Chapter XII
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CHAPTER XII: A History of Jefferson County, Texas

Early Religion, Education, and Social Interaction

By W. T. Block

The slow development of social interaction in Jefferson County is a segment of a much larger panorama, the growth of frontier America, with its isolated farmstead pattern, into a series of rural communities. Even when faced with hostile Indians, colonial Americans were quick to adopt the isolated way of life in preference to the rural community patterns of Europe, born of feudalism. The individual homestead in Jefferson County became a practical necessity because of the abundance of land and the size of the Mexican land grants (usually seven square miles). It was also an expression of independence greatly treasured by the frontiersmen.

The main by-products of the isolated farm were loneliness and separation from the outside world. To comprehend this is to understand the traits and social customs which the early pioneers evinced. There were certainly a few early settlers who thrived on isolation and who purposely sought the outer fringe of civilization. The great majority, however, were of the opposite breed, and the spectacle which sometimes surrounded a public hanging was less an expression of a populace devoid of sentiment than of one starved for companionship.

One can only surmise the extent of jubilation which arrived simultaneously with each steamboat or post rider, each bearing the mail and the Galveston and New Orleans newspapers. Such enthusiasm was frequently extended to strangers or travelers, such as Frederick L. Olmsted, whose oft-humorous prose vividly portrays the social life of pioneer Southeast Texas.

Olmsted’s welcome at one household in Liberty County was described as “large but rude,” 1 meaning that the family’s hospitality was limited only by the humble fare and the primitive facilities which were available. Within the household, Olmsted observed a dilemma which may have characterized a number of Jefferson County cabins of the 1 840’s, the case of the father, “a man of intelligence,” who had grown up amid the civilization of the Eastern cities, but whose “sons and their friends were silly, rude, illiterate, and stupid, as perhaps might be expected from their isolation.” 2

In Orange County, Olmsted noted that the settlers were mostly “old emigrants from Southern Louisiana and Mississippi and more disposed to gayety and cheer than the Texas planters [of the Brazos region].” Olmsted added that he did not know “whether to chronicle it as a border barbarism or a Creolism that we were several times in this neighborhood shown to a bed standing next to that occupied by the host and his wife, sometimes with the screen of a shawl, sometimes without.” 3

As will appear in a subsequent chapter, many Jefferson County settlers of the 1830’s were natives of St. Landry (later Imperial Calcasieu) Parish and, as often as not, from the Big Woods settlement, near present-day Dequincy, Louisiana. Nearly all of them were of Protestant, Anglo-Saxon derivation, and many of them had been Spanish citizens prior to 1800. The French Acadian migration was extremely sparse until the 1850’s.

Prior to 1837, when no local government existed to issue land titles or record marriages, early settlers improvised a system of bond marriages, a common custom on the American frontier, whereby each party consented to a signed contract which could be dissolved at will.4 The only alternative in Jefferson County was a trip by horseback to Nacogdoches, which George W. Smyth and Frances Grigsby made in 1834. 5 When county government was established, bond marriage contractors were expected to recertify their marriages according to the required civil procedure.

There is no information as to the extent of common law marriages in early Jefferson County, but such relationships spawned punitive action in the courts after 1845. 6 Marriages between whites and mulattoes or free persons of color were unlawful and were prosecuted during the 1840’s.7 Divorce cases were tried by a 12-man jury and were occasionally granted when legal cause was established 8

The slow death of dueling as a means of resolving disputes is also apparent in the county’s archival documents. A certification of noninvolvement in a duel was a part of each county official’s oath of office during much of the nineteenth century.9 In April, 1839, R. C. Doom was charged with “bearing a challenge,”10 and in 1848, a true bill was returned against Stephen Terry for “offering a duel” to Otis McGaffey. 11

Often there were efforts to enforce puritanical behavioral patterns on the county’s earliest inhabitants, but these did not include such items as Sunday travel or the “blue laws” of a later date. Among moral offenses, conviction for adultery or fornication carried a penalty of one day in jail and a $100 fine.12 Many of the county’s leading citizens, including S. H. Everett, Otis McGaffey, and W. C. V. Dashiell, were hailed into court, charged with “permitting card playing in the home.”13 The customary fine for that offense was $10. 14

It is difficult to assess the earliest settlers as being more or less prone to violence than were subsequent generations. There were usually five to ten cases on the docket for each quarterly session of the court, but many of these were of a minor or non-violent nature. Because of the sparseness of population and primitive law enforcement, the majority of offenses probably never reached the courts.

As of 1847, Jefferson County’s population included 1,121 freemen and 178 slaves, of whom 524 were white males eighteen years of age or older.15 Between 1846-1849, four indictments for murder are recorded in the minute books of the district court, an average of one murder case annually.16 Stephen Terry and William Garrett were convicted of second degree murder and assessed prison terms.17 William Arthur was convicted of the murder of Benjamin Myers and remanded to jail to await an appeal of his death sentence. The Supreme Court of Texas granted him a new trial, but in the meantime, Arthur had escaped from custody.18

Early in 1843, Sheriff James Hoggatt was killed in an altercation which may have been a duel or adjudged a justifiable homicide. Court records of that year were burned, and his assailant went free.19 In 1849, James White was ambushed while working in his potato patch on Corn Street in Beaumont, but the murderer was never apprehended. It was reported that White had learned the identity of the man who had criminally assaulted his daughter.20 In 1852, Stephen A. Smith, a Beaumont sugar cane grower, was killed in his home by an unknown assassin who escaped in the night.21

The earliest criminal activity of record in Jefferson County did not reach the courts and was terminated by ruthless vigilante justice. The perpetrators, the infamous Thomas D. Yocum gang of Pine Island Bayou, were credited in 1841 with the robbery and murder of twenty men, mostly cattlemen, who were returning from New Orleans with bulging money belts.22

Yocum, in company with his father and brothers, served his criminal apprenticeship in the John A. Murrell gang, who robbed travelers along the Natchez Trace in western Mississippi about 181 5. When law enforcement threatened them, the Yocums fled to the Neutral Strip of Louisiana near the Sabine River.23 By 1830, T. D. Yocum had been driven from the Atascosita District, and his cabin had been burned. The Liberty alcalde reported to Stephen F. Austin that Yocum had murdered a slave father and stolen his family.24

After arriving in Jefferson County, Yocum apparently was able to hide his notorious past and soon gained an aura of respectability. In 1838, he was summoned to jury duty, and his inn was designated as the polling place for the voters of Pine Island precinct. By 1839, he had acquired a herd of thirty horses and 500 cattle, and by 1840, was postmaster of the Pine Island post office.25

When his crimes were exposed, Yocum was instructed to leave the county. He refused, however, and one hundred and fifty vigilantes, mostly from Liberty County, converged on Pine Island Bayou in September, 1841, burned Yocum’s Inn, and drove his wife, children, and slaves from Jefferson County. A posse trailed and captured Yocum near the San Jacinto River in Montgomery County. Perhaps aware of the Yocums’ previous fortunes with juries (T. D. Yocum’s father bought acquittal from murder charges on seven occasions with perjured witnesses), the Regulators shot Thomas Yocum five times and then disbanded.26

Yocum’s Sons who had fled with his father, returned to Beaumont to visit his wife. Chris, described as the “best of the Yocums” and perhaps not implicated in the murder ring, had served honorably in the Texas army for one year. Sheriff Robert West, aware that thirst for retribution still lingered at Beaumont, arrested the youth and locked him in the county’s log house jail on January 15, 1842. The following morning, the lawman found young Yocum hanged to a nearby oak tree with a ten-penny nail driven into his skull. 27

Early Jefferson and Orange Counties received much unfavorable publicity because of a ring of counterfeiters. John C. Moore was the engraver and printer, while his nephew, Edward C. Glover, who was the sheriff of Orange County in 1856, passed the fake land certificates and spurious coin and paper throughout East Texas for two decades. Despite each man’s arrest on at least one occasion, their activities ceased only when both were killed near Orange during the county’s vigilante violence of 1856.

