1845 - 1913 (68 years)
||Valentine Wiess |
||Jul 27, 1845
||Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA
||Sep 30, 1850
||Jasper county, Texas, USA 
||Jul 28, 1860
||Newton, Jasper county, Texas, USA 
||Jul 16, 1870
||Jasper county, Texas, USA 
||Jul 30, 1913
||Goliad county, Texas, USA
- Died of ??constricted intestine??.
||Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA
- Gravestone: V. Wiess; Born July 27, 1845; Died July 30, 1913.
- After their father's death in 1868, Val and Massena Wiess operated the family store at Wiess' Bluff for the next two years.
The grocery stores of V. Wiess, White and Petty, Leon R. Levy, J.M. Walsh, Will S. Hart and Davant and Bulgier make merchandise sales amounting to $180,000. Our two hardware stores of E.L. Wilson and Co. and J.H. Eastham sell upward of $120,000 annually. The pay rolls of our manufacturing businesses foot up to $21,000 monthly.
A deed record of 1879 records that he contracted with John B. Goodhue to build Beaumont's first hotel of note.
The Wiess Hook and Ladder Company was outfitted in 1883 by the Valentine Wiess store and included uniforms, axes, ladders, etc. (email from W.T. Block May 22, 2003).
Certainly the foremost of Beaumont's merchants was Valentine Wiess, of whom the Galveston "Daily News" of Feb. 15, 1888, recorded the following: "One of the most useful men of this part of the state is Mr. V. Wiess. Though self-made, he is a refined, polished, and well-read gentleman. In connection with a large wholesale and retail grocery business, he conducts an extensive banking system and at the same time acts as agent for thirteen of the standard fire insurance companies doing business in Texas. Mr. S. Lederer is at the head of the grocery department. Over Mr. Wiess' bank is the office of the East Texas and Louisiana Lumbermen's Association, of which Mr. Wiess is the president .. "
V. Wiess and Co. operated as a commission business, dealing in cotton, hides, and commodities and wholesaling to the upcountry merchants; a retail grocer as well as complete hardware and dry goods departments; an insurance broker as well as the town's only clearing house for letters of credit and commercial paper. Wiess was also Beaumont's largest real estate owner and tax payer, as well as president of the lumber association and of the Reliance Lumber Company sawmill. In 1889, he became the first president of the First National Bank, which under its newest name, survives as the county's third oldest, continuously operated business. In April, 1889, the "Enterprise" stated: "Beaumont will soon have a national bank with $100,000 paid up capital .... The ice works will begin in full blast next week. ... Beaumont now has 5,000 inhabitants..."
The same decade witnessed the founding of three weekly newspapers, the "Enterprise" in 1880, the "Journal" in 1889, and the "Advertiser" in 1888, but the latter folded after only a few years. Now well over a century old, The Enterprise Company survives as Jefferson County's oldest, continuously-operated business.
Another early firm also worthy of mention was the Beaumont Pasture Company, incorporated in 1887 by William and Perry McFaddin, Valentine Wiess, and W.W. Kyle (the grantees of many deed records of the 1870s was the Beaumont Pasture Company). In the region extending from Spindletop to Sabine Lake, the proprietors operated a 60,000-acre ranch so completely surrounded by water that only nine miles of fence were required to complete the enclosure.
The cattlemen ran a herd of 10,000 head within the ranch confines and owned several thousand heads on another ranch in Greer County. They also introduced the first thoroughbred Brahman and Hereford bulls for upgrading their herds, and owned an orchard of 1,000 orange trees. In 1893, the partners sold about 40,000 acres of that land to the Kansas City Southern Railroad, after which ranching operations moved westward between Keith Lake and High Island. The pasture company gradually became a McFaddin family enterprise. In 1900, the partners extended their business to include rice production, milling, rice canal operation, and oil production and speculation.
By 1880, lumbering was the economic backbone of Beaumont. Valentine Wiess' greatest contribution to Beaumont lumbering probably came with the founding in 1883 of the East Texas and Louisiana Lumbermen's Association, of which group Wiess became president.
