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Simon W. Wiess[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

Male 1800 - 1868  (68 years)

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  • Name Simon W. Wiess 
    Born 1 Jan 1800  Lublin, Poland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • His birthplace is listed as Warsaw, Poland on his daughter Pauline's de
      ath certificate (informant was grandson Harry C. Wiess).

    Gender Male 
    Census 30 Sep 1850  Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [11

    Census 28 Jul 1860  Newton, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [12

    Died 13 Aug 1868  Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 

    Buried Wiess Cemetery, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • Born in 1800 to middle-class parents of German origin, Simon Wiess left L
      ublin, Poland at sixteen years of age and went to sea to make his fortu
      ne.  (In 1800, Poland was in turmoil and Lublin belonged to the Austria
      n empire.)  Family tradition has it that Simon Wiess was the third or f
      ourth son in a Jewish family and therefore wasn't entitled to any inher
      itance.  We are told he was given a ship when he was fifteen (1815) and h
      e began his extensive travels which continued up until about 1830.
      His great admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte causes us to wonder if he e
      ver met Napoleon or perhaps one of his lieutenants.  Though the record o
      f his travels is sparse, we know he was in Constantinople, April 2, 182
      5 and later that year was in Asia Minor.  Napoloeon was defeated and ex
      iled to Elba in April of 1814.  He retook Paris in March of 1815, leadi
      ng to his rule of "One Hundred Days".  His defeat at Waterloo was decis
      ive, and he again abdicated and surrendered to the British in June of 1
      815.  (This is about the time Simon left home to go to sea.)  He was ex
      iled to Saint Helena, an Island in the South Atlantic West of Africa, w
      here he died six years later in 1821.
      Simon Wiess had been sailing since he was 15.  Andre Massena died when S
      imon was 17 and Napoleon died when he was 21.
      He visited many places in Europe, Asia Minor (Turkey), the West Indies, C
      entral and South America, and Mexico.  He traveled extensively in the U
      nited States and lived for a time in Louisiana before making Texas his h
      ome.  He could read, write and speak fluently seven languages. He is sa
      id to have owned several sailing vessels and engaged in the trade betwe
      en New England and the West Indies.
      Records of his travels can be found in Masonic records, for he was a Ro
      yal Arch Mason at Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), April 2, 1825, a
      nd went to Asia Minor (now Turkey) the same year where he held a promin
      ent position in the Masonic circles.  His first recorded visit to the U
      nited States was on February 22, 1826, when he visited the Mt. Lebanon L
      odge in Boston Massachusetts.  He was in Santo Domingo on August 17 182
      8, where he participated with the Masonic fraternity.  He visited the A
      lbion Lodge at Barbados, West Indies, and received the degree of Past M
      aster.  On the ninth of May, 1829, he visited the Amity Lodge _______ o
      n the registry of the Right worshipful G.L. of Ireland.  On May 11 1829
      , he visited the Integrity Lodge number 259 at _______ and there receiv
      ed Mark Master degree.  June 2 1829, he visited Union Lodge No. 462 at G
      eorgetown Demarara, and we find that in 1840 he visited Galveston and p
      articipated with Harmony Lodge No. 6.  In 1847, he met with DeWitt Clin
      ton Lodge No. 129 in Jasper County, Texas.  Two years later, on April 1
      7 1849, he met with the Woodville, Texas Lodge.
      Jim Sturrock wrote "according to the meeting records of Milam Lodge # 2 (
      Originally Louisiana Lodge # 41) that Simon was the first Tiler and lat
      er was a member of the Jasper lodge.  William Sturrock leased the top f
      loor of his store building to the lodge.  William and Simon were charac
      ter witnesses for Sam Houston in a civil trial. These things we read an
      d copied at Nacogdoches." "We have heard that Simon brought the papers g
      ranting lodge status to Texas' Holland Lodge #1 also known as LA lodge # 4
      0 and gave them to Sam Houston who had them in his saddle bags at San J
      acinto.  We are not sure of the latter, only heard them."
      One account says he was the first member of the Jewish faith to reside i
      n Jefferson County, though he was never known to practice his religion i
      n Texas -- especially after marrying Margaret Sturrock, a Scotch Presby
      terian. Margaret was plagued with chills and fever and Simon looked for a
      nother place to be their home, settling at what is now known as Wiess' B
      An admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte, he named his first son for him and he n
      amed his youngest son for Napoleon's lieutenant, Massena.  Family lore a
      lso says he brought acorns from the oak trees planted around Napoleon's g
      rave to plant in America, but the evidence says that his son Mark broug
      ht the acorns, probably to honor his father's memory.  It is said he be
      came a Christian when he settled in Southeast Texas where he was scorne
      d and distrusted by the people there until they came to respect him as a m
      an of honor.
      Simon Wiess first visited Texas in 1833 and by 1836 was Deputy Collecto
      r of Customs for the Republic of Texas near Camp Sabine, a military pos
      t of the United States located on the east side of the river in Louisia
      na. The customs station was at Sabinetown, on the Texas side of the riv
      er near Milam, some 135 miles upriver from Sabine Pass. It has since be
      en covered by Toledo Bend reservoir.
      He purchased the Old Stone Fort built by the Spaniards in 1779 and oper
      ated a trading post in it.  William Sturrock later purchased the fort f
      rom Simon.  The fort has been rebuilt and is now a tourist attraction i
      n Nacogdoches.
      He became a Neches River cotton broker at Wiess Bluff, Jasper County, i
      n December 1839 after having operated unsuccessful stores at Nacogdoche
      s, Beaumont, and Port Neches between 1836 and 1839.
      In 1840, he loaned Sherod and Solomon Wright $500, presumably for impro
      vements to their settlement at Pinetucky, which ran along the Wiess Blu
      ff-Jasper Road near Sherod Wright's homestead.  Pinetucky was later nam
      ed Magnolia Springs.
      By 1843 he was operating a peck mill at Wiess' Bluff to chip the bark f
      rom logs and square the timbers.  It was the beginning of the area's ea
      rly lumber business, which would make his sons and other Beaumonters we
      althy.  Just before the turn of the century, his sons owned the Relianc
      e Lumber Company which was soon cutting 20 to 50 million feet of lumber p
      er year -- the largest enterprise in Beaumont and one of the largest sa
      wmills in the world.
      He was appointed postmaster at the post office in Patillo, Jefferson co
      unty, Texas beginning December 9, 1852 and then, July 21, 1853, at Wies
      s' Bluff.
      He wrote the following letter of admonition to his sons:
      " Wiess' Bluff, January 1, 1866
      "My dear boys:
      "As you have just started in business, I think it is my duty to give yo
      u a little advice, and with the hope that you will take it, observe it, f
      or your own good. 1st, do not force, or persuade anyone to buy your goo
      ds; 2nd, have but one price; 3rd, open no liquors to be drunk in your s
      tore; 4th, credit no one; 5th, don't make your store a harbor for loafe
      rs and idlers; 6th, spend your leisure hours in reading and in the best s
      ociety; 7th, don't be discouraged even should the times be dull -- hold o
      n and you will prosper in due time; 8th, stand to all your contracts. I h
      ave committed (in business) several errors which I hope to prevent in y
      ou, if you will avail yourselves of my advice; 9th, you will lose custo
      m and character if you permit drinking in your establishment. These are m
      y injunctions as well as judge Wingate's to you. Should you fail or not
      , heed our advice which is all intended for your good.
      "In conclusion, I will say to you that my anxiety for your welfare and p
      rosperity has prompted me to give you this advice -- I show this to you
      r mother and she joins me in these admonitions to you and we will pray f
      or your happiness and welfare.
      "Don't hesitate to say No on all proper occasions, as it will save you m
      any dollars and much disappointment. It is my desire that you preserve t
      hese lines as a token of admonition.
      "And wishing you a happy New Year and may God bless you is the prayer o
      f your affectionate father
                Simon Wiess"
      No record has been found of Simon's parents or of his early years in Lu
      blin, Poland.  Pat Blue quotes Dr. Hooks' book "Be What You Seem to Be!  A H
      istory of William Hooks", pp 154-155, which alleges Simon changed his l
      ast name from Weiss to Wiess.  Carol Bromley, on April 26, 1999, said t
      hat Simon's family name was changed from "WIESHAUN" which means "white h
      ouse", and that she was told this by Lucille McGaffey (possibly Carol's g
      rand-aunt Lucille Wiess McGaffey?).  A Simon Wietska has a birth record f
      rom Lublin Poland from the year 1800, father Simon Wietska and mother A
      gnes Lisouona (LDS microfilm 937, #494).  The month and date are unclea
      r, but appear to be Jan 1.)