The men printed only counterfeit currency and land certificates at first, and in 1844, Glover was arrested for passing bogus banknotes at Beaumont. A grand jury, however, failed to indict him.28 In March, 1851, a St. Louis newspaper reported the arrest of Moore in Jefferson County by Captain John Cozzens and Marshal Felps of Houston and the confiscation of Moore’s “counterfeit bank bill printing press and engraving tools” and $200,000 in spurious notes. Although he counterfeited the currency of many Louisiana and Mississippi banks as well, Moore’s reproduction of the $50 note of a St. Louis bank was almost perfect.

In November, 1853, a Nacogdoches newspaper noted that the “gang of men” at Madison was again “engaged in the manufacture of bogus money. Large quantities are being circulated throughout the state.”29 In June, 1856, Moore and Glover, who were leaders of a group of Regulators, were killed by a Moderator posse near Ballew’s Ferry. The Galveston Tri-Weekly News reported that a box under Moore’s bed contained the “famed Sabine bogus mint,” engraving plates for $2Y2, $5, $10, and $20 gold pieces, crucibles, “bogus metal,” and $600 in bright counterfeit coins.30

The most publicized criminal case in antebellum Jefferson County was the climax of the series of assassinations and Regulator-Moderator disturbances in Orange County in June, 1 856. The crime of Jack Bunch, an 18-year-old mulatto,31 had sparked the violence. In November, he was tried at Beaumont on a change of venue, and his execution resulted in a spectacle similar to a county fair.

In company with a cousin named Ashworth, Bunch was an accomplice in the murder of Deputy Sheriff Samuel Deputy on the Sabine River near Green’s Bluff (by then known as Madison). Two factions organized along the lines of race. A group of sixty whites, known as Moderators, decided to pursue the killers when Sheriff Glover declined to arrest them. After declaring the sheriff’s office to be vacant, the Moderators warned the numerous mulattoes and their white associates to leave the county on penalty of death. The latter organized a Regulator faction and went into hiding.

Before the conflict ended, houses and sawmills were burned, thirty families were forced out of the county, and the series of assassinations followed. When the Moderator posse assembled in Madison on June 15, Bennett Thomas, a Regulator, quarreled with Willis Bonner, a Moderator, and killed him. Jack Cross mortally wounded Burwell Alexander, a Regulator, and when Dr. Andrew Mairs knelt to tend his friend’s wound, Cross killed the physician. While passing through the county, two travelers, mistaken for Regulators, were ambushed and killed by the Moderator posse. Peace was restored when the Moderators captured Moore, ex-Sheriff Glover, and Joel Brandon. The latter and other Regulators were released at the Newton County line upon their promise never to return.32

A change of venue accomplished little for Bunch since anti-Regulator feeling was equally high in Jefferson County. Defended by Gray and Lewis, an early Beaumont law firm, Bunch’s trial commenced on November 12, 1856, with “but little effort on either side ... and the defense hopeless.”33 A jury rendered a guilty verdict, and the judge assessed the death penalty. Until his execution, Bunch was guarded by twenty men, for it was rumored that the Regulators were coming in force to free him.34

On the date of the execution, a large crowd assembled on the courthouse square at Beaumont. In full view of the public, the condemned youth died on a scaffold so crudely constructed that Bunch had to mount a ladder which was then twisted and pulled out from under him.35 Although only nine years of age at the time, J. Martin Hebert, who later became a well-known rancher, subsequently recalled that his father made him witness the execution in order to see what happened to boys who disobeyed the laws.36

Unfortunately, the early citizens’ deeds of cultural advancement and daily living are poorly chronicled in the county’s archives when compared to their misdeeds. There are virtually no school records prior to 1900, and the church archives begin about 1880. There are two other causes for the general lack of information. All early records at Sabine Pass were destroyed during a series of hurricanes, one of which completely devastated the city on October 12, 1886. Jefferson County had no newspapers prior to 1859, and only one copy of the Beaumont Banner survives.

Early in 1859, Professor J. T. Fuller founded the Sabine Pass Times, which he published weekly until his death in November, 1860. 37 His assistant, 16-year-old E. I. Kellie, continued publication until he entered the Confederate army in April, 1861. Kellie later recalled that, after printing each edition, he hurried to the waterfront to “hawk” copies of the paper aboard the docked vessels.38 The Times, described as being “commercial, literary, and political,” had a circulation of 625 copies.39

In 1860, A. N. Vaughn, a Beaumont school teacher and the mayor of Beaumont, founded the Beaumont Banner, a publication which was often quoted in the Galveston newspapers.40 The Banner was described as a “scientific” weekly with a circulation of 400 copies.41 Like the Times, the Beaumont newspaper was short-lived and for the same reason. In May, 1861, Vaughn and three other Beaumonters, William A. Fletcher, George W. O’Brien, and Jefferson Chaison, enlisted in Company F, 5th Texas Infantry, of Hood’s Brigade, and publication of the Banner ceased.42 Consequently, until 1880, Jefferson County remained dependent (except for short periods) upon out-of-county publications for the dissemination of news.

From the inception of the Texas Republic, politics was a vital ingredient of social interaction within antebellum Jefferson County. Lacking other communications media, each candidate carried his stand on the heated political issues directly to the people, and the political debates or rallies provided the frontiersmen with another diversion from the cares of daily living.