During the 1890s, the lumber industry saw its heyday before beginning its ultimate decline and total demise. During that decade before Spindletop, population doubled again and so did the business houses and manufacturing establishments, including the creosote plant, shipyards, furniture-making, car-making, box-manufacturing, a round house and rail shops, and other industries.
William Perry Herring McFaddin (1856-1935) was the son of Rachel (Williams) and William McFaddin. Valentine Wiess, Obadiah Kyle, his father and he formed several companies involving land, rice-milling, canal and irrigation, and oil. Arthur Edward Stilwell bought the town site for Port Arthur from the McFaddin's Beaumont Pasture Company, and it was on land leased from the McFaddins that Anthony F. Lucas drilled the Lucas Gusher, the discovery well of the Spindletop oil field. The McFaddin family was one of the first to bring Brahman cattle into Texas.
Valentine was president of the First National Bank of Beaumont, vice president of the Beatty Oil Company and a director of the Beaumont Board of Trade and Oil Exchange.
A Texas Historical Landmark plaque (#10522) on the First Security National Bank of Beaumont at 505 Orleans Street says "Oldest bank between Houston and the Louisiana border. Organized on April 9, 1889, with capital of $100,000, as First National Bank of Beaumont, it was granted National Bank Charter No. 4017. First president was Valentine Wiess, a lumber man. Directors were W. A. Fletcher, John N. Gilbert, John L. Keith, L. P. Ogden, H. Solinsky, V. Wiess and W. Wiess. Fletcher was vice-president, J. P. Alvey, cashier. During the course of its history, other banks to merge with First National were Gulf National Bank in July 1919 and Texas National Bank in April 1932. The First National Bank and the Security State Bank were consolidated in October 1961 as First Security National Bank, which celebrated in 1964 its diamond anniversary of service to Texans. Activities of this financial institution have been interwoven with the growth of the community from a sawmill town of 3,200 people to a center of commerce and industry. Its corporate annals reflect participation in the great Spindletop oil boom, in the opening of the Sabine-Neches Ship Channel, and in development of the rice industry. Now the largest and oldest bank and financial institution in Golden Triangle area of Texas."
In 1900, he built the first five-story brick building in Beaumont. By 1902, in the backwash of the oil fever, his interests were focusing on oil, and he became an early stockholder in the J.M. Guffey Production Company. He was one of the earliest stockholders and directors of the J. M. Guffey Production Company, which, through various corporate maneuvers, emerged as the Gulf Oil Corporation.
He later teamed up with W.P.H. McFaddin to found one of the many new production companies headquartered in Beaumont -- the McFaddin and Wiess Oil and Gas Company, headquartered at 302 Tevis Street.
He was a major contributor to the First Presbyterian Church and, at the time of his death in 1913, Valentine was the largest taxpayer on Beaumont's tax rolls. His daughter later donated Wiess Park (255 Magnolia Avenue) to the city of Beaumont.
The Beaumont Enterprise, Monday, January 26, 1961 (p. 5-B) has an article by Joe Combs entitled "Steamers". It recounts contributions Valentine Wiess made to the Jasper News-Boy, a paper that began operation in 1865.
Valentine's January 18, 1872 column in the Jasper News-Boy reads: "The steamer J.L. Graham passed up this morning with heavy freight. The steamer Laura is now in heavy coming down -- presume she has a full load. The steamers Tobe Hurt and Era No. 8 arrived at Sabine Pass Saturday, the former with 364 bales of cotton, the latter with 415 bales of cotton, from the Sabine River, River falling here slowly."
His Jan 25, 1872 column says: "The steamer Laura passed up this morning with a light freight. She left all her cotton bales at Sabine Pass. The passengers on board the Laura for Bevilport were Willie Ferguson, Miss Fornie Ferguson, Eugene Renfro and Robert Patten. The warehouses at Bevilport are full of cotton. Capt. Smith will be up in a few days with his Laura, and will clean it out in a few days."
It appears Valentine was either living or visiting at Wiess' Bluff in January of 1872. His older brother, Captain of the J.L. Graham, Napoleon Wiess, would die just two months later of pneumonia.
