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Beginnings of Beaumont

a id="456792">JEFFERSON county, which included the present Orange county and part of Hardin county, was in the period of its first settlement a part of the Lorenza de Zavalla colony under the government of the State of Coahuila and Texas, with headquarters at Nacogdoches, and was first called Liberty county. The contract between de Zavalla and the state of Coahuila and Texas was made in 1829. From Nacogdoches all business was transacted and there were the officers of the Mexican government through whom the land grants were made. Map of early Beaumont

The section of the colony which forms the present Jefferson county had scattered settlers prior to 1834. But the first application for any of the land in the present town site of Beaumont was made by Noah Tevis on December 13, 1834, though Tevis with his family had lived here prior to that date as old records show. In many instances colonists lived for a number of years on the land before they possessed any section of it through grant of the government. One petition on record shows an application made in 1829 for land in the county, but not until 1835 was the land surveyed and the title of possession given by the government.

On January 16, 1835, one-half a league of land, approximately 2214 acres, was granted by the government of the state of Coahuila and Texas to Noah Tevis, the grant lying along the Neches river front. The settlement was then called Tevis Bluff, and the Neches river often called the Snow or White river.

An interesting insight into the legal proceedings necessary to obtaining land from the government is afforded by reading the petition and grant to Noah Tevis, as recorded in the General Land Office.

PETITION *

* Punctuation and capitalization as in original petition.

"To the Special Commissioner of His Excellency Lorenza de Zavalla's colony, Noah Tevis, a Native of the United States of the North, with due respect; would appear before you and says: That induced by the liberal provisions of the colonization laws of this State, I have come with my family, composed of my wife and seven children, to settle in it; if in view of the accompanying certificate you deem it proper to admit me as a colonist of said Colony, granting me the quantity of land to which I am entitled in the vacant Territory of the same. Therefore I request you to do as aforesaid, wherein I shall receive justice and favor.

Nacogdoches, December 13, 1834."

TITLE OF POSSESSION

"I, Citizen George Antonio Nixon, Special Commissioner of the Supreme Government of the State of Coahuila and Texas, for distributing lands, giving possession thereof, and issuing titles to the Colonists under the Colonization Contract of his Excellency Lorenza do Zavalla: Whereas, Noah Tevis has been admitted as Colonist under the Colonization Contract entered into by His Excellency Lorenza de Zavalla with the Supreme Government of the State on the 12th day of March, 1829. The said Noah Tevis fully proved that he is married, his family consisting of eight persons, and the qualifications required by the Colonization law of March 1825, being founded in him, in conformity to said law, and to the instructions by which I am governed, in the name of the State, I grant and transfer unto the said Noah Tevis, and put him in real personal possession of one-half a league of land, it being all vacant land found in the locality where he has his house and field on the West bank of the river Neches, the boundaries whereof are described on the map and field notes returned by the Surveyor, Citizen Arthur Henrie . . . Therefore exercising the powers in me vested by the proper law, and subsequent instructions, I issue the present title and order that a testimonio of it be transcribed, and be delivered to the party interested, so that he may own and enjoy the tract of land.

Given in the town of Nacogdoches on the 16th day of the month of January, 1835. Signed by me with two assisting witnesses according to law.

GEORGE ANTO NIXON,

Assisting: Joseph Carrire Commissioner."
Assisting: Eligion Albarado
State of Texas.

The new settlers were to pay for each league of grazing lands thirty dollars, and for each labor (117) acres, three and one-half dollars, but they had six years to pay same, in three installments, the first to he paid in four years, the second in five years, and the third in six years from the date of settlement.

The original town of Beaumont was formed of land that was in the Tevis grant, but included in the present city limits of Beaumont is land granted by the Mexican government to David Brown, January 1835; J. W. Bullock, January 1835; James Drake, July 1835; and patent land rights by the Republic and state of Texas to Absolom Williams, November 1841; to James McFaddin in July, 1845; to William McFaddin in July, 1845; to D. J. O. Millard, in July, 1851; to W. P. H. McFaddin, March, 1905.

In September, 1835, Noah Tevis sold to Henry Millard fifty acres of his original grant for a consideration of $500. Noah Tevis died December 6, 1835, less than a year after the land was granted to him, and left his estate to the management of his widow, Nancy Tevis, who in 1837 sold to Joseph Grigsby fifty acres of land.

The town of Beaumont was laid off in July, 1837, and the boundary lines established in an agreement between Nancy Tevis, and heirs of Noah Tevis, the Joseph P. Pulsifer company, which was composed of Henry Millard, Joseph Pulsifer and Thomas P. Holing; and Joseph Grigsby. The original plot included an acreage of two hundred acres, all within the original Tevis grant, but one hundred acres of which now belonged to the Pulsifer company; fifty acres to Nancy Tevis and fifty acres to Joseph Grigsby. The record of this mutual agreement into a company of the owners of the land clearly defines the boundaries and the accompanying map shows the original town site, with the streets as named in the deed of partition.