While interpreting the antebellum political behavior of the county’s residents, one must consider that casting a ballot might entail an all-day journey by water or horseback to one of the county’s five or six polling places. By 1851, the number of qualified voters had reached about 250, but was halved the following year when Orange County was separated. When Hardin County was organized, another loss of population reduced the voter list to 125. By February, 1861, newcomers arriving in the county helped increase the ballot potential to about 300 votes.43

As early as 1838, Jefferson County’s residents cast 103 ballots in the presidential election, favoring the popular Mirabeau B. Lamar with a five-to-one majority.44 When Stephen H. Everett voiced his intent to retire from the Texas Senate in April, 1839, Henry Millard, William McFaddin, John Jay French, Robert Burrell, Joseph Hutchinson, and eighteen others petitioned the senator to stand for reelection. The following September, Everett and David Garner were elected to represent the county in the republic’s legislature.45 In September, 1840, Joseph Grigsby won his third election as representative by a significant majority over George A. Pattillo.46

In the presidential election of 1841, Jefferson County favored Sam Houston over David G. Burnet by a vote of 119-45 and supported Edward Burleson for vice president by a 134-34 ballot over his opponents. George A. Pattillo was “elected representative by the largest majority of votes ever given in the county.”47

In 1849, the editor of a Houston newspaper chided East Texans because “scarcely two-thirds of the voters [l7,000 of 24,000] attended the polls.” He did concede that “rains and the high stage of the streams prevented a large number of voters from attending.”48

In the gubernatorial election of 1851, the county’s voters gave a 200-38 majority to Peter H. Bell over his five opponents, cast 198 ballots for J. P. Henderson in the lieutenant governor’s race, and 185 votes in the congressional election.49

In March, 1853, the county’s voters convened at Beaumont and passed resolutions and appointed delegates to attend a convention at Tyler to select a nominee for congressman from East Texas. F. W. Ogden and George W. O’Brien served as president and secretary, respectively, of the meeting, and fifteen delegates, including Ogden, John Scaly, David Garner, William Burgett, Byrd Holland, Alexander Calder, William Hart, Worthy Patridge, G. W. Tevis, Cave Johnson, D. E. Lawhon, Joseph Hebert, R. West, John K. Robertson, and W. E. Hatton, made the journey to Tyler by steamboat and horseback to nominate G. W. Smyth,50 who was subsequently elected. The county’s low gubernatorial ballot of 1853, which favored Elisha Pease by a vote of 29-19, reflected the earlier separation of Orange County. Byrd Holland of Beaumont was elected to the state legislature.51

Concerning the presidential balloting at Beaumont in November, 1856, a Galveston newspaper account stated that:

…the election at this precinct resulted in 33 votes for Old Buck [James Buchanan], 18 for [Millard I Fillmore, and none for the wooly customer of the Rocky Mountains [John C. Fremont] ... In consequence of this miniature triumph of democracy at Beaumont, quite a spirit of exultation was apparent, on the announcement of the result. The firing of guns and prolonged shouts of triumph wrought strange tones in the serenity of the evening’s air ... All was hilarity, good cheer, and good-humored ‘free-drinking,’ a franchise apparently indispensable to liberty 52

In 1857, a political rally at Orange “had some considerable speaking for the parties and the cheering was long and loud on both sides.”53 In a heated gubernatorial contest, which saw Hardin R. Runnels defeat Sam Houston statewide and in Jefferson County by a four-to-three majority, Sabine Pass supported the winner by 26-21, whereas the county ballot was 41-33. In 1859, the general defeated Runnels for governor, but lost the county ballot to him by an 82-66 count.54

As a medium of social interaction, it would be difficult to overrate the role of religion and revivalism among the county’s pioneers. The foregoing statement is not intended to place frontier religion in Southeast Texas at par with that of Massachusetts Bay Colony or Mormon Utah, where theocratic governments were in power. The writer considers early religion important as much for the leverage for social conformity that it wielded and opportunities for companionship that it offered as for the permanent institutions that it spawned or religious fervor that it generated. And if the building of churches were delayed, it was an expression of a practical and non-affluent populace who saw no cause to leave public bui1dings unoccupied on Sunday.

Among Protestants, church attendance was not only the most acceptable expression of human behavior, but it also afforded the most socially-acceptable vent for the human emotions. The best account of an early-day, area church service, at neighboring Orange in 1857, noted that the Masonic Hall “was not sufficient to contain the congregation that thronged through the doors… Intense excitement reigned throughout; 38 had been converted ... Shrieks, and sobs, and groans, and loud amens rent the air until everyone fell before the influence like reeds in a storm…”55

The Jefferson County of 1850 was overwhelmingly Protestant, but denomination was downplayed. The occasion to attend religious services outside of the home came rarely, and Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians commingled in religious worship, apparently with minimal emphasis on doctrinal differences and a mutual respect for each person’s opinion.

In 1853 upon celebrating the first Catholic mass at Orange for the lone resident of that faith, Father P. F. Parisot observed that “the whole place was out just to see the priest, but all behaved very well during Mass.” Earlier, Father Parisot had visited Jefferson County, where “at Beaumont, I could not find a single Catholic; so I went a few miles below, where I found a Mr. Chaison with his numerous family and his father, aged 103 years,56 who was as deaf as a post. I had to hear the old man’s confession half a mile from the house

In the Taylor’s Bayou vicinity, there were a number of Catholic families— the Hillebrandt’s, Broussards, Galliers, Hargraves, and Heberts—who maintained a congregation, if without a priest or permanent home. Other missionary priests, the Reverend Fathers P. M. Lacour and J. C. Neraz, held services there before and during the Civil War.58 In 1881, while building Beaumont’s St. Louis’ Catholic Church. Father Vitalus Quinon pastored the Taylor’s Bayou congregation in addition to caring for his Beaumont parishioners.59

Methodism in Jefferson County may date from-the year 1834, when an early circuit rider, the Reverend Henry Stephenson, visited Tom Parmer “near Sabine Bay” and “preached in his house.”60 The earliest brush arbor revival in the county occurred in 1840, when Stephenson visited the “Corn Street Neighborhood” of Beaumont and “organized a church.”61 Nevertheless, Methodist services were held at infrequent intervals throughout the “Alligator Circuit,” where the early circuit riders, while fording streams, risked life and limb to the huge, 15-foot caymans. The early ministers reputedly supplemented their meager incomes by shooting the reptiles and selling the hides.62

By 1843, the Beaumont Methodists were assigned to the San Augustine Conference, and the presiding elder, the Reverend Francis Wilson, held the third of his eight revivals of that year in the “Corn Street neighborhood, Jefferson County.” In February, 1845, the Reverend James W. Baldridge became the first conference circuit rider assigned to Jefferson County and soon afterward moved to Beaumont, where in April, 1845, he was a member of a committee of Beaumonters who assembled and passed resolutions (published in both the Houston Telegraph and Morning Star) advocating the annexation of Texas to the United States. Baldridge apparently left the Methodist ministry soon afterward, for he was enumerated as a Jefferson County farmer in the census of 1850. 63

Throughout the 1850’s, circuit riders visited only infrequently, and the burden of Methodist ritual, marriages, and funerals fell to a lay minister, the Reverend John Fletcher Pipkin, a medium-scale planter and slaveholder. Until about 1860, Pipkin resided in the Duncan Woods community, across the Neches River from Beaumont. Afterward, he became a prominent Beaumont sawmiller and shingle-maker. John F. Pipkin is often called “the father of Beaumont churches” because he ministered to other faiths as well.64

The close affiliation between the early Beaumont Methodist and Baptist congregations is apparent in the early census returns. Each of them shared the courthouse (which utilized rented quarters until 1854) for their worship services prior to 1863.65 In April of that year, the courthouse became a Confederate hospital,66 and the two congregations apparently used a vacant store building, or similar facility, for the remainder of the Civil War. In his memoirs, Henry S. McArthur, a Union soldier captured at Sabine Pass, reported arriving at Beaumont on September 9, 1863. He was billeted in “the only church in town,” a building “as badly out of repair as the old boat [the Uncle Ben] we had just left.”67