    Person ID I1444  mykindred
    Last Modified 16 Dec 2016 

    Family Margaret (Elizabeth?) Sturrock,   b. 12 Jun 1814, Dundee, Angus, Scotland
    Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 May 1881, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA
    Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years) 
    Married 6 Jan 1836  Natchitoches, Natchitoches parish, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • On one of his travels, Simon met a young Scottish girl, Margaret Sturro
      ck, in Natchitoches, Louisiana and fell in love with her.  At the time h
      e was a resident of the Mexican state of Texas and serving as a customs a
      gent there.  To satisfy the Sturrock family, in December, 1835, Simon W
      iess of Jasper County bonded himself to his bride's brother for $12,000
      , wherein he had to put up land titles equal to that amount as security
      . The indenture was nothing more than an early-day bond marriage, which e
      xisted in one form or another in all the frontier states and territorie
      s during the first half of the nineteenth century.  Such a document gua
      ranteed that the bridegroom could adequately support a wife.  After ove
      rcoming the objections of the Sturrocks, they were married in 1836 and w
      ent to Nacogdoches, Texas to live.  Not finding suitable opportunities t
      here for investment and trade, in 1838 Simon boarded a keelboat and too
      k his family and the first commercial load of cotton ever transported d
      own the Neches River to Sabine Pass.  He sold the cotton in New Orleans a
      nd settled his family at Grigsby's Bluff.  In 1840, he moved to Grant's B
      luff, at the head of a dry river navigation on the Neches river not far f
      rom where Village Creek enters it.  His general store soon became a fix
      ture among Neches River traders who began calling the location Wiess' B
      luff in his honor and that is what it is called to this day. In additio
      n to his store, he built warehouses and a small sawmill at the Jasper C
      ounty site and took part in extensive land transactions throughout East T
      exas. He also helped to fund the first dredging of the Neches River cha
      Beginning in January, 1840, the annual board meetings of Sabine City Co
      mpany required that the principal proprietors, Generals (Sam) Houston a
      nd Sidney Sherman and Colonels Philip Sublett and George W. Hockley, at
      tend, either in person or by agent, at Sabine Pass. The Neches River wa
      s their main travel artery to that point and Wiess Bluff was a favorite s
      topover. (excerpt: "From Cotton Bales to Black Gold")
      Simon and Margaret built their home at Wiess' Bluff in the fall of 1858 a
      nd by 1860 Simon had an estate valued at $30,000.  Their home at Wiess' B
      luff was occupied by the family well into the twentieth century but it i
      s presently owned by J.C. Chance of Beaumont.  Miss Florence Stratton, i
      n her book "The Story of Beaumont" described the Wiess home this way: "
      The house is situated on a bluff overlooking the Neches on two sides, w
      ith a porch 75 feet long, extending its length. A bannister railing is a
      ttached by hooks to the gallery, so that it may be let down and used as a s
      helf for airing mattresses, blankets and quilts. At one end and entirel
      y separate except for a covered passage, are the dining room and kitche
      "    The house has six large rooms, built on either side of a great hal
      l, in addition to kitchen, dining room and two store rooms. A den flank
      ed with stuffed animals that were killed at the Bluff is an interesting f
      eature; then, too, there is the old wooden bucket with cover and gourd, t
      hat is kept filled with water from one of the three cisterns on the pla
      ce that contains cooler water than the others."
      "    Old-fashioned heavy beds, with testers, marbletopped tables, a gra
      ndfather?s clock, walnut highboys, tall glass candle shades to keep the w
      ind from blowing out the lights, are some of the prize possessions of t
      his home."
      "    The flower garden, quaint and orderly, has been retained practical
      ly as it was originally planned. All the walks are borderd by yellow st
      one quart bottles that came from abroad, and massive liveoak trees shad
      e the yard. Pink crepe myrtle, red roses, gladioli and bachelor button f
      launt their loveliness in the old-fashioned garden that radiates an air o
      f romance of bygone days."
      From the diary of his friend and contemporary, Adolphus Sterne (McDonal
      d, Archie P., ed. Hurrah for Texas! The Diary of Adolphus Sterne, 1836-
      1851. Austin: Eakin, 1986):
      On page 85, it reads as follows:
      Friday, 11th March 1842 "Gave to Simon Wiess my Headright League title t
      o have it recorded in Liberty County, the Original County in which said L
      and was Originally Located.  I send previously a Certified Copy of my H
