around his place of business, the inhabitants dubbed the street "Goat Row," and it

was so known until its name was changed to Market, June

13, 1874. Adjoining Ralston's, and on the north also, was

a small log house in which the papers of the county were

kept by District Clerk J. D. Giddings, pending the building

of the courthouse.

A list of those living in the settlement, including the farmers who resided within a radius of three or four miles,

in the spring of 1844, as nearly as can be ascertained, is

as follows: Mrs. Arabella Harrington, whose league of land

was granted March 22, 1831, under the colonization laws of

Coahuila and Texas, and upon which the whole of Bren-

ham, and much of the surrounding country, is situated,

lived in the -most beautiful part of her possessions, i. e., on

the branch which runs past the home in South Brenham

of Mrs. Ida Dawson, and just a little removed from Mrs.

Dawson's present home. Dennis Harrell lived in the west on the left-hand side of the present H. & T. C. railroad bridge. Henry Higgins was at Fireman's Park, with James

McRea just across the branch from him. Billie and John

Tom owned the land where Mrs. Anna Hermann's home is situated. John Brown lived where Dr. S. Bowers resides.

Billie Norris' home was in the east on the branch which runs past Mrs. Ida Dawson's residence. H. C. Mclntyre settled on his farm in 1839. Dr. Payne, when he was not practicing medicine or farming, operated a grist mill on the branch which runs through Burney Parker's present farm.

L. P. Rucker and B. E. Tarver had farms to the north of

Brenham. Joseph Ralston's farm was on Ralston's Creek.

Jesse Johnson, or "Tub" Johnson, had a grist mill on Wood-

ward's Creek. Rev. John W. Kenney lived at Kenney.

Elliott Allcorn, Billie Cole, James Clemmons, 0. H. P. Garrett, Sam Lusk and Sandford Woodward were farmers also.


The first building to be erected in the original townsite was the courthouse. It was a small two-story wooden structure situated on the lot where stands the present court

house J-~e Tom, Joe Miller, and Hugh Sherrod were the

Here is a funny bit of a letter I ran across today, a letter written from Brenham, Texas in July of 1846 by John James Giddings (b.1821, d.1861) a Pennsylvanian who had come to Texas with his brothers seeking their fortunes. Mr. Giddings was the surveyor whose work in 1847 laid out thousands of sections in the part of the territory of the Comanche Indians known as Fisher & Miller's Colony at the Western edge of Central Texas.

J.J. Giddings wrote:

>The beauty of the scenery and in all-natural advantages the country cannot be excelled or too highly extolled. But it is a new country still encumbered with a vexatious war and of course subject to t a great many inconveniences scarcely thought of in an old settled country. Among which are poor roads, poor bridges, poor buildings. Of this, I may not be a competent judge as my travels have been mostly on the frontier wherefrom the unsettled state of affairs the people have not made any permanent improvements not knowing that they could be benefited by them.

>But this is an old settled country and contains some very fine towns and dwellings. The town of Brenham was laid out for the county site nearly two years ago and now contains a greater population than Bethany [Pennsylvania}. Some fine buildings and is very much of a business town and rapidly improving.

>The society I know but little about as I seldom mingle in it. Gambling and drinking is very common and do not indicate a very good state of society. It is a settled maxim that dissipation followed war and the society here is something similar to what it was in the U.S. soon after the revolution.

>Among the habits that appear disgusting to me is the almost universal custom of the ladies chewing snuff and drinking strong coffee. Tea is but little used although it grows in the country to great perfection and will someday be one of the staple productions. I have stated some of the advantages and disadvantages of this country without deciding between them. The advantages this country has over the North are natural and permanent.

Best regards,

Kent McMillan, RPLS Austin TX

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