There were two early attempts to promote the building of a church at Beaumont, but such efforts were futile prior to 1877. In 1858, Jacob L. Briggs and N. B. Yard, Galveston merchants who had acquired the Grigsby interest in the Beaumont townsite, deeded two68 lots to the citizens of Beaumont, provided a church were erected on the site within two years.69 In April, 1867, twenty-four business men and firms contributed $120 to purchase John J. Herring’s buildings (Lot 65, Block 13) “for school and church purposes.”70 However, there is no record that a structure was built for religious worship until the “joint” Methodist-Baptist sanctuary was constructed in 1877. 71

The only building in antebellum Jefferson County devoted solely to religious services was on Tremont Street in Sabine Pass, a short distance from the waterfront. In February, 1848, Sidney A. Sweet, a Presbyterian, Niles F. Smith, and Neal McGaffey donated the lumber and land (Lot 5, Block 2, Range 5) to the Methodist Episcopal Church, “being the lot adjoining the school house lot where the school house now stands.”72 The 1850 census returns confirm that the county’s only church building had a seating capacity of 100 persons. 73

The East Texas Conference minutes reveal that the Reverends H. C. McElroy and Jarvis L. Angel were the Methodist circuit riders assigned to Beaumont and Sabine Pass between 1852 and 1854. In 1858, Angel was assigned to Orange and R. A. Wooten was assigned to serve Beaumont. In September, 1858, Sabine Pass was described as having “two Christian denominations and one preacher,” and the 1 860 manuscript returns confirm that Alexander Hinkle was the only Methodist pastor residing in Jefferson County. By 1864, the Reverend Hinkle had been transferred to serve the Beaumont and Orange circuit.74

With a sudden upsurge of population which began in 1859, the Sabine Methodist congregation needed more seating space. In February of that year, the church’s trustees, Increase R. Burch, R. F. Green, and Abel Coffin, purchased three lots (in Block 5, Range 4) for a new church “to be built thereon for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South ... to preach and expound God’s Holy Word therein.”75 By 1863, war, yellow fever, and the flight of the town’s population had hastened the demise of the antebellum congregation. The church reorganized during the Reconstruction epoch under the Reverend Edward Fink, with the Reverend W. C. Collins serving the Sabine Pass-Orange circuit in 1871-1872 76

Almost nothing can be added to the history of the earliest Beaumont Baptists, who date their origins from the 1870’s. The church’s non-hierarchical nature precluded the existence of conference minutes, and any local minutes of the antebellum period did not survive.77 Frank L. Carroll, a prominent, post-bellum sawmiller, was one of Beaumont’s earliest Baptists and a principal benefactor of Baylor University.78 The marriage of his son, George W. Carroll, to Miss Underhill Mixon in November, 1877, was Beaumont’s first church wedding.79

There are faint archival documents which verify the existence of a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation and a Baptist church at Sabine Pass in 1860-1861. The Tremont Baptist Church trustees bought $300 worth of sundry articles from the R. F. Green grocery in 1861.80 The present church of that name has disbanded and reorganized following periodic disasters. By 1870, the post-bellum church, under the Reverend S. G. McClenny, had acquired its own building.81 which was destroyed during the 1886 hurricane. A. subsequent reorganization occurred under the Reverend-George H. Stovall.82 The Baptist congregation was probably one of the “two Christian denominations” at Sabine Pass in 1858 83

The Cumberland Presbyterian church at Sabine was probably organized in 1861, the year that the Reverend John Goble, who formerly was assigned to Prairie Lea, Texas, arrived.84 Until May, 1863, county school funds were disbursed to Goble for teaching school, the probable site where his church services were conducted as well.85 In November, 1861, he signed the marriage certificate of H. H. Hickok and Margaret Sweet, the daughter of the deceased sawmiller, as “John Goble, a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.”86

By 1880, five denominations were functioning at Beaumont. By 1882, all of them were housed in their own sanctuaries, “each with a considerable membership, and in other portions of the county, church conveniences” were “moderately good.”87 As of January, 1881, Beaumont’s Presbyterians, led by the Reverend W. C. Wallace, held services each Sunday in the Methodist sanctuary. St. Louis Catholic congregation met weekly in Blanchette Hall while its church was under construction. The pastor, Father Quinon, celebrated mass each third Sunday of the month at the Taylor’s Bayou Catholic Church. Beaumont’s Methodists, under the Reverend W. H. Cotton, assembled on the second and fourth Sundays at their church on Main Street. The Episcopalians, under the Reverend S. G. Burton, met semi-monthly in the Temperance Hall.88 In 1883, the name of the latter congregation was changed from Good Shepherd to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.89

The Sabbath schools of the churches usually assembled each Sunday and were an important factor in early-day religious education. Dr. William Hewson organized one of the earliest of them at Green’s Bluff in 1851 and by 1857; its membership had increased from “five scholars” to 75. The physician continued to operate the school until his death in 1867. 90 As of 1870, Jefferson County had three Sabbath school libraries and a total of 300 volumes.91

There is a corresponding paucity of information concerning early education in Jefferson County. The antebellum schools were privately taught, most of them by a single teacher, and the curriculum was usually limited to reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic, a course of study perhaps equal to a fourth grade education. In 1857, tuition at Beaumont was $2.00 monthly per child, exclusive of board.92 As of 1860, the state of a family’s finances was not a bar to education, contingent perhaps upon the parent’s subscribing a pauper’s oath. Early disbursements from the county school fund frequently bore the notation “being the amount of tuition of the indigent children in a school taught by…”

Prior to 1845, all educational instruction came either from the parents or from private tutors employed by the families. As of 1850, 123 of Jefferson County’s 617 adults, age 20 or older, were illiterate, which indicates that one-fifth of the parents were incapable of instructing their children.94 In 1850, Aaron Ashworth, a wealthy mulatto cattleman, employed John A. Woods to tutor his children, and perhaps those of his neighbors.95 Christian Hillebrandt employed a tutor, R. H. Leonard, to instruct his children, probably during the late 1840’s. 96

The county’s two earliest schoolhouses identified to date were located at Green’s Bluff and Sabine Pass. In May, 1847, the county court ordered that in precinct No. 6, elections be “held at the school house on Green’s Bluff.”97 In February, 1848, the first church building at Sabine Pass was erected on a lot adjacent to “where the school house now stands.”98 To date, no school location has been established at Beaumont during the 1840’s, but it is a virtual certainty that one existed there.