      eadright Title to Jasper thinking it in that County.  I never heard any t
      hing from it since I send it down & am afraid some rascality has been d
      one by someone, at least my not hearing of my Title makes me believe so a
      t least."
      On page 203:
      Friday, the 22nd, 1844 "- the western mail arrived for the first time u
      nder the new contract - brought several letters etc.  one for myself fr
      om the County Clerk of Liberty County telling me he did not receive my D
      eed for my head right for record, so that the old scamp Weiss has not g
      iven my Deed for my head right to be recorded as agreed upon - it serve
      s me right I knew he is a Damned Scamp and ought not to have trusted hi
      On page 231:
      Monday, the 28th, 1851 "Translated a deed for Simon Weiss - Lodge met, w
      as up till Midnight."
      Census data for the Wiess families:
      1850 census, Jasper county, enumerated 30, Sept., 1850, dwelling 76, fa
      mily 77,  p. 225, roll M432_912
      Simeon WIESS, 51, M, trader, 10,000, Poland
      Margarett WIESS, 31, F,, Scotland
      Paulina WIESS, 11, F,, Texas
      Napoleon WIESS, 12, M, do
      Mark Pole WIESS, 8, M, do
      William WIESS, 8, M, do
      Valentine WIESS, 6, M, do
      Messina WIESS, 1, M, do
      Adeline JACK, 21, F, Louisiana
      James REESE, 24, M, Tennessee
      1860 census, TX, Jasper, Newton P.O., p 17, (M653-1298, p 393), July 28
      -- HH 106 Wm BROWN, 33, NC
      -- HH 107 Wm SPIER, 44, $500, GA
      -- HH 108 Soloman WISHAND, 36, $50, MN
      -- HH 109 William SMITH, 34, $200, AR
      -- HH 110
      S G WIES, 59, M, merchant, $15000, $15000, Poland
      Margaret WIES, 46, F, Scotland
      N WIES, 21, M, domestic, TX
      Mark WIES, 17, M, domestic, TX
      William WIES, 17, M, domestic, TX
      Valentine WIES, 16, M, domestic, TX
      Mesena WIES, 10, F, domestic, TX
      Adaline DOER, 26, F, LA
      -- HH 111, Solon SMITH, 55, $700, IN
      -- HH 112 A.J. TAYLOR, 45, $10000, $18000, GA
      1870 census, TX, Jasper, sub 23, p 29; 497
      July 16, 1870; lines 1-7; HH 213/214
      WIESS, Margaret; 56, F, W, Keeping House; Scotland
      WIESS, Valentine; 24, M, W, Dry Goods Merchant; TX
      WIESS, Mary E.; 19; F, W, TX (this is Mary E. Herring, Valentine's wife
      WIESS, Massena, 21, M, W, Dry Goods Merchant, TX
      WIESS, Elizabeth E., F, W, 19, F, W, TX (this is Elvira Elizabeth Janes
      , Massena's wife)
      WIESS, Ann E., 18, F, B, Domestic Servant, TX
      Burks, James, 18, M, mulatto, Farm Laborer; SC
      - HH 214/215
      WRIGHT, John L, 50, M, W, farmer
      - HH 215/216
      HAYNES, Silas, 29, M, B, farm laborer
      (this family has not been found in any subsequent census)
      ... lines 16-22; HH 216/217
      WIESS, Joseph, 27, M, mulatto, NC, no occupation listed
      WIESS, Catherine, 21, F, mulatto, TX
      WIESS, Matilda, 6, F, mulatto, TX
      WIESS, Laura, 5, F, mulatto, TX
      WIESS, Milton, 4, M, mulatto, TX
      WIESS, Kittie (?), 2/12, F, mulatto, TX
      WIESS, Julius, 2/12, M, mulatto, TX
      - 217/218
      WINN, Abraham, 40, M, B, farm laborer
      - HH 218/219
      TAYLOR, Louis, 30, M, mulatto, farm laborer
      ... lines 29-34; HH 219/220
      WIESS, Napoleon, 31, M, W, Steamboat Captain, $400, $2000, TX
      WIESS, Cynthia, 24, F, W, Keeping House, Arkansas
      WIESS, William S., 8, M, W, TX
      WIESS, Edward S., 6, M, W, TX
      WIESS, Martha A. 4, F, W, TX
      WIESS, Margaret, 2, F, W, TX
      1880 census:
      Cynthia A. WIESS, Jasper county, E.D. 39, p. 164
      Maassino WIESS, Williamson county, E.D. 162, p. 562
      Mark WIESS, Jefferson county Beaumont, p. 174
      Verret M. WIESS, Williamson county, E.D. 162, p. 562
      1880 census, Jasper county, Texas, enumeration district 39, precinct 4
      pg. 164B (pg. 12), microfilm Series T9, Roll 1313
      enumerated June 15, 1880
      lines 30-37, dwelling/household 99/99
      WIESS, Cynthia A., W, F, 34, widowed, keeping house, AR, AR, AR
      WIESS, William S., W, M, 17, son, mail carrier, TX, TX, AR
      WIESS, Margarett I, W, F, 11, daughter, 1, at home, TX, TX, AR
      WIESS, Walter, W, M, 5, son, single, TX, TX, AR
      PICKEL, Thomas R, W, M, 30, boarder, single, rafting timber, GA, NC, GA
      McVAY, Isabele, W, F, 30, boarder, widowed, TX, NC, Ireland
      McVAY, Robert L, W, M, 9, boarder, TX, Ireland, TX
      McVAY, Mary E, W, F, 3, boarder, TX, Ireland, TX
      (There is no indication of the marital status of William -- he married A
      my Sims circa 1880, but she is not living with them if they're married a
      t the time of the census.)
      lines 38-41; dwelling/household 100/100
      ???, Joe, B, M, 35, farmer, NC, NC, ??
      ???, Lossia(?), B, F, 40, wife, keeping house, Gia, Gia, Gia
      SAUNDERS, Matilda, B, F, 18, Ward, at home, TX, NC, MS
      SAUNDERS, Lossia, B, F, 15, ward, at home, TX, NC, MS
      lines 42-44; dwelling/household 101/101
