Independence in Washington County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
John P. Coles Cabin
"Every Important Man of Texas"
The Independence Historical Society moved the Coles Cabin and Independence Log House buildings to this site to ensure their preservation.
"Walking through the house, we can visualize Coles (with his spectacles on his forehead) conducting elections... conversing long into the night with every important man of Texas, hovering over maps for proposed new roads or crossings, and witnessing marriages in front of his fireplace in the winter or the porch in the summer months." - Mary Ann Moore (Politician on Horseback: The Story of John P. Coles, Houston MAM Publication, January 1996)
John Price Coles (1793-1847)
John Prince Coles founded Coles Settlement - the precursor to Independence. He was a personal agent of "the father of Texas," Stephen F. Austin, and served as Alcalde in the upper portion of Austin's colony when Texas was a Mexican territory. (An Alcalde was similar to a Mayor). In 1836, Coles was appointed the first Chief Justice of Washington County by Sam Houston - first President of the Republic of Texas. Coles took an active interest in establishing educational institutions
The Coles Cabin and Independence Log House are open to the public in the spring, for special events, and by appointment.
Coles' Cabin at its original location. Built of log, it is probably covered with clapboarding at an early date. Part of the house was destroyed in the September 1900 hurricane.
Originally, the John P. Coles Cabin was one of several buildings in Coles Settlement on Cataract Creek, less than two miles northwest of this location. In 1822, John and Mary Eleanor Coles migrated from Georgia to Texas with their two children and three slaves. Coles was given extensive holdings when the Mexican government issued land grants, making him one of the "Old Three Hundred" to settle in Texas. The family first settled on the west bank of the Brazos River but moved south to Cataract Creek around 1825 and established Coles Settlement. The Coles house was the center of activity. Here, the couple raised their family and managed their farm. New settlers frequently "made the house their home" while Coles arranged their land transactions. It was the site of local elections including the first constitutional election in Texas on February 3 and 4, 1828.
"It was common report that
Independence Log House
The Independence Log House is a typical dog-trot house with rooms on each side of an open gallery or breezeway. This layout is common in early Texas homes. The gallery provided occupants with space where they could eat, sleep, play, and do household chores in the fresh air while protected from the sun or rain.
In August 1839, four years after Independence was established, land agent Willis Wilson paid $857 for 121 acres west of town partitioned the land into four acre lots and built this dog-trot house on Block One of the Wilson Addition (an early subdivision). The first person to live in the house is believed to be noted frontier Presbyterian missionary Hugh Wilson (no relation to William) who rented it. In 1842, Jesse McCrocklin - blacksmith, veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, and "an adventurous man" - bought the house but lost it gambling.
Erected by Independence Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1996.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brenham TX 77833, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Baylor Park (within shouting distance of this marker); John Prince Coles (within shouting distance of this marker); The Davis Family (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. Horace G. Clark (within shouting distance of this marker); Columns of a Building of Old Baylor University (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Female Department of Baylor University (about 500 feet away); Old Baptist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Houston-Lea Family Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Independence.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 4, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 85 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 4, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.