In 1850, there were 188 pupils and six school teachers (three of them in present-day Orange County) recorded in the manuscript census returns.99 Alexander Collins taught a school at Green’s Bluff, W. W. Wadsworth taught in the Cow Bayou settlement, and John A. Woods was a private tutor.100 A. L. Kavanaugh taught a school in Beaumont, James Ingalls taught in the Pine Island community, and R. A. Tanner was apparently a private tutor in the home of William McFaddin.101 No one was recorded as a teacher at Sabine Pass. Lucar Dubois is known to have taught there around 1850, but he is listed as a farmer in the census returns.102

In February, 1854, the county court, charged with disbursing the county school funds, established five school districts in Jefferson County.103 Trustees were appointed to administer the schools in each district, and in April, 1854, McGuire Chaison and George Hawley took the oath as trustees for District No. 1 at Beaumont.104 In November, 1857, Nathan Holbert was paid $400 for surveying the county school lands.105 In July, 1858, the court established the County Board of School Examiners, “in accordance with Section 8 of a State Act providing for public schools,” but the first three appointees, Luke 0. Bryan, Dr. George Hawley, and Otto Ruff, declined to serve.106 A month later, James Ingalls, John K. Robertson, and George W. O’Brien, became the first school examiners, and thereafter, county funds could not be disbursed to a teacher unless he or she possessed a certificate of qualification.107

In 1856, Beaumont had only one school with seventy-five students.108 There may have been another school nearby, however, for the “Corn Street neighborhood” of widely-scattered farm houses was often referred to separately. Between 1856 and 1857, Beaumont was experiencing considerable growth and prosperity. By December, 1857, Henry R. Green, one of Beaumont’s earliest teachers, reported that Beaumont’s schools had doubled to “two in full blast, with a goodly number of pupils ... and if all should attend; there would be enough for three. 109

Disbursements to the county’s school teachers were made during the months of November, May and August, indicating that the school year may have contained three semesters. In November, 1857, payments were made to John J. Dollars, George B. Irvine, and James A. Mix for schools taught by them in Jefferson County.110 In 1857 and 1858, Henry R. Green, whose school was on the Woodville Road near the sawmill district, was paid for his indigent list from the county school fund. His statement for May, 1858 was for $180, an aggregate of 1,800 at the rate of 10˘ for each school child-school day.111

Other payments were made in 1858 to Daniel and Isabel Morrison, William Monk, and William S. Mancil for schools taught in present-day Hardin County, to William C. Ward for his school at Sabine Pass, to A. N. Vaughn for his school at Beaumont, and to Henry G. Willis, whose school was in the “Corn Street neighborhood.”112 The latter reputedly left Jefferson County because of an accusation of theft.113

In 1859, disbursements were made to James Vondy for his school in the Taylor’s Bayou settlement and to Willis and Vaughn for their schools at or near Beaumont.114 In 1860, a change of procedure, not fully explained, occurred in the handling of each school’s indigent list. Payments were subsequently made to the administrators of each school, who were charged with disbursing the money on a pro rata basis to the paying patrons.115

In 1860, a payment was made for the school of William J. Barton, who had replaced Vondy at the Taylor’s Bayou school.116 In January, 1860, Felix 0. Yates replaced A. N. Vaughn as principal of the Beaumont Male and Female Academy, perhaps Jefferson County’s first school to shelve the one room, one teacher pattern. Vaughn quit teaching to publish the Beaumont Banner. His edition of November 27, 1860, noted that Yates’ school offered reading, writing, spelling, English, primary geography, higher mathematics, drawing, and painting in its curriculum for the second semester which began on July 23.117

In November, 1860, Mrs. Mary Wardell’s Female School at Grigsby’s Bluff promised “constant vigilance in imparting a sound education, and endeavor to maintain the health, happiness, and unspotted reputation of those committed to her charge.”118 In June, 1 860, Mrs. Wardell was teaching a school at the residence of her brother-in-law, Marshal George A. Pattillo, at Bunn’s Bluff, north of Beaumont on the Neches River in Orange County.119

During the census year ending on July 1, 1860, 229 Jefferson County students, ten of whom resided at Grigsby’s Bluff and 65 at Sabine Pass, attended school.120 However, schools often had non-resident students for whom board and room had to be arranged. Five persons, Mary Vaughan, Harriet and Lenora Carey, Amanda Moore, and E. A. Sanford, were school teachers at Sabine Pass in 1 860. Mrs. Vaughan and the Carey sisters lived at the same residence and may have taught at the same school, probably one operated by the newspaper publisher. In August, 1 859, the Galveston Weekly News reported that Professor J. T. Fuller was the “principal of a flourishing academy under his immediate supervision.”121 Fuller’s Academy is not listed as a recipient of indigent payments, which may attest to the extent of prosperity that the seaport city was enjoying.

Indigent school payments were resumed at Sabine Pass in November, 1862, following the stifling of the town’s commerce, the occupation by an invasion fleet, the burning of the sawmill, and an outbreak of yellow fever which killed scores and caused hundreds of people to flee. In 1 861, a Presbyterian minister arrived and began Goble’s Academy, which functioned for two years. Late in 1862, indigent disbursements were made to both John Goble and J. A. Stanley for their schools at Sabine.122 The last payment to Goble, in May, 1863, suggests that the minister had probably closed his school and departed.123

In 1863, indigent payments ended throughout Jefferson County as the aid to soldiers’ families mushroomed and the education of the poor children was sacrificed to the cause of the Confederacy. As of June, 1865, eighty-five families, about one-half of the county’s population, were receiving direct welfare aid of county-owned beef and corn meal.124

The tragedy of Jefferson County’s post-bellum education is reflected in the 1870 manuscript census returns. Only four schools, each averaging one teacher and twenty-seven students, were listed in the census Schedule VI, Social Statistics.125 In 1871, however, 568 students, 427 white and 141 black, appeared on the Texas scholastic census as being enrolled in Jefferson County schools.126 By 1876, the effects of the Reconstruction era were ending, the population was increasing, and Jefferson County had regained its pre-Civil War eminence as a lumber-manufacturing and shipping center. In that year, the Texas and New Orleans railroad was reopened to Orange, and several shingle and sawmills were processing timber at Beaumont. In 1879, the Beaumont Academy was established and soon became the county’s most sophisticated educational facility, drawing “pupils from all the surrounding country.”127 In addition to its private schools, the county had “seventeen public free schools” as of August, 1882, and a “scholastic population of 582.” 128

Despite puritanical laws, Victorian costuming, and conservative customs, it does not appear that the county’s social life and the disposition of leisure time were as austere as one might suppose. Long work hours and the farmer’s constant effort for self-sustenance always left something to be done by candle light. The isolation of farm life made a simple conversation, a visit, or a weekly newspaper a thing to be treasured-the television set of the frontier. Unaccustomed to the mid-twentieth century’s frills, the frontiersmen worked hard and played hard, and the circuit rider who preached a sermon or funeral oration of less than two hours’ length could expect to be ridiculed.

