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Colonial Texas Houses

Today in history (1835) was the Battle of Gonzales which began the Texas Revolution. The Mexican army had given the American DeWitt Colony a canon to protect themselves from the Native Americans whom they feared were dangerous but they decided to try and take it back as they felt they were losing power in Texas. This is the infamous "Come & Take It" cannon. The DeWitt Colony was formed by Green DeWitt and was the most successful American colony in Texas after Austin and was southwest of Austin where DeWitt and Gonzales are today. Green DeWitt married wealthy Virginian Sarah Seely who also contributed to the colony. He was of Pennsylvania Dutch origins but she was of the British Seeley family (like us!) and her third great-grandfather came to the New Haven Colony in the 1600s. This post will look at how people lived in DeWitt. The Texas colonies had more of a rough start than Jamestown or Plymouth which we have looked at in regards to huts as there was a lack of timber. At first people lived in dugouts but then were able to build what are called jacals out of sticks and mud with thatched roofs (below).

They were eventually able to find resources to build log cabins. However this setup must have been quite a shock for Green and Sarah who were living in the upper class society of Missouri prior to starting their colony. As the colony became more successful, people built dog-run style houses which are common in the deep south as they have a breezeway. The Horace Eggleston House in Gonzales is the oldest remaining of these houses in the area today (below).

An improvement, but still feels like glamping! Glass for windows was not commonly available as evidenced below. The Bradford House uses glass only for the top story windows and uses wood shutters on bottom.

Though the colony was considered a success, it essentially ended with the Texas Revolution. Some settlements became ghost towns such as Clinton, Texas. Texas became a state in 1845 and it is interesting to look at the way the new United States attempted to colonize it prior and to compare it to Jamestown, Plymouth, etc. We will continue with more Texas colonial posts in the future.