      WIESS, Margaret, W, F, 65, widowed, merchant, Scotland, Scotland, Scotl
      COFFIN, Pauline, W, F, 40, daughter, widowed, keeping house, TX, Poland
      , Scotland
      SAUNDERS, James W, W, M, 40, single, boarder, clerk in store, FL, GA, G
      lines 45-47; dwelling/household 102/102
      PIERCE, Aaron, W, M, 65, widowed, farmer, MS, TN, TN
      PIERCE, Thomas, W, M, 7, son, TX, MS, IL
      MILLER, John N, W, M, 46, working in farm, Via, Via, Via
      lines 48-50; dwelling/household 103/103
      FIELDER, Em??? R, W, M, 45, works in timber ???, AL, AL, GA
      FIELDER, Martha A.R., W, F, 18, wife, keeping house, LA, AL, AL
      FIELDER, Early P, W, M, 2, son, TX, AL, LA
      The Wiess cotton gin had been operated by W. P. Herring as far back as 1
      851, and after 1860, by J. J. Herring and Company, a partnership which a
      lso included Otto and Charles H. Ruff.
      Wiess's Bluff, also known as Wiess Bluff Community, is on Farm Road 113
      1 fifteen miles north of Beaumont in the extreme southwestern corner of J
      asper County.  The site, on the east bank of the Neches River, was know
      n as Grant's Bluff before Simon Wiess opened a general store there in J
      anuary 1840.  Although Wiess's Bluff was a failure as a town site, it p
      roved a tremendous business success for the Wiess store.  At the head o
      f low-water navigation on the Neches River and at the southern terminus o
      f the Jasper-Wiess's Bluff road, the location drew most of the Neches R
      iver valley trade during the mid-nineteenth century.  Steamboats plying t
      he Neches and farmers throughout the area used the warehouses and store b
      uilt by Wiess for their imported goods and cotton exports.  During the C
      ivil War, the Confederacy made Wiess's Bluff a depot for military store
      s and supplies.
      Wiess, Texas was a switch and flag stop on the Texas and New Orleans Ra
      ilroad seven miles southeast of Kountze in Hardin County. It was named b
      y the Sabine and East Texas Railroad (which was co-founded by Simon Wie
      ss) in 1880 for Mark, Valentine and William Wiess whose Reliance Lumber C
      ompany loaded logs at the point.  The Reliance Mill was once the larges
      t yellow pine lumber mill in the world. Scott Sturrock sturrock-at-mari> wrote "Simon Weiss and Wm. Sturrock at one time owned the O
      ld Stone Fort in Nacogdoches which is now a state historical site".
      During an interview with Arthur Coffin of Wiess Bluff in 1973, historia
      n W.T. Block was informed that Sam Houston spent the night on two occas
      ions at the old Simon Wiess home there, Wiess Bluff being an old steamb
      oat stop on the Neches River, sixteen miles north of Beaumont.  Wiess h
      ad known Houston in Nacogdoches as early as 1835. Coffin's grandmother, M
      rs.  Pauline Wiess Coffin, was born in Nacogdoches in 1837, but she had l
      ived in the old Wiess home for ninety years, from 1840 until 1930.  She c
      ould remember General Houston from days when she was a little girl.  Ho
      wever, the times that he visited there must have been subsequent to 184
      6.  Steamboat passenger service on the Neches did not begin until 1846, t
      he year that the "Angelina" made its maiden voyage from Pattonia, Nacog
      doches County, to Sabine Pass.  Occasionally, deep-sea schooners may ha
      ve traveled as far inland as Wiess Bluff, but generally wind velocity s
      ufficient to fill schooner sails ended whenever the timberline was reac
      As early as March 25, 1861, when Jasper county's "Red Star Guard Rifles o
      f Texas" organized at Wiess Bluff, the four oldest Wiess sons enlisted. N
      apoleon was elected first lieutenant; Mark was elected third corporal; W
      illiam Wiess was appointed as secretary, to conform to the militia's co
      mpany's constitution; and Valentine Wiess became drummer.  Then on Sept
      ember 20, 1861, Mark and William Wiess, followed by Napoleon on July 3, 1
      862, and then Valentine, enlisted in Captain O.M. Marsh's cavalry Compa
      ny A, Spaight's Battalion, at Sabine.
      Beginning in May, 1863, the Wiess brothers (with the exception of Masse
      na, who was only 13) took part in an 8-months campaign in Louisiana, an
      d helped Confederate General Taylor's army to stem Union General Nathan
      iel Banks's first attempt to invade Texas. At its high water mark, Tayl
      or's Atchafalaya River drive carried as far inland as Opelousas, Louisi
      ana, before Banks chose to retreat.
      Five of Colonel Ashley Spaight's companies fought in this campaign, alt
      hough the Wiess brothers' company was detached, fighting as infantry, t
      o Colonel George W. Baylor's Second Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade.
      The brothers fought at a number of Louisiana battles, particularly the B
      attles of Calcasieu Pass, Fordoche Bayou, and Bayou Bourbeau.  A collec