1900 census, Beaumont, Jefferson cty, TX, 2nd ward
June 6, 1900, 36A, e.d. 32, sheet 10
lines 27-29, 316 Crockett Street, HH, 182/??
Wiess, V, ?, W, M, July 1845, 54, m. 17, TX, ?, ?
" , L.E., wife, W, F, July 1854, 45, m. 17, TN, TN, TN
Ridley, J.E., boarder, W, M, May 1874, 26, single, TX, TX, TX
The Galveston Daily News, p. 3, Aug 8, 1913
WIESS LEAVES NO WILL
P.H. Wiess Petitions That He Be Appointed Administrator.
Special to The News.
Beaumont, Tex., Aug. 7. -- Thus far the relatives of the late V. Wiess have been unable to find a will. It was generally believed that Mr. Wiess made a will some time before his death, but P.H. Wiess appeared before County Judge R.W. Wilson and was appointed temporary administrator for the estate, to serve until an executor is appointed or there is probated a will, "if any shall be found."
The application of Mr. Wiess related that decedant was possessed of large and varied interets which would suffer unless directed by some one appointed by the court. Among these interests were mentioned farms and gins in Goliad and Bee counties, the V. Wiess and Son insurance business here and Mr. Wiess' real estate holdings. The temporary administrator was also authorized to collect whatever amounts are due on life insurance policies held by his father. No estimate of the value of the estate is made in the application.
||Apr 1, 2018 |
||Simon W. Wiess, b. Jan 01, 1800, Lublin, Poland , d. Aug 13, 1868, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA (Age 68 years) |
||Margaret (Elizabeth?) Sturrock, b. Jun 12, 1814, Dundee, Angus, Scotland , d. May 17, 1881, Wiess Bluff, Jasper county, Texas, USA (Age 66 years) |
||Jan 06, 1836
||Natchitoches, Natchitoches parish, Louisiana, USA
- On one of his travels, Simon met a young Scottish girl, Margaret Sturrock, in Natchitoches, Louisiana and fell in love with her. At the time he was a resident of the Mexican state of Texas and serving as a customs agent there. To satisfy the Sturrock family, in December, 1835, Simon Wiess 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 existed in one form or another in all the frontier states and territories during the first half of the nineteenth century. Such a document guaranteed that the bridegroom could adequately support a wife. After overcoming the objections of the Sturrocks, they were married in 1836 and went to Nacogdoches, Texas to live. Not finding suitable opportunities there for investment and trade, in 1838 Simon boarded a keelboat and took his family and the first commercial load of cotton ever transported down the Neches River to Sabine Pass. He sold the cotton in New Orleans and settled his family at Grigsby's Bluff. In 1840, he moved to Grant's Bluff, at the head of a dry river navigation on the Neches river not far from where Village Creek enters it. His general store soon became a fixture among Neches River traders who began calling the location Wiess' Bluff in his honor and that is what it is called to this day. In addition to his store, he built warehouses and a small sawmill at the Jasper County site and took part in extensive land transactions throughout East Texas. He also helped to fund the first dredging of the Neches River channel.
Beginning in January, 1840, the annual board meetings of Sabine City Company required that the principal proprietors, Generals (Sam) Houston and Sidney Sherman and Colonels Philip Sublett and George W. Hockley, attend, either in person or by agent, at Sabine Pass. The Neches River was their main travel artery to that point and Wiess Bluff was a favorite stopover. (excerpt: "From Cotton Bales to Black Gold")
Simon and Margaret built their home at Wiess' Bluff in the fall of 1858 and by 1860 Simon had an estate valued at $30,000. Their home at Wiess' Bluff was occupied by the family well into the twentieth century but it is presently owned by J.C. Chance of Beaumont. Miss Florence Stratton, in 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, with a porch 75 feet long, extending its length. A bannister railing is attached by hooks to the gallery, so that it may be let down and used as a shelf for airing mattresses, blankets and quilts. At one end and entirely separate except for a covered passage, are the dining room and kitchen."
