Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Mother of Texas

And the Mother of Texas is...

Jane Long

Jane Long is known as the "Mother of Texas."  Why?  Now that's a good question.  According to the Online Handbook of Texas, Jane was given this title  for giving birth to one of her children on Bolivar Peninsula, even though she wasn't the first English-speaking woman to give birth in Texas or on Bolivar Peninsula.  So, how did she get this title?  [Hm.]  Could it be who she knew?  Possibly.  Her husband was Dr. James Long of the "Dr. James Long's Rebellion" fame.  [This is one of the 3 failed rebellions that proceeded Texas' fight and win for independence.]  Also, Jane was to have dined at one time with Jean Lafitte, the infamous pirate [but not the pirate from my family tree] on the Bolivar Peninsula.  Also, years after her husband's accidental death in Mexico City in 1822, it's rumored that she was courted by the likes of Ben Milam, Sam Houston, and Mirabeau B. Lamar.  [Wow.  Not many can say that, if the rumor was true.]

She was given a league of land from the empresario Stephen F. Austin in 1824 that was located in Ft. Bend County, though she didn't live there until 1837.  She operated 2 boarding houses: one in Brazoria in 1832 and one on her league of land in 1837.  She sold a portion of her original league of land to Robert F. Handy, a developer of the town of Richmond in Fort Bend County, Texas.  Jane not only operated a boarding house on her league of land, she developed a plantation as well.  According to the Handbook, she "bought and sold land, raised cattle, and grew cotton." I dare say she was an overachiever, which brings me to the reason that I think she was called the "Mother of Texas."  Could it be that she earned this moniker not from birthing a child on a peninsula, but perhaps earned it through losing her husband in the pre-fight for independence, the loss of 2 of her children, her support of the community of what would become Richmond, Ft. Bend County along with the support she gave the people in her boarding houses, and the obvious business woman that was?  I don't know about you, but I think the latter is the reason she's called the "Mother of Texas." [Of course, I "penned" it, so I'm biased...]

Below are photos of the Long-Smith Cottage that she owned.  Later, Thomas Jefferson Smith [...with that name, I'm glad I don't have to research his ancestry...], a survivor of the Goliad Massacre, lived in the home.  The home has been restored to the 1860's upper-middle class with many of Jane Long's antiques and is is now located on the grounds of the Fort Bend Museum where it was moved to.  Enjoy!  Also, visit my companion blog Family Stories in Stone for Jane Long's tombstone in Morton Cemetery.

Long Smith Cottage

Long Smith Cottage Inside 1

Long Smith Cottage Inside 3

Long Smith Cottage Inside 2

1. Online Handbook of Texas
2. The Fort Bend Museum Association
3. All photos taken by Caroline Pointer.  
4. All collages designed by Caroline Pointer.


valenaann68 said...

Caroline, I love your blog layout! And your photo collages are awesome! You are such a talented artist. I am in awe of your work!

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