      tion of their civil war letters is at the Rosenberg Library of Galvesto
      For an example of one of those letters see the letter from Napoleon Wie
      ss to his mother written shortly after the Battle of Bayou Bourbeau (or B
      oggy Creek), fought on November 3, 1863, seven miles from Opelousas, Lo
      uisiana (see in notes on Napoleon Wiess).
      Wiess' Bluff served the Confederacy as a military depot, soldiers being s
      tationed there and Confederate military goods being stored there.
      Simon Wiess also left one of the best descriptions of Wiess' Bluff in a
      n article written for the Texas Almanac in 1859, a part of which is quo
      ted as follows:
      "Wiess Bluff is situated on the Neches River, in Jasper county, fifty m
      iles below the town of Jasper, and sixteen miles above the town of Beau
      mont; it is at the head of tide water. I have resided here with my fami
      ly for nearly nineteen years. I believe this to be a very healthy secti
      on of the country -- so much so, that we have never had occasion to emp
      loy a physician. This is a timbered country, and consists of a consider
      able variety, but in the immediate neighborhood, it is mostly pine and c
      ypress. This soil is thin, but it rests on a good clay foundation and m
      ost of it is susceptible to cultivation; the farms are generally small i
      n the immediate neighborhood, but stock-raising is the principal occupa
      tion of the inhabitants . . .
      When I first settled this place in 1839, the shipment of cotton that ye
      ar consisted of fourteen or sixteen bales, but it has been increasing s
      teadily until now; as near as I can judge of the quantity that went dow
      n (Neches River) last fall and this spring, it cannot be short of 7,000 b
      ales, besides hides, peltries, tobacco, and lumber . . ."
      The Texas Historical marker (# 10467) for Wiess' Bluff reads:  "Wiess B
      luff;  End of tidewater navigation of Neches River; called Grant's Bluf
      f in 1840, when Niles f. smith laid out town and Simon Wiess (1800-68) b
      uilt wharf and warehouses to ship area products downriver. Post office, e
      stablished in 1847 at Pattillo's, in Jefferson County, was moved here J
      uly 21, 1853. Area flourished about 1885, when J. G. Smyth & Co. built t
      ram roads into forest and began to cut timber. Beaumont Lumber Co. boug
      ht out Smyth in 1888. As good timberland dwindled after 1900, local pop
      ulation declined. The Wiess Bluff Post Office closed Sept. 15, 1908."  I
      t is located 394910E 3347876W about 6.5 mi. south of Evadale on FM 1131
      The settlement called Pinetucky was also associated with the Wiess fami
      ly.  The Texas Historical marker (# ) reads:  "Pinetucky;  Name origina
      lly applied to widely scattered settlement astride Wiess Bluff-Jasper R
      oad. First settlers, Alexander and Sherod Wright, came into area about 1
      824. Magnolia Springs Post Office opened at this site in 1850; within a f
      ew years the community had a store, church, and grist mill on Wright's (
      later Mill) Creek; a mill and tannery were on nearby Tanyard Branch. Te
      xas Tram & Lumber Co. had extensive logging operation in area in 1880s-
      90s. Decline began with arrival of the railroad in Kirbyville, 1895. Po
      st office was moved to present site in 1905."  It can be found by going f
      rom Kirbyville via FM 1013 W 9 mi.; then north on FM 1005 1.4 mi.  Lat/
      long 401282E 3398552N.
      After Simon Wiess' death in 1868, Margaret Wiess continued to operate t
      he family business with the help of her younger sons Valentine and Mass
      ena. In the 1870 census, both were listed as dry goods merchants, resid
      ing at Wiess' Bluff.
      A Joseph Wiess family with five children lived at Wiess' Bluff in 1870, b
      ut this family's origins in North Carolina suggest that no kinship was i
      Of his sons, Napoleon died at 33 of pneumonia.  The other sons all beca
      me quite wealthy in their own rights, first in lumber and then in oil.  M
      ark was an inventor and lumberman.  William was one of the first invest
      ors in the Texas Oil Company (Texaco) and his son, Harry Carrothers Wie
      ss, was a founder and president of Humble Oil Company. Valentine became a m
      erchant and banker and, at the time of his death in 1913, was the large
      st taxpayer on Beaumont's tax rolls. Valentine's daughter later donated W
      iess Park to the city of Beaumont. Massena was a businessman in Round R
      ock, Texas.
      The Gulf, Beaumont and Great Northern Railroad was chartered on July 30
      , 1898.  Intended to begin a mile south of Sabine Pass and to run north t
      o Paris in Lamar County, for a distance of about 350 miles at a cost of $
      350,000.  The members of the first board of directors were Nathaniel D. S
      ilsbee of Boston, Massachusetts; James Irvine of New York City; John H.  K