" The house has six large rooms, built on either side of a great hall, in addition to kitchen, dining room and two store rooms. A den flanked with stuffed animals that were killed at the Bluff is an interesting feature; then, too, there is the old wooden bucket with cover and gourd, that is kept filled with water from one of the three cisterns on the place that contains cooler water than the others."
" Old-fashioned heavy beds, with testers, marbletopped tables, a grandfather’s clock, walnut highboys, tall glass candle shades to keep the wind from blowing out the lights, are some of the prize possessions of this home."
" The flower garden, quaint and orderly, has been retained practically as it was originally planned. All the walks are borderd by yellow stone quart bottles that came from abroad, and massive liveoak trees shade the yard. Pink crepe myrtle, red roses, gladioli and bachelor button flaunt their loveliness in the old-fashioned garden that radiates an air of romance of bygone days."
From the diary of his friend and contemporary, Adolphus Sterne (McDonald, 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 to have it recorded in Liberty County, the Original County in which said Land was Originally Located. I send previously a Certified Copy of my Headright Title to Jasper thinking it in that County. I never heard any thing from it since I send it down & am afraid some rascality has been done by someone, at least my not hearing of my Title makes me believe so at least."
On page 203:
Friday, the 22nd, 1844 "- the western mail arrived for the first time under the new contract - brought several letters etc. one for myself from the County Clerk of Liberty County telling me he did not receive my Deed for my head right for record, so that the old scamp Weiss has not given my Deed for my head right to be recorded as agreed upon - it serves me right I knew he is a Damned Scamp and ought not to have trusted him."
On page 231:
Monday, the 28th, 1851 "Translated a deed for Simon Weiss - Lodge met, was up till Midnight."
Census data for the Wiess families:
1850 census, Jasper county, enumerated 30, Sept., 1850, dwelling 76, family 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; Texas
WIESS, Mary E.; 19; F, W, Texas (this is Mary E. Herring, Valentine's wife)
WIESS, Massena, 21, M, W, Dry Goods Merchant, Texas
WIESS, Elizabeth E., F, W, 19, F, W, Texas (this is Elvira Elizabeth Janes, Massena's wife)
WIESS, Ann E., 18, F, B, Domestic Servant, Texas
Burks, James, 18, M, W, Farm Laborer; South Carolina
Two homesteads away is the family of Joseph WIESS, born North Carolina.
. . . who is this family ? They are listed as mulatto.
... lines 16-22; dwelling/family 217/217
WIESS, Joseph, 27, M, M, North Carolina
WIESS, Catherine, 21, F, M, Texas
WIESS, Matilda, 6, F, M, Texas
WIESS, Laura, 5, F, M, Texas
WIESS, Milton, 4, M, M, Texas
WIESS, Kittie (?), 2/12, F, M, Texas
WIESS, Julius, 2/12, M, M, Texas
And, three more households down, is Simon and Margaret's eldest son, Napoleon:
... lines 29-34; dwelling/family
WIESS, Napoleon, 31, M, W, Steamboat Captain, $400, $2000, Texas
WIESS, Cynthia, 24, F, W, Keeping House, Arkansas
WIESS, William S., 8, M, W, Texas
WIESS, Edward S., 6, M, W, Texas
WIESS, Martha A. 4, F, W, Texas
WIESS, Margaret, 2, F, W, Texas
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 Amy Sims circa 1880, but she is not living with them if they're married at 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, Scotland
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, GA
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 1851, and after 1860, by J. J. Herring and Company, a partnership which also included Otto and Charles H. Ruff.
Wiess's Bluff, also known as Wiess Bluff Community, is on Farm Road 1131 fifteen miles north of Beaumont in the extreme southwestern corner of Jasper County. The site, on the east bank of the Neches River, was known as Grant's Bluff before Simon Wiess opened a general store there in January 1840. Although Wiess's Bluff was a failure as a town site, it proved a tremendous business success for the Wiess store. At the head of low-water navigation on the Neches River and at the southern terminus of the Jasper-Wiess's Bluff road, the location drew most of the Neches River valley trade during the mid-nineteenth century. Steamboats plying the Neches and farmers throughout the area used the warehouses and store built by Wiess for their imported goods and cotton exports. During the Civil War, the Confederacy made Wiess's Bluff a depot for military stores and supplies.
