find property of Lynch & Boulware
	map of 1870 and 1880 census zones
	on north bank of Spring Creek below Field's Store
find news article alleging financial improprieties of J.W.J. Cloud
 - impugning justice of the peace J.W.J. Cloud
 - was it the Advance Guard ?
find newspaper article impugning Sheriff McDade

resolve question of Eberly's relation to George Lynch

Savanah Duck Blasingame's parents
Joe Blasingame's trial & outcome
find out why Jos. Farr shot B.B. Lee

was Burwell B. Lee an outlaw?
Burwell B. Lee (1818-1868)

find newspaper article I sent Cecil with picture of J.W.J. Cloud

rail lines in Texas
Austin County:
Early settlers were somewhat shielded from the depredations of fierce plains tribes such as the Comanches and Apaches by the settlements on the Colorado River to the west and the buffering presence of the Tonkawas to the north. As early as 1823 Stephen F. Austin began organizing a militia with which to defend the frontiers of his colony, and the Austin County area contributed many volunteers for the Indian campaigns. Punitive expeditions were mounted against the Tonkawas in 1823, the Karankawas in 1823 and 1824, and the Wacos in 1829. To at least one such campaign in the early 1820s Jared E. Groce, a wealthy planter, contributed thirty of his own armed and mounted slaves. The success of these operations seems to have sharply curtailed Indian depredations in the Austin County vicinity, and by 1836 they had virtually ceased; until after the Texas Revolution, however, inhabitants of more exposed settlements to the west continued to abandon their homes periodically and take refuge at San Felipe. The theft of a few horses from homesteads along Mill Creek in 1839 marked the last Indian raid within the bounds of present Austin County.
American settlement in the area began in the early 1820s with the founding of Stephen F. Austin's first colony. By November 1821, just ten months after the Spanish government's acceptance of Moses Austin's colonization application, four families had encamped on the west bank of the lower Brazos. The next month saw the arrival of several additional parties of colonists, and settlement proceeded rapidly. In the fall of 1823 Stephen F. Austin and the Baron de Bastrop chose a spot on the west bank of the Brazos at the Atascosito Crossing, now in southeastern Austin County, to be the site of the unofficial capital of the colony, San Felipe de Austin. The settlement quickly became the political, economic, and social center of the colony.
These early settlers were attracted to the well-timbered, rich, alluvial bottomlands of the Brazos and other major streams; the especially prized tracts combined woodland with prairie. Most of the immigrants came from Southern states, and many brought slaves. By the late 1820s these more prosperous settlers had begun to establish cotton plantations, emulating the example of Jared Groce, who settled with some ninety slaves on the east bank of the Brazos above the site of San Felipe and in 1822 raised what was probably the first cotton crop in Texas. In 1834 more than one-third of the 1,000 inhabitants of the future county were African Americans.
From 1824 to 1837 San Felipe was the only town in Austin County. By the early 1850s, however, Industry, Travis, Cat Spring, Sempronius, Millheim, and New Ulm had appeared. Many communities were simply open clusters of farmsteads with a post office and general store in the center of the settlement.
the chief mode of commercial transportation continued to be the ox wagon, as a brisk trade developed between Austin County and the burgeoning town of Houston. Finally, in the late 1850s, the first railroad arrived in the area, as the Houston and Texas Central extended its main line northward through Hockley to reach the new town of Hempstead, in the eastern district of the county east of the Brazos, in June 1858.
Many residents fought conscription into the Civil War (Confederacy) and, in 1863, martial law was declared in Austin, Colorado, and Fayette counties to suppress the uprising.
.... the end of the fighting in the spring of 1865 did not bring the expected end to strife; Reconstruction in Austin County, as in much of the rest of Texas, was violent and chaotic. The war years had brought another expansion of the county's Black population, as planter refugees from the lower South flocked into the area seeking protection for their slave property. ....  The war had scarcely ended before the federal government moved to garrison Austin County. From August 26 to October 30, 1865, Hempstead was occupied by elements of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry and several other units under the command of Maj. Gen. George A. Custer. After Custer went to Austin, Hempstead was garrisoned for a time by a small detachment of the Thirty-sixth Colored Infantry. Two White companies of the Seventeenth United States Infantry were posted in Hempstead from 1867 to 1870.
Capt. George Lancaster, head of the local Freedmen's Bureau office in 1867, declared that racial animosities in the area were so intense that only a spark was needed to set off an explosion. Violent confrontations between federal soldiers and local residents were common throughout the Union occupation. The numerous reports in the bureau records of violent crimes committed against Blacks by Whites portray a campaign of intimidation conducted against the freedmen; with Republicans and Democrats struggling for control of the county's Black vote, most if not all of these crimes were politically motivated. The appearance of the Republican-sponsored Union League in the county in early 1867 outraged White Democrats, who responded by forming a Klan-like organization. The violence was most intense in the eastern district of the county, where the Black population was concentrated; there the whipping, shooting, and even lynching of Blacks became almost routine; few culprits were ever brought to justice. But Blacks were not the only targets of White wrath. In March 1867 two soldiers were shot to death for what subassistant commissioner Lancaster termed the "crime" of wearing the federal uniform, "in the eyes of these White desperadoes a sufficient cause for murder." In the spring of 1869 a White Republican newspaper editor from Houston, visiting Hempstead to address a Black audience, was accosted by a mob and run out of town. Interracial altercations characterized as riots broke out on at least two occasions in the eastern district near Hempstead in 1868. Yet with federal troops on hand to safeguard freedmen's rights, a number of Blacks in Austin County were elected to positions in local government during Reconstruction. In the gubernatorial election of 1869 Black voters helped provide victory in the county for Radical Republican Edmund J. Davis. By 1873, however, as previously disfranchised Confederate sympathizers recovered their political rights, the Democrats had regained control of the county's electoral machinery; thoroughly intimidated, few Blacks risked casting a ballot. The smashing Democratic victory that resulted signaled the end of Reconstruction and the permanent eclipse of Republican power in the county. 1