      irby of Houston; and William A. Fletcher, William Wiess, Mark Wiess, W.  S
      .  Davidson, William W.  Wilson, and W.C. Averill, all of Jefferson Cou
      nty, with the principal place of business in Beaumont.
      The McFaddin-Wiess-Kyle rice canal was constructed in 1900.  The Beaumo
      nt Pasture company was created March 14 1878, the members being William M
      cFaddin, C.C. Caswell, O.M. Kyle, Valentine Wiess, and Samuel Lee.  In 1
      901, the J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company was organized with the backers b
      eing Andrew and Richard Mellon, W.P.H. McFaddin, Valentine Wiess, Rober
      t and Hal W. Gree, and J.C. Campbell.  They were stockholders as well.
      Wiess Bluff Post Office -- Postmasters (
      /jasper.html ):
      - Wiess, Simon, 21 Jly 1853
      Discontinued 23 Jan 1867
      - (Re-established) Coffin, Miss Mary, 21 Aug 1868
      - Sanders, Jas. W., 19 May 1873
      - Wiess, Mrs. Margaret, 6 May 1878
      - Sanders, Jas. W., 2 Jun 1881
      - Conn, Ruffin C., 27 Sep 1890
      - Carroll, Joe E., 24 Aug 1892
      - Beaumont, Jacob, 25 Apr 1893
      - Sanders, Jas. W., 18 May 1903
      Discontinued 15 Sep 1908; mail to Beaumont
      During the 1870's William and Valentine Wiess formed a partnership with t
      heir wives' uncle, William McFaddin, and with Dr. Obadiah Kyle (their w
      ives' brother-in-law), known as the Beaumont Pasture Company, whose pur
      pose was to purchase land and cattle in South Jefferson county. Althoug
      h William Wiess left it, the partnership continued on as McFaddin, Wies
      s, Kyle Land and Trust Company (upon which land the Spindletop oil gush
      er blew in, in 1901) and later as McFaddin, Wiess, Kyle Rice Milling Co
      The heyday of Beaumont's steam sawmilling epoch can be said to date fro
      m December 12, 1878, when the Reliance Lumber Company officially organi
      zed, and full control of which passed to the Wiess brothers.
      Following the deaths of Dr. Kyle in 1879 and William McFaddin in 1898, o
      wnership in these firms was transferred to their respective sons, W. W. K
      yle and W. P. H. McFaddin. The marriage of Massena Wiess' daughter Clyd
      e, of Luling, in March, 1899 to Obadiah's son, W. W. Kyle, was a social e
      vent of that season.
      The Wiess brothers founded the Magnolia Cemetery at Beaumont, where man
      y of the family members are buried.
      SPINDLETOP: An Austrian born mining engineer, Captain Anthony F. Lucas, h
      ad heard of Spindletop Hill while developing salt mines in Louisiana. A
      fter traveling to Beaumont he became convinced that there was oil at Sp
      indletop and leased land from the Gladys Company in 1899. When his firs
      t attempt failed, Lucas was ready to quit until his wife urged him to s
      eek outside financing and try again. Lucas went to the famous Pittsburg
      h wildcatting team of James Guffey and John Galey. They were interested i
      n Lucas' prospects and approached Andrew Mellon for money to continue t
      he operations. Guffey and Galey hired the Hamill Brothers of Corsicana, T
      exas, the best rotary drillers available. Al and Curt Hamill arrived in B
      eaumont and began drilling on the adjoining McFaddin-Wiess & Kyle tract o
      f land in October of 1900. In spite of tremendous difficulties they rea
      ched 1,000 feet by Christmas. After returning from the holidays they en
      countered new problems. Upon reaching solid rock their drill lodged in a c
      revice at 1,060 feet. At approximately 10: 30 A.M. on January 10, 1901, w
      hile attempting to free their drill from the crevice, the famous Lucas G
      usher blew. Oil sprayed over 100 feet above the derrick for nine days u
      ntil the well was capped. It was the greatest oil well ever seen. Altho
      ugh Lucas estimated its flow at 6,000 barrels per day it was actually f
      lowing 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. No longer was Pattilo Higgins l
      aughingly called the "Millionaire." Practically overnight thousands of s
      ightseers, speculators, promoters, fortune seekers and "boomers" poured i
      nto the small town as news of the discovery spread. By 1902, 285 active w
      ells were operating on Spindletop Hill. Over 600 oil companies had been c
      hartered. Although most vanished overnight some, such as the Texas comp
      any (Texaco), J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company (Gulf), Magnolia Petroleum C
      ompany (Mobil) and Sun Oil Company went on to become giants in the indu
      stry. The Lucas Gusher marked the beginning of a new age for the world - t
      he Petroleum Age. Although Pennsylvania was the location of the first c
      ommercial oil well and Russia could claim the first gushers, the vast q
      uantities of oil discovered at Spindletop first made possible the use o
      f oil as an inexpensive, lightweight and efficient fuel to propel the w
      orld into the twentieth century.