Wiess, Texas was a switch and flag stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad seven miles southeast of Kountze in Hardin County. It was named by the Sabine and East Texas Railroad (which was co-founded by Simon Wiess) in 1880 for Mark, Valentine and William Wiess whose Reliance Lumber Company loaded logs at the point. The Reliance Mill was once the largest yellow pine lumber mill in the world. Scott Sturrock sturrock-at-marinemwr.or.jp> wrote "Simon Weiss and Wm. Sturrock at one time owned the Old Stone Fort in Nacogdoches which is now a state historical site".
During an interview with Arthur Coffin of Wiess Bluff in 1973, historian W.T. Block was informed that Sam Houston spent the night on two occasions at the old Simon Wiess home there, Wiess Bluff being an old steamboat stop on the Neches River, sixteen miles north of Beaumont. Wiess had known Houston in Nacogdoches as early as 1835. Coffin's grandmother, Mrs. Pauline Wiess Coffin, was born in Nacogdoches in 1837, but she had lived in the old Wiess home for ninety years, from 1840 until 1930. She could remember General Houston from days when she was a little girl. However, the times that he visited there must have been subsequent to 1846. Steamboat passenger service on the Neches did not begin until 1846, the year that the "Angelina" made its maiden voyage from Pattonia, Nacogdoches County, to Sabine Pass. Occasionally, deep-sea schooners may have traveled as far inland as Wiess Bluff, but generally wind velocity sufficient to fill schooner sails ended whenever the timberline was reached.
As early as March 25, 1861, when Jasper county's "Red Star Guard Rifles of Texas" organized at Wiess Bluff, the four oldest Wiess sons enlisted. Napoleon was elected first lieutenant; Mark was elected third corporal; William Wiess was appointed as secretary, to conform to the militia's company's constitution; and Valentine Wiess became drummer. Then on September 20, 1861, Mark and William Wiess, followed by Napoleon on July 3, 1862, and then Valentine, enlisted in Captain O.M. Marsh's cavalry Company A, Spaight's Battalion, at Sabine.
Beginning in May, 1863, the Wiess brothers (with the exception of Massena, who was only 13) took part in an 8-months campaign in Louisiana, and helped Confederate General Taylor's army to stem Union General Nathaniel Banks's first attempt to invade Texas. At its high water mark, Taylor's Atchafalaya River drive carried as far inland as Opelousas, Louisiana, before Banks chose to retreat.
Five of Colonel Ashley Spaight's companies fought in this campaign, although the Wiess brothers' company was detached, fighting as infantry, to Colonel George W. Baylor's Second Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade.
The brothers fought at a number of Louisiana battles, particularly the Battles of Calcasieu Pass, Fordoche Bayou, and Bayou Bourbeau. A collection of their civil war letters is at the Rosenberg Library of Galveston.
For an example of one of those letters see the letter from Napoleon Wiess to his mother written shortly after the Battle of Bayou Bourbeau (or Boggy Creek), fought on November 3, 1863, seven miles from Opelousas, Louisiana (see in notes on Napoleon Wiess).
Wiess' Bluff served the Confederacy as a military depot, soldiers being stationed there and Confederate military goods being stored there.
Simon Wiess also left one of the best descriptions of Wiess' Bluff in an article written for the Texas Almanac in 1859, a part of which is quoted as follows:
"Wiess Bluff is situated on the Neches River, in Jasper county, fifty miles below the town of Jasper, and sixteen miles above the town of Beaumont; it is at the head of tide water. I have resided here with my family for nearly nineteen years. I believe this to be a very healthy section of the country -- so much so, that we have never had occasion to employ a physician. This is a timbered country, and consists of a considerable variety, but in the immediate neighborhood, it is mostly pine and cypress. This soil is thin, but it rests on a good clay foundation and most of it is susceptible to cultivation; the farms are generally small in the immediate neighborhood, but stock-raising is the principal occupation of the inhabitants . . .