As early as 1840, the sale of spirits had created social problems and was tightly regulated. Dealers obtained licenses to wholesale by the barrel, to retail in quantities of more or less than one quart, or by the drink. Half or more of the permits went to ferry operators. 129 Nevertheless, both Beaumont and Sabine Pass functioned with but one saloon each until l857. 130

Beginning in 1859, the arrival of the railroads and about 500 construction workers in Jefferson and Orange Counties brought not only prosperity, but also a degree of social change. The number of saloons quickly increased. In 1858, Luke 0. Bryan was licensed to operate a saloon at Beaumont, and a second one was opened at Sabine.131

In 1860, Cave Johnson was a saloon keeper at Beaumont.132 Other permits were issued to E. P. Allen, J. M. West, and John Patridge.133 Census returns indicate that Renaldo Hotchkiss ran a bar, perhaps for a brother, at Sabine, and that Joseph Martin operated the Oyster Saloon there.134 In the same year, a license was issued to B. F. McDonaugh.135 By 1881, when the county’s total population was only 3,500 persons,136 Beaumont had “eight saloons, but a most flourishing Temperance Council to check the march of King Alcohol.”137 Beaumont’s militant Temperance Society had grown to such proportions that it was able to house itself in a spacious hall long before any church congregation could.138

Thomas J. Russell, an early Beaumont attorney, once published an early experience of an acquaintance that arrived in Beaumont on a Saturday during the 1850’s. That night, the stranger heard waltzes emanating from the court house, and upon investigating, observed a “well-dressed man, about 30 years old,” calling the square dances. There were a “number of men dressed in homespun cloth and others in store clothes.” The ladies were “dressed in the fashions of the day for the location—not of New York or Paris.” 139

Upon observing the townsfolk bound for the courthouse early the next morning, the stranger followed and observed that the dance caller of the night before also served as the Sabbath school superintendent. At eleven o’clock, the dance caller mounted the pulpit and delivered the Sunday sermon. Displaying still a fourth role, the dance caller was also the judge who called the county court to order on Monday morning.140

Except for the man “of many roles,” the scene was typical of any weekend which proceeded the quarterly session of the county or district court. Lawyers, litigants, jurors, and witnesses filled Cave Johnson’s hotel to capacity and overflowed into the homes of friends. Surely, it was a rare farm wife who did not envy a neighbor’s call to jury duty, and his wife’s weekend of dancing, church attending, and feminine companionship.

The social isolation apparently nullified any church’s objections to ballroom dancing. By January, 1859, James C. Clelland was teaching a dancing school at Beaumont, which “the citizens are attending ... tri-weekly”141 In 1860, Beaumont’s newspaper carried the advertisement of William Harris, “teacher of fashionable dances,” who offered a series of lessons to Beaumont gentlemen for $10 and to women for $51.” 142

Court sessions, Christmas, other holidays, weddings and even funerals offered a diversion from the isolation of the farm and the routine of hard work and daily living. The French Acadians and immigrant Germans were probably the least inhibited and more fun-loving of the county’s antebellum inhabitants. Reputedly, a wedding at Moise Broussard ‘s three-story mansion, replete with its peacock ballroom, on the Front Ridge at Sabine Pass meant three or four days of dancing and merry-making, guests from as far away as Taylor White’s ranch, mounds of food, and a barrel of whiskey.143

There were other activities in which one might engage for fun or cultural up building. Occasionally, steamer captains gave an all-night ball aboard prior to sailing.144 There were also picnics and steamer excursions to Lake Sabine during the summer months. The dream of every prospective bride was a honeymoon on a Galveston-bound steamboat. In 1858, Beaumont had a debating society, with the school teacher, H. R. Green, as its president. Green sometimes discussed the society’s activities in his newspaper columns.145

Green spent Christmas of 1857 as a guest in the McGuire Chaison home. For the headmaster, it was a “day of great chit-chat and glorious gab,” topped by “popcorn rolled up in molasses in balls …8 or 10 inches in diameter. 146 “Daddy McGuire killed the big rooster,” which was the main dish for the day’s meal. “There came the grand family, all-hands-round eggnog—a part of the programme, which was executed in grand style.” The day’s festivities ended with “fiddling and dancing and a thousand other things [which] took place.”147

All in all, the twenty-four scant years following the victory at San Jacinto had prodded Jefferson County well along the road to civilization. By 1860, the county could boast that its citizens were churched, its children were being educated, and its young people entertained. The wilderness, once so threatening to the inhabitants, was falling before the plow, the axe, and the circular saw. Optimists predicted only a rosy future ahead, and here and there, a book shelf bore mute testimony that the jungles of isolation and ignorance were also retreating from their former entrenchments.


1 Frederick L. Olmsted Journey through Texas. A Saddle-Trip On The Southern Frontier (reprint; Austin: Von Boeckman-Jones Press, 1962), p. 230.

2 lbid.,p. 231.

3 lbid., p. 239. Far from describing insensitivity to established custom, the latter quote exemplifies how completely that social life was enveloped by the harsh, frontier environment which surrounded it. The earliest residences were frequently log cabins with a single large room and fireplace, in which all of the functions of family living had to be conducted. Usually, a second cabin, a few feet apart from the first, was added, and both structures placed under one roof.

4 Volumes A, pp. 2-4, and D, pp. 57-59, 109, Deed Records, Jefferson County, Texas. The marriage contracts of Gilbert Stephenson and Mary Tevis, Thomas H. Brennan and Jane McFerrin, and Simon Wiess and Margaret Sturrock are among the early bond marriages recorded in Jefferson County.

5 Florence Stratton, The Story of Beaumont (Houston: Hercules Printing Company, 1925), p. 60. Miss Stratton erroneously stated on the same page that Smyth resided at Smith’s Bluff near Nederland. Although the site was named for him, Smyth married before Joseph Grigsby left Jasper County and four years before he acquired James McDaniels’ one-third league of land at Smith’s Bluff. There is no confirmation that G. W. Smyth knew any permanent home other than his residence at Walnut Run in Jasper County. See “Autobiography of George W. Smyth,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly, X.XXVI (January, 1933), pp. 200-224.

6 Volume A, pp. 165, 206, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

7 lbid., pp. 23, 74, 76. Some mixed marriages apparently suffered no molestation from the authorities. See Andrew F. Muir, “The Free Negro in Jefferson and Orange Counties, Texas,” Journal of Negro History, XXXV (April, 1950), pp. 186-1 99; Virginia C. Moorer, “The Free Negro in Texas, 1845-1860” (M. A. Thesis, Lamar State College of Technology, 1969), pp. 9-10, 19-23.

8 Volume A, p. 145, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

9 Volumes A, p. 15, and B, pp. 30-31, Personal Property Records, Jefferson County, Texas. These are two of perhaps two hundred recorded in Volumes A, B, and C.

10 Criminal Docket Book, District Court, April, 1839-April, 1851, Jefferson County, Texas.

11 Volume A, p. 125, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

12 Volume A, pp. 98, 130, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

13 Ibid., pp. 98-99; Fall Dockets, 1840, 1847, Criminal Docket, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

14 Ibid.

15 H. Bailey Carroll, “Texas Collection-State Census of 1847,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly, L (July, 1946), p.117.

16 Volume A, pp. 75, 93, 168, 189, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

17 Volume A, pp. 189, 207, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

18 Ibid. pp. 75, 148-149, 183.

19 Beaumont Enterprise, November 22, 1908.

20 Volume A, p. 168, Minute Books, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas; Beaumont Journal, May 19, 26, 1907.

21 (Galveston) Weekly News, August 3, 1852.

22 (Matagorda) Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, October 31, 1841.

23 Philip Paxton, A Stray Yankee in Texas (New York: Redfield, 1853), pp. 377-382.

24 Eugene C. Barker (ed), The Austin Papers, in Annual Report of The American Historical Association For The Year 1919 (3 volumes; Washington, D. C.: (Government Printing Office, 1924), II, Part 1, p. 316.

25 Gifford White (ed.) The 1840 Census of The Republic of Texas (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966), p. 97: (Houston) Morning Star, September 15, 1840; Volume A, pp. 7, 25, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, ,Jefferson County, Texas.