    +1. Pauline "Sissy" Wiess,   b. 14 May 1837, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Dec 1930, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years)
    +2. Capt. Napoleon Bonaparte "Nap" Wiess, CSA ,   b. 10 Mar 1839, Port Neches, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Mar 1872, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 33 years)
    +3. Marco Polo "Mark" Wiess, CSA ,   b. 23 Oct 1842, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jul 1910, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
    +4. William A. Wiess, CSA ,   b. 23 Oct 1842, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jun 1914, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
    +5. Valentine Wiess, CSA ,   b. 27 Jul 1845, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jul 1913, Goliad county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)
    +6. Massena Wiess,   b. 27 Jul 1849, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jun 1921, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
    Family ID F546  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Wiess, Simon (1800-1868)
    Wiess, Simon (1800-1868)
    Wiess home place at Wiess' Bluff - 1941.
    Wiess home place at Wiess' Bluff - 1941.

    Wiess, Simon and Margaret (Sturrock)
    Wiess, Simon and Margaret (Sturrock)
    Wiess, Simon
    Wiess, Simon
    Wiess Cemetery spire
    Wiess Cemetery spire
    Wiess Cemetery spire base detail
    Wiess Cemetery spire base detail
    Wiess Cemetery, Wiess' Bluff, Jasper county, Texas
    Wiess Cemetery, Wiess' Bluff, Jasper county, Texas
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery spire 1
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery spire 1
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery spire 1 base
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery spire 1 base
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery - spire 2
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery - spire 2
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery - spire 2 base
    Wiess, Magnolia Cemetery - spire 2 base