When I first settled this place in 1839, the shipment of cotton that year consisted of fourteen or sixteen bales, but it has been increasing steadily until now; as near as I can judge of the quantity that went down (Neches River) last fall and this spring, it cannot be short of 7,000 bales, besides hides, peltries, tobacco, and lumber . . ."
The Texas Historical marker (# 10467) for Wiess' Bluff reads: "Wiess Bluff; End of tidewater navigation of Neches River; called Grant's Bluff in 1840, when Niles f. smith laid out town and Simon Wiess (1800-68) built wharf and warehouses to ship area products downriver. Post office, established in 1847 at Pattillo's, in Jefferson County, was moved here July 21, 1853. Area flourished about 1885, when J. G. Smyth & Co. built tram roads into forest and began to cut timber. Beaumont Lumber Co. bought out Smyth in 1888. As good timberland dwindled after 1900, local population declined. The Wiess Bluff Post Office closed Sept. 15, 1908." It is located 394910E 3347876W about 6.5 mi. south of Evadale on FM 1131.
The settlement called Pinetucky was also associated with the Wiess family. The Texas Historical marker (# ) reads: "Pinetucky; Name originally applied to widely scattered settlement astride Wiess Bluff-Jasper Road. First settlers, Alexander and Sherod Wright, came into area about 1824. Magnolia Springs Post Office opened at this site in 1850; within a few 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. Texas Tram & Lumber Co. had extensive logging operation in area in 1880s-90s. Decline began with arrival of the railroad in Kirbyville, 1895. Post office was moved to present site in 1905." It can be found by going from 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 the family business with the help of her younger sons Valentine and Massena. In the 1870 census, both were listed as dry goods merchants, residing at Wiess' Bluff.
A Joseph Wiess family with five children lived at Wiess' Bluff in 1870, but this family's origins in North Carolina suggest that no kinship was involved.
Of his sons, Napoleon died at 33 of pneumonia. The other sons all became quite wealthy in their own rights, first in lumber and then in oil. Mark was an inventor and lumberman. William was one of the first investors in the Texas Oil Company (Texaco) and his son, Harry Carrothers Wiess, was a founder and president of Humble Oil Company. Valentine became a merchant and banker and, at the time of his death in 1913, was the largest taxpayer on Beaumont's tax rolls. Valentine's daughter later donated Wiess Park to the city of Beaumont. Massena was a businessman in Round Rock, 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 to 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. Silsbee of Boston, Massachusetts; James Irvine of New York City; John H. Kirby of Houston; and William A. Fletcher, William Wiess, Mark Wiess, W. S. Davidson, William W. Wilson, and W.C. Averill, all of Jefferson County, with the principal place of business in Beaumont.
The McFaddin-Wiess-Kyle rice canal was constructed in 1900. The Beaumont Pasture company was created March 14 1878, the members being William McFaddin, C.C. Caswell, O.M. Kyle, Valentine Wiess, and Samuel Lee. In 1901, the J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company was organized with the backers being Andrew and Richard Mellon, W.P.H. McFaddin, Valentine Wiess, Robert and Hal W. Gree, and J.C. Campbell. They were stockholders as well.
Wiess Bluff Post Office -- Postmasters (http://www.rootsweb.com/~txpost/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 their wives' uncle, William McFaddin, and with Dr. Obadiah Kyle (their wives' brother-in-law), known as the Beaumont Pasture Company, whose purpose was to purchase land and cattle in South Jefferson county. Although William Wiess left it, the partnership continued on as McFaddin, Wiess, Kyle Land and Trust Company (upon which land the Spindletop oil gusher blew in, in 1901) and later as McFaddin, Wiess, Kyle Rice Milling Company.
The heyday of Beaumont's steam sawmilling epoch can be said to date from December 12, 1878, when the Reliance Lumber Company officially organized, and full control of which passed to the Wiess brothers.
Following the deaths of Dr. Kyle in 1879 and William McFaddin in 1898, ownership in these firms was transferred to their respective sons, W. W. Kyle and W. P. H. McFaddin. The marriage of Massena Wiess' daughter Clyde, of Luling, in March, 1899 to Obadiah's son, W. W. Kyle, was a social event of that season.