26 (Houston) Morning Star, October 7, 23, 1841; (San Augustine) Redlander, September 30, 1841; (Matagorda) Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, October 31, 1841; Amelia Williams and Eugene C. Barker (eds.), The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 volumes; Austin: Pemberton Press, 1970), IV, pp. 459-460.

27 Paxton, Stray Yankee in Texas, p. 383; Criminal Docket Book, 1839-1851, Jefferson County, Texas; George W. O’Brien, “Early Days in Beaumont,” Beaumont Enterprise, April 16, 1905.

28 Volume A, p. 8, Minute Book, District Court, Jefferson County, Texas.

29 (St Louis) Times, quoted by (Houston) Telegraph and Texas Register, April 25, 1851 (Nacogdoches) Chronicle, November 15, 1853.

30 (Galveston) Weekly .News and Tri-Weekly News, July 15, 1856. (Galveston) Weekly News, June 24 and July 8, 1856.

31 “Analysis of the 1850 Census,’’ Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, VII (May, 1972), p. 100, res. 122.

32 (Galveston) Weekly News and in-Weekly News, July 15, 1856; (Galveston) Weekly News, June 24 and July 8, 1856; Olmsted, Journey Through Texas, p. 244; Muir, “Free Negro in Jefferson and Orange Counties,” Journal of Negro History, PP 200-203: Robert E. Russell, “The Early Days of Orange,” Beaumont Enterprise, April 23, 1922, p. 1-B

33 (Galveston) Weekly News, December 9, 1856.

34 Ibid.

35 (Galveston) Weekly News, December 9, 1856.

36 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Texas, Schedule I, Population, 1850, residence 227; Stratton, Story of Beaumont, p.170.

37 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Texas, Schedule I, Population, 1860, res. 325; File 73, Estate of J. T. Fuller, Probate Record, Jefferson County, Texas; (Galveston) Weekly News, August 25, 1859. The surviving copy of the Beaumont Banner belongs to Chilton O’Brien, a Beaumont attorney. Correspondent Henry R. Green described Fuller’s sedate pressroom employee (not Kellie) as resembling a “bishop of the Episcopalian Church” more than a printer’s devil.

38 E. I. Kellie, “Sabine Pass in Olden Times,” Beaumont Enterprise, April 16, 1905.

39 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Texas, Schedule VI, Social Statistics, 1860.

40 Ibid., Schedule I, Population, res. 292; Volumes B, pp. 239-240, 243, and C, p. 38, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, and C, p. 64, Personal Property Record, Jefferson County, Texas; Record of the Board of Aldermen of Beaumont, 1860-1861, Jefferson County courthouse. Vaughn was assessor-collector of Jefferson County after the Civil War and a Sabine Pass merchant from 1869 until 1878. He then moved to, Jasper County to manage the Texas Tram and Lumber Company commissary and died there. See Beaumont Journal, March 1, 1906.

41 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule VI, Social Statistics, 1860.

42 Beaumont Journal, June 17, 1906.

43 (Galveston) Weekly News, October 7, 1851 and November 16, 1858; E. W. Winkler (ed), Journal of The Secession Convention of Texas, 1861 (Austin: Austin Printing Company, 1912), p. 89.

44 Letter, Everett to Lamar, Beaumont, September 12, 1838, as reprinted in Charles A. Gulick and Katherine Elliott (eds.), The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (reprint; 5 volumes; New York: AMS Press, 1973), II, p. 222.

45 (Houston) Morning Star, July 9, 1839 and October 22, 1840.

46 (Houston) Morning Star, September 19, 29, 1840.

47 Ibid., September 21 and October 5, 1841.

48 (Houston) Telegraph and Texas Register, September 13, 1849.

49 (Galveston) Weekly News, October 7, 1851.

50 (Nacogdoches) Chronicle, April 12 and May 24, 1853.

51 Ibid.. August 23. 1853; (Galveston) Weekly News, November 18.1853.

52 (Galveston) Weekly News, December 2, 1856.

53 Ibid., August 4,1857.

54 Williams and Barker, Writings of Sam Houston, VII, p. 217; (Galveston) Weekly News, August 11, 1857 and August 16, 30, 1859.

55 (Galveston) Weekly News, June 30, 1857.

56 Probably a typographical error. The elder Chaison was 108 years old in 1853 and died at Beaumont two years later.

57 P. F. Parisot, The Reminiscences of a Texas Missionary (San Antonio: Johnson Brothers Publishing Company, 1899), pp. 7-8.

58 H. A. Drouilhet, History and Symbolism of Saint Anthony’s Church (Beaumont: N. P., 1943), p. 1.

59 Ibid., p. 2; Beaumont Enterprise, January 1, 8, 15, 1881.

60 Homer S. Thrall, History of Methodism in Texas (Houston: E. H. Cushing, 1872), p. 155. Parmer is believed to have resided near Ballew’s Ferry, but had disappeared by 1838. Stephenson obtained a Mexican land grant on the north side of Pine Island Bayou in 1835. See 0. H. Delano, “Map of Jefferson County,” April, 1840.

61 Thrall, History of Methodism in Texas, p. 37. Corn Street was the earliest road to Liberty, being the approximate route covered by present-day Calder Street in Beaumont.

62 Rosa Dieu Crenshaw and W. W. Ward, Cornerstones A History of Beaumont and Methodism, 1840-1968 (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1968), pp. 12, 15-16.

63 Thrall, History of Methodism, pp. 75, 81, 181; (Houston) Morning Star, February 11 and May 6, 1845; Manuscript Census Returns of 1850, Jefferson County, Texas, Schedule I, Population, res. 13.

64 Crenshaw and Ward, Cornerstones, pp. 4-6; Manuscript Returns of Orange County, Schedule I, Population, 1860, p. 37, res. 236, and Schedule II, Slaves; Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule V, Products of Industry, 1870; Beaumont Journal, March 23, 1906. Pipkin owned thirteen slaves in 1860 and grew 29 bales of cotton. After settling in Beaumont, where his daughter became postmaster in 1865, Pipkin bought the Phillips sawmill and operated it in partnership with his son-in-law, Dr. N. G. Haltom. He was also a partner in the Pipkin and Rabb shingle mill and served as the Jefferson County judge during the last ten years of his life.

65 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule VI, Social Statistics, 1850, 1860.

66 Volume C, p. 120, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

67 Henry S. McArthur, “A Yank at Sabine Pass,” Civil War Times Illustrated, XII (December, 1973), p. 43.

68 Volume J, p. 17, Deed Records, Jefferson County, Texas.

69 Ibid., Volume L, p. 381.

70 Ibid., Volume N, p. 429.

71 Crenshaw and Ward, Cornerstones, pp. 25-26.

72 Volume F, p. 163, Deed Records, Jefferson County, Texas; William M. Simpson, “Map of The Townsite of Sabine Pass,” 1847.

73 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule VI, Social Statistics, 1850.

74 Crenshaw and Ward, Cornerstones, pp. 241-242; (Galveston) Weekly News, January 3, 1852; December 8, 1857; September 21, 1858; November 11, 1863; (Houston) Tri-Weekly Telegraph, November 4, 1864.