    Bumstead, Dora -- Family Bible
    Bumstead, Dora -- Family Bible
    The family Bible of Dora Bumstead Wiess and Willie Simon Wiess
    The Bible of Willie Wiess & Dora Bumstead
    The Bible of Willie Wiess & Dora Bumstead
    PDF version for printing

  • Sources 
    1. [S73] Hooks, Dr. H.A. , 154-155

    2. [S75] From Cotton Bales to Black Gold .

    3. [S197] Hurrah for Texas! The Diary of Adolphus Sterne, 18 , pp. 85, 203, 231

    4. [S608] Matheson-McFarland, Lottie Elma (Sturrock) .
      family group sheets received from Lucille July 2001

    5. [S6] Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, J.H. Brown .

    6. [S1005] Yesterdays, Nacogdoches Genealogical Society .

    7. [S2126] Napoleon Bonaparte Wiess; W.T. Block ,

    8. [S2127] Beaumont's Fabulous Wiess Brothers: Business Leaders of early Beaumont ,

    9. [S2128] A Brief History of Wiess Bluff, Texas .

    10. [S2131] Early Beaumont Jewish Community 3 ,

    11. [S4251] 1850 US federal census , 1850 census, TX, Jasper, Sept. 30, 1850, HH 76/77, p. 225, roll M432-912

    12. [S136] 1860 US federal census , 1860 census, TX, Jasper, Newton P.O., p 17, (M653-1298, p 393), July 28