The Water's Plantation

 

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 1849.

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 gained it.

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.

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