the current county seat of Austin County.
In 1846 voters decided to replace San Felipe as county seat with a new community near the geographic center of the county.
A post office was opened in 1849, and a temporary log courthouse was erected around the same time. In 1850 this courthouse was replaced by a larger structure in the central square.
The town grew slowly until the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad reached it in the winter of 1879–80. In four months the population increased from 300 to 522. Brick structures replaced wooden ones, and opulent Victorian homes were erected. Bellville became a transporting point for the region's cotton crop. In 1898, at the peak of the county's cotton boom, 8,626 bales of cotton were shipped from the town. By 1884 Bellville had two churches, two hotels, a bakery, a lumberyard, three saloons, twelve general stores, a public school, and two weekly newspapers, the Bellville Standard and the Austin County Times. 2 

During the Civil War the town served as a Confederate supply and manufacturing center. Hempstead was the site of a Confederate military hospital; three Confederate camps were located in its vicinity. Despite occupation of the town by federal troops during Reconstruction and recurring yellow fever epidemics, Hempstead prospered after the Civil War. Availability of transportation facilities and the surrounding area's large cotton production facilitated growth of textile manufacturing and cotton processing industries. Merchandising and processing grew rapidly between 1867 and the 1880s. The town prospered as a transportation center and became Waller county seat in May 1873. Hempstead's commercial, manufacturing, and processing sectors suffered large financial losses from fires between 1872 and 1876.
Violent settlement of disputes, often fueled by political and social disagreements involving the Ku Klux Klan, Radical Republicans, Greenbackers, Populists, and prohibitionists (see GREENBACK PARTY, PEOPLE'S PARTY, and PROHIBITION), brought Hempstead the nickname "Six-Shooter Junction" through the early twentieth century. Radical Republicans held a state convention at Hempstead in May 1875 and a "black and tan" convention in June 1875. Hempstead blacks were politically active before disenfranchisement. They established Methodist and Baptist churches by 1891 and a Lone Star Masonic lodge in 1893. The Grange established a store in the town in 1874. Hempstead's relatively large Jewish community provided a significant stimulus to the town's economy from its founding through the early twentieth century. One of the earliest synagogues in Texas outside of larger population centers was established at Hempstead in the 1870s. Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopalian churches were constructed there around the time of the Civil War. The first of many short-lived newspapers, the Hempstead Courier, began publication in June 1859. In 1991 Hempstead had a weekly newspaper, the Waller County News-Citizen, which was first published as the Hempstead Weekly News in October 1891. 3

