San Felipe in Austin County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Jane Wilkins' Home
Jane Wilkins and her family were among the Colony's earliest immigrants and the first to settle what is now the City of Houston. By 1827, Wilkins and her two daughters, Jane and Mary, had made a home in San Felipe. They also received a league of land in Fort Bend County, making the Wilkinses one of the few Old 300 families headed by a female.
Like her mother, Mary was a widow, but married San Felipe printer John Aitken in 1831. Her sister Jane married the town's mayor, or alcalde, Thomas Duke. When the couple moved to Matagorda, Jane regrettably took her often in-demand sewing skills with her.
Working From Home
The Wilkins family worked as seamstresses and provided board (meals, but not lodging) to their neighbors mostly single men who did little cooking themselves. Among their regular boarders was William Barret Travis, whose law office sat across the street on lot 50. The commute was also short for Mary's husband John. He worked in a print shop that once occupied the same building.
Notes From the Diary of William Barret Travis
on boarding with Mrs. Wilkins
"Commenced boarding at Mrs. Wilkin's"
10 December 1833
"sent Domestic to Mrs. Wilkins to make
me 2 pair sheets"
12 December 1833
"Paid Mrs. Wilkins $1.12 ˝ cts for
making 4 sheets"
4 January 1834
"paid Mrs. Wilkins $15 for month's
18 May 1834
"Got... cabbage plants from Mrs. Wilkin's
-- & set them out"
"Thus while there was a scarcity of ladies of any kind in San Felipe, single ladies were indeed few and far between. Occasionally one ventured into town to be almost immediately captured by some aspirant for matrimonial honors. Of the young ladies who were thus summarily dealt with during my sojourn I remember... Miss Jane Wilkins, who was captured by the alcalde, Thomas Duke...
Miss Jane Wilkins with her widowed mother and younger sister maintained themselves by sewing.... Miss Wilkins was an expert needlewoman and we old bachelors found much need of her services, almost all clothing then being made to order; consequently we felt that we had just cause of complaint against the alcalde when he selfishly appropriated our fair seamstress, leaving us with enough ready-made clothing on our hands to stock a small clothing store."
San Felipe resident Noah Smithwick on the Wilkins family
Images courtesy: Austin County Clerk; Rugley-Moore Collection
Erected by San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & Settlers • War, Texas Independence • Women. A significant historical year for this entry is 1827.
Location. 29° 48.342′ N, 96° 5.867′ W. Marker is in San Felipe, Texas, in Austin County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of 2nd Street and Farm to Market Road 1458. The marker is located in the western section of the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site along the pathway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 220 2nd Street, San Felipe TX 77473, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cotten Print Shop (within shouting distance of this marker); Travis Law Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Austin & Perry Stores (within shouting distance of this marker); Burning of the Town (within shouting distance of this marker); Business District (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Clopper Store (about 400 feet away); Rio BrazosSan Felipe de Austin Colonial Well (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Felipe.
More about this marker. The marker is located on the grounds of the San Felipe de Austin Historic Site. There is a small fee to access the historic site and markers.
Also see . . .
1. San Felipe de Austin History. Texas Historical Commission
San Felipe de Austin was founded in 1824 by Stephen F. Austin as the unofficial capital of his colony. It became the first urban center in the Austin colony, which stretched northward from the Gulf of Mexico as far as the Old San Antonio Road and extended from the Lavaca River in the west to the San Jacinto River in the east. By October 1823, after briefly considering a location on the lower Colorado River, Austin decided to establish his capital on the Brazos River. The site chosen was on a high, easily defensible bluff overlooking broad, fertile bottomlands. The location offered a number of advantages, including a central location and sources of fresh water independent of the Brazos.(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
2. Wilkins, Jane Mason (1787–ca. 1848). Texas State Historical Association
Jane Wilkins, early Texas settler and member of the Old Three Hundred, was born in Kentucky in 1787, the daughter of Robert Mason. She headed one of the first households located on the site of future(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 16, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 90 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.