This extensive farm and sugar plantation,
now owned by T. W. House, of Houston, was first settled by Jonathan
D. Waters, and is situated on the Brazos River and Oyster Creek, in
the southeastern portion of Fort Bend County. Mr. Waters came hereon
the first day of March, 1840, and planted a crop of corn on the east
bank of the Brazos, and raised it to maturity without a fence, at
that time there being no stock in the Brazos bottom.
Mr. Waters came too late to receive a grant of land as an immigrant,
and therefore had to purchase land, first buying one thousand acres
from Francis Bingham and later two thousand acres from a Mr. Caples.
He then opened an extensive farm and added to his former purchases
of land two hundred acres bought from John Shipman.
The second crop of Mr. Waters was cotton, and that year he made one
hundred and eighty bales. The third crop was a failure, the
caterpillars almost destroying the plant, and only forty bales were
gathered. He now purchased a portion of the Fitzgerald league, and
increased the acreage in cotton until finally 500 bales were
obtained at a single crop. After this Mr. Waters commenced, raising
cane, put up a sugar mill, and also established a brickyard, in
Allen Vince also had a farm near here on which he raised corn
principally, but owned a stock ranch on Vince's Bayou. He built the
famous bridge which was destroyed by Deaf Smith and a companion the
morning of the day on which the battle of San Jacinto was fought.
Vince's place on Oyster Creek was near that of John R. Fenn, and at
that time many runaway Negroes were in hiding in the canebrakes and
timbered bottoms of the Brazos, and the settlers had but little
scruples about killing them, looking upon them as a. menace to
-their families at times in the absence from home of the men, which
was frequent, hunting cattle or going after supplies.
One morning Vince came to the house of John Fenn and said:
"John, I snapped my gun at a Negro this morning." "Why did you not
kill him?" was the answer. "That is what I would have done."
"Oh, I did as well as you would have done," said, Vince. "I snapped
again and killed him." This was a, runaway Negro and Vince had come
upon him asleep in the bottom, lying at the base of a large tree,
and a gun leaning against it. He was awakened, but instead of
surrendering sprang to his feet and ran away, carrying his gun with
him. Vince attempted to fire, but his gun snapped. The Negro made no
attempt to shoot, but kept on running, and Vince aimed and tried his
rifle again, and this time successfully, the Negro falling dead in
his tracks at the fire. Now this runaway belonged to Caples, and he
brought suit against Vince for damages to the amount of $800, and
When Jonathan Waters died he willed his property to his wife, and
she sold it to Thomas Pierce, and in 1872 T. W. House bought the
property from Pierce. Mr. House expected, at the time that John R.
Fenn would own an interest with him, but as this partnership was not
consummated, the friends of Mr. Houses informed him that he had an
elephant, on his hands, and, would lose money on the purchase, and
than the best thing he could do would be to sell out at once. He,
however, held the property, and, spent more money on it, and
employed Mr. Fenn tro run it for him, which he successfully did for
five years, proving to Mr. House and others that he had no elephant
on his hands, or at least one that would not pay, for under the
careful and judicious management of Mr. Fenn the plantation
gradually increased, and now reaches from the Brazos River to Oyster
Creek, embracing many hundreds or thousands of acres, for that
matter, of the finest Brazos bottom land.
Fort Bend County
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