passage across Brazos river -- fords, ferries and bridges

  • Brazos River Ferries -- Hill County when the first settlers arrived in the area, the river teemed with fish and turkey and buffalo roamed the prairie. It was a good location to begin their new lives in. As settlements grew along the banks of the river, a need arose for an easier way to be able to cross the river. Sometime around 1865, a ferry was built at Kimball Bend. It was similar to ferries that were built in ancient Egypt, with a barrier cable high above the stream. The orientation of the wheel could be change to affect the speed and direction of travel. The ferry remained at Kimball until a bridge was built around 1910.
    find -- the Hill-Bosque County Bridge
  • Moseley's Ferry
  • Brazos River Streamgage Levels & Water Data
    Maximum discharge along the river was observed at the Brazos Rv At San Felipe with a streamflow rate of 1,260 cfs. This is also the deepest point on the Brazos River, with a gauge stage of 93.55 ft.
    Life On The Brazos River
  • San Felipe Ferry
  • Inside the vault Ferries: The lifeline to early Columbia

    The selection of the location for Columbia was not an accident. Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, selected the area for colonization in 1821 because of its access to the Gulf and its rich, river-fed bottomlands. He recognized the potential of the Brazos River as an incoming source of transportation for immigrants and supplies to the new colony and as a means by which its crops could be ferried to market.

    Although the Brazos and San Bernard rivers served as the throughfare for people and commerce, they also represented a natural barricade. In the early days of Austin’s colony and of the Republic, there were no bridges. To get goods to market, or simply to travel, these rivers had to be crossed. Before modern bridges were constructed to span Texas rivers, ferries were maintained at most points where roads crossed streams or rivers that were not fordable. (Anonymous, “Ferries,” Handbook of Texas Online). These ferries represented a lifeline for the people and the growth of the newly forming Texas settlement and later the Republic.

    These river crossings were of vital importance and had to be maintained. Austin understood the importance of these ferries and established regulations to govern them. From the beginning, ferries were subject to regulation by the communities they served, and, as early as July 1824, Austin and Baron de Bastrop issued a license to John McFarlan, giving him the exclusive privilege of operating a ferry at San Felipe de Austin, but stipulating certain duties he must fulfill to retain the charter. (“Ferries,” Handbook of Texas).

    If the Brazos River and the river port of Bell’s Landing represented the heart of the early economy, then the ferries were the connecting veins and arteries. The most prevalent type of ferry was constructed to take a cart or wagon across. Most ferries also had a cable or rope system fastened to each riverbank to act as guide across.

  • Columbia Historical Museum
  • Brazos Point Bridge – lifeline of commerce

    The Brazos, the state’s longest river, lay across the heartland of Texas, a good 800 miles from its mouth near Velasco, on the Gulf, to its beginnings in eastern New Mexico. In 1866, there was not a single bridge across it, from one end to the other. Ferries were doing their best to handle the rising tide of western traffic, but there were times of flood and high water, when no boat could cross for days, even weeks.

    The first bridge to be built across the Brazos River was the Waco Suspension Bridge, which was opened to traffic Jan. 6, 1870.

  • John Clark Cloud Sr. died 1868 and is buried in a pasture across the Brazos river from the Sandy Creek Cemetery where the rest of his family is buried. Apparently the river was uncrossable when he died and was buried on the spot with headstone added later.



Files in this folder


  1. Austin County, Texas Charles Christopher Jackson, Handbook of Texas Online.
  2. Bellville, Texas Christopher Long, Handbook of Texas Online.
  3. Hempstead, Texas Carole E. Christian, Handbook of Texas Online.

Newspaper articles may be read at Timeline of News Reports.