75 Volume M, p. 498, Deed Records, Jefferson County, Texas.

76 Thrall History of Methodism, p. 208; Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule I, Population, 1870, residence 1.

77 See William R. Estep, And God Gave the Increase. A Centennial History of the First Baptist Church of Beaumont (Fort Worth: 1972).

78 Frank W. Johnson and E. C. Barker, Texas and Texans (5 volumes; New York: American Historical Society, 1914), IV, p. 1835; J. M. Carroll, A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas: Baptist Standard Publishing Company, 1923), pp. 707-712, 744, 848, 900. At one time, Carroll was treasurer of Baylor University and donated $100,000 for its memorial hall.

79 Stratton, Story of Beaumont, p.187.

80 File 82, Estate of R. Green, Probate Record, Jefferson County, Texas.

81 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule I, Population, 1870, res. 27, household 17; and Schedule VI, Social Statistics, Microfilm Reel No. 44, Texas State Archives.

82 J. M. Carroll, Texas Baptist Statistics (Houston: Pastoriza Printing Company, 1895), p. 76.

83 (Galveston) Weekly News, September 21, 1858.

84 Jacob DeCordova, Texas. Her Resources and Her Public Men (reprint; Waco: Texian Press, 1969), p. 63.

85 Volume C, pp. 107, 126, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

86 Book A—B, p. 139, Marriage Record, Jefferson County, Texas.

87 Ashley W. Spaight, The Resources, Soil, and Climate of Texas (Galveston: A. H. Belo, 1882), p. 164.

88 Beaumont Enterprise, January 1, 8, 15, 1881.

89 Dubose Murphy, A Short History of The Protestant Episcopal Church in Texas (Dallas: Turner Company, 1935), p. 132.

90 (Galveston) Weekly News, June 30, 1857; David Hewson, “History of Orange,” circa 1890, unpublished manuscript, p. 4. The first two libraries for the school were donated to Dr. Hewson in 1851 by friends living in Philadelphia.

91 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule VI, Social Statistics, 1870, Microfilm Reel No. 44, Texas State Archives.

92 (Galveston) Weekly News, December 29, 1857.

93 Volume C, pp. 23-24, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County Texas.

94 “Analysis of the 1850 Census,” Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, pp. 75-130.

95 Ibid., p. 99; Muir, “Free Negro in Jefferson and Orange Counties,” Journal of Negro History, p. 203.

96 Beaumont Journal, February 4, 1906.

97 Volume A, p. 80, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

98 Volume F, p. 163, Deed Records, Jefferson County, Texas.

99 “Analysis of the 1850 Census,” Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, pp. 72, 75.

100 “Analysis of the 1850 Census,” Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, pp. 99, 109, 124.

101 Ibid., pp. 81, 125,129.

102 Ibid p. 119; Beaumont Journal, March 11, 1906.

103 Volume B, pp. 112-114, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

104 Volume B, pp. 29-31, Personal Property Record, Jefferson County, Texas.

105 Volume B, p. 226, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

106 Volume B, p. 246, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

107 Ibid pp. 24 7-248.

108 (Galveston) Weekly News, September 20, 1856.

109 Ibid., December 29, 1857. Henry R. Green, the writer of the Galveston Weekly News articles, was a 26-year-old, well-educated bachelor, who came to Beaumont early in 1856 as a roving correspondent. Finding the community to his liking, Green remained three years as a school teacher and wrote his folksy, humorous columns under the pseudonym of “Hal.” He was Jefferson County’s “first historian.”

110 Volume B, pp. 226-227, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

111 Ibid, pp. 238-239, 241.

112 Ibid., pp. 240-241, 243-244, 249-250.

113 Rosine McFaddin Wilson, “Our Historic County,” Beaumont Enterprise, November 3, 1966.

114 Volume C, pp. 9, 23-24, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

115 Volume C, pp. 26-38, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

116 Ibid p. 37.

117 Ibid pp. 37-38, 52-53; Beaumont Banner, November 27, 1860. The census returns list Misses C. McClure, Emily and Mattie Spencer, and Charles Stephens as being school teachers in Beaumont in 1860. Since none of them are mentioned in the Commissioners’ Court Minutes as having a school of his own, it appears that they taught at Yates’ school.

118 Beaumont Banner, November 27, 1860.

119 Manuscript Returns of Orange County, Schedule I, Population, 1860, p. 39, res. 247.

120 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule I, Population, 1860, pp. 40-82, residences 249-507. Jefferson County’s loss of one-half of its population and land area to Orange County in 1852 and a subsequent loss to Hardin County of the region between Pine Island Bayou and Village Creek accounted for the poor comparison between the 1850 and 1860 manuscript returns.

121 Ibid., pp. 52, 56, 58, residences 316, 338, 354; (Galveston) Weekly News August 25, 1859.

122 Volume C, p. 107, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

123 Ibid p. 126.

124 Ibid pp. 185-188.

125 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule VI, Social Statistics, 1870, Microfilm Reel No. 44, Texas State Archives.

126 (Galveston) Weekly News, April 24, 1871. Again, the writer believes that the census record was not completed. An increase of 460 students in the span of twelve months appears illogical.

127 Beaumont Enterprise, March 12, 1881. See also Charles S. Potts, Railroad Transportation in Texas, in Bulletin of The University of Texas, No. 119 (Austin: University of Texas, 1909), p. 38; Florence Stratton, The Story of Beaumont (Houston: Hercules Printing Company, 1925), p. 135.

128 Spaight, Resources, Soil, and Climate of Texas, p. 164.

129 Record of Retail Licenses, 1839-1851, Jefferson County, Texas.

130 C. H. Ruff at Beaumont and Charles Hotchkiss at Sabine Pass. See Volume B, p. 207, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

131 Ibid. p. 239; (Galveston) Weekly News, September 21, 1858.

132 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule I, Population, 1860, p. 48, res. 296.

133 Ibid., p. 49, res. 302; Volume C, pp. 39, 54, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

134 Manuscript Returns of Jefferson County, Schedule I, Population, 1860, pp. 52, 58, residences 317, 351.

135 Volume C, pp. 39, 54, Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Jefferson County, Texas.

136 Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide, 1972-1973 (Dallas: A. H. Belo Corporation, 1971), p. 158.

137 Beaumont Enterprise, March 12, 1881.

138 Ibid. January 1, 8, 15, 1881.

139 Beaumont Journal, October 8, 1905.

140 Beaumont Journal, October 8, 1905. School teacher Henry R. Green devoted an entire column to the December, 1858, session of the Jefferson County court at the time when he had been appointed district clerk. Green reported that there was “dancing on hand everywhere” and that he was “sicker of eggnog than the whale was of Jonah.” See (Galveston) Weekly News, January 11, 1859.

141 (Galveston) Weekly News, February 15, 1859 and April 12, 1859.

142 Beaumont Banner, November 27, 1860.

143 Beaumont Enterprise, July 10, 1949.

144 J. P. Landers, “Valentine Burch,” Texana, III (Summer, 1965). pp. 109-1 10.

145 (Galveston) Weekly News, June 8,1858.

146 Ibid, January 26, 1858.

147 (Galveston) Weekly News, January 26, 1858.

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