The Wiess brothers founded the Magnolia Cemetery at Beaumont, where many of the family members are buried.
SPINDLETOP: An Austrian born mining engineer, Captain Anthony F. Lucas, had heard of Spindletop Hill while developing salt mines in Louisiana. After traveling to Beaumont he became convinced that there was oil at Spindletop and leased land from the Gladys Company in 1899. When his first attempt failed, Lucas was ready to quit until his wife urged him to seek outside financing and try again. Lucas went to the famous Pittsburgh wildcatting team of James Guffey and John Galey. They were interested in Lucas' prospects and approached Andrew Mellon for money to continue the operations. Guffey and Galey hired the Hamill Brothers of Corsicana, Texas, the best rotary drillers available. Al and Curt Hamill arrived in Beaumont and began drilling on the adjoining McFaddin-Wiess & Kyle tract of land in October of 1900. In spite of tremendous difficulties they reached 1,000 feet by Christmas. After returning from the holidays they encountered new problems. Upon reaching solid rock their drill lodged in a crevice at 1,060 feet. At approximately 10: 30 A.M. on January 10, 1901, while attempting to free their drill from the crevice, the famous Lucas Gusher blew. Oil sprayed over 100 feet above the derrick for nine days until the well was capped. It was the greatest oil well ever seen. Although Lucas estimated its flow at 6,000 barrels per day it was actually flowing 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. No longer was Pattilo Higgins laughingly called the "Millionaire." Practically overnight thousands of sightseers, speculators, promoters, fortune seekers and "boomers" poured into the small town as news of the discovery spread. By 1902, 285 active wells were operating on Spindletop Hill. Over 600 oil companies had been chartered. Although most vanished overnight some, such as the Texas company (Texaco), J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company (Gulf), Magnolia Petroleum Company (Mobil) and Sun Oil Company went on to become giants in the industry. The Lucas Gusher marked the beginning of a new age for the world - the Petroleum Age. Although Pennsylvania was the location of the first commercial oil well and Russia could claim the first gushers, the vast quantities of oil discovered at Spindletop first made possible the use of oil as an inexpensive, lightweight and efficient fuel to propel the world into the twentieth century.
||Mary Elizabeth Herring, b. Jun 25, 1851, d. Sep 08, 1879 (Age 28 years) |
||Nov 23, 1868
|+||1. Percy Herring Wiess, b. Aug 18, 1870, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA , d. Mar 31, 1926, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA (Age 55 years)|
| ||2. Mary Jessie Wiess, b. Dec 23, 1874, d. Nov 30, 1880 (Age 5 years)|
| ||3. Ruth Wiess, b. Nov 1878, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA , d. Jul 30, 1967, Marlin, Falls county, Texas, USA (Age ~ 88 years)|
||Laura Ellen McCampbell, b. Jul 08, 1854, Roane county, Tennessee, USA , d. Mar 24, 1942, San Antonio, Bexar county, Texas, USA (Age 87 years) |
||Jul 13, 1883
||Refugio, Texas, USA
- [S883] The McCampbell Family in America, Vol. 1.
- [S6] Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, J.H. Brown.
- [S2127] Beaumont's Fabulous Wiess Brothers: Business Leaders of early Beaumont, http://hans.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/wiess.htm.
- [S2128] A Brief History of Wiess Bluff, Texas, http://hans.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/wiess_bluff.htm.
- [S2131] Early Beaumont Jewish Community 3, http://hans.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/jewishcommunity/page3.htm.
- [S2132] Two area cities in late 1800s fought major fires together, http://hans.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/fires.htm.
- [S577] Handbook of Texas OnLine, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/fmc47.html.
- [S577] Handbook of Texas OnLine, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/fmc48.html.
- [S4251] 1850 US federal census, 1850 census, TX, Jasper, Sept. 30, 1850, HH 76/77, p. 225, roll M432-912.
- [S136] 1860 US federal census, 1860 census, TX, Jasper, Newton P.O., p 17, (M653-1298, p 393), July 28.
- [S14] 1870 US federal census, 1870 census, TX, Jasper, sub 23, p 29; 497.
- [S75] From Cotton Bales to Black Gold.