In 1839 the members of the town site company -- Nancy Tevis, Joseph Grigsby and the Pulsifer company, divided the property in the boundary lines of the town, designating and recording it in the deed of partition, the personal property of each of the three members. Certain tracts of land not included in the private ownership were then set aside for "public roads and commons", the partition deed stating: "And the said parties of the three parts do hereby covenant and agree that all streets, commons, lots of ground within the limits of the said town of Beaumont not hereinbefore enumerated and described as belonging to the aforesaid parties of the three parts or other persons or individuals in severalty be and the same are hereby given, granted, released and forever quitclaimed into the corporation of the town of Beaumont, and their successors in office forever for the purposes of said streets, highways, and commons of said town and shall be forever kept open for the free use of the citizens thereof." This deed is signed by Nancy Hutchinson, G. W. Tevis, Gilbert Stephenson, Joseph Pulsifer, Thomas P. Huling, Henry Millard and Joseph Grigsby.

These lots or commons as designated in the earliest maps of the town site, one of which was prepared for Millard, and one for Huling, include the present court house property, Keith park, Millard school grounds, the high school campus, and the city hall site.

A typical family of that period, the pioneers that laid out the town of Beaumont, was the Noah Tevis family, composed of Mr. and Mrs. Tevis and their eight children, Andrew Jackson, George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Noah, Roland; Mary Tevis who married Gilbert Stephenson; Delilah who married Pierre Lemane, and Lovesa who married Daniel Cheshire.

Where Noah Tevis lived

Where Noah Tevis lived.

On September 9, 1838, Nancy Tevis, widow of Noah Tevis, married Joseph Hutchinson, and "grandma Nancy Hutchinson" left an indelible impress on the minds of the pioneers, a number of whom still recall her, her home and her fine spirit of service to the community. She died in 1863, dividing her property equally among her children with the following special clauses: "I give and devise to my son, Andrew J. Tevis, my negro man Abe; I give and de vise to my granddaughter, Elizabeth Tevis, daughter of Noah Tevis, my negro girl Betsy; I give and devise to my daughter, Polly Stephenson, my mare, buggy, and also feather bed and the bedding belonging to the same, also my tin safe."

An index to the names of the early settlers of the county is shown in the marriage records of the county for the first five years of its settlement, from 1837 to 1842, as reproduced below:

1837

  • Gilbert Stephenson to Mary Tevis.
  • James Drake to Nancy Burton.

1838

  • Jesse Dyson to Hester Perkins.
  • Abner Ashworth to Rosalee Collier.
  • James Stevenson to Caroline Lewis.
  • William Ashworth to Delilah Gallier.
  • Joseph Dyches to Elizabeth Lewis.
  • David McFadyan to Jerusha Dyches.
  • George W. Tevis to Jane Williams.
  • Hiriam Bunch to Eliza Perkins.
  • David Cole to Sydney L. Yocum.
  • William McFadyan to Rachael Williams.
  • Thomas H. Brenan to Jane McFeren.
  • Duncan St. Clair to Jemina Jett.
  • Absolom Jett to Polly Arthur.
  • Peyton Bland to Susan Harmon.
  • Benjamin Johnson to Rachael Garner.
  • Joseph Hutchinson to Mrs. Nancy Tevis.
  • George Clark to Mrs. Filetha Millhamm.
  • James Simmons to Hannah Richie.
  • M. B. Littlefield to Sarah Bolinger.
  • Silas Palmer to Isabel Votaw.
  • Stephen Jackson to Susan Cheat.
  • James Waitea to Elizabeth Pevito.
  • Jack Garner to Matilda Hays.

1839

  • Joel Lewis to Roda Williams.
  • Augusta W. Archer to Matilda Hays.
  • Baptist Edmond to Lavira Clark.
  • Francis Gallier to Mary Johnson.
  • David Garner to Matilda Hampshire.
  • Elijah Allen to Mary Hart.
  • Francis Zillener to Syrenea Myers.

1840

  • David E. Lawhorn to Nancy Carr.
  • William Ashworth to Mary Bunch.
  • John A. Williams to Margaretta Jane Dugat.
  • George Bryan to Nancy Millard.
  • Hezekiah Williams to Elizabeth Anderson.
  • Cyrus Thompson to Mrs. Melina Whittington.
  • Elias Stone to Mary Blackman.
  • John Turner to Amanda Stephenson.
  • S. H. Hough to Augustine Smith.
  • Thomas A. Stanwood to Mrs. Margaretta Jane Williams.
  • Warren Goodin to Miss Martha B. Patillo.
  • John M. Dirusia to Miss Tabitha McDougold.

1841

  • William D. Thomason to Lydia Clark.
  • S. Hopmore Millard to Miss Mary Bryan.
  • Daniel Sinclair to Miss Mary Ann Moore.
  • James Chesher, Jr. to Martha Hickman.
  • Nathan Bonner to Frances Ann Griffin.
  • Louis Bouitton to Mrs. Tabitha M. Baker.
  • L. J. Yeates to Hester Ann F. Patillo.
  • Monson Boews to Catherine Blackman.

(Spelling as found in records.)

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