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San Felipe in Austin County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

A Home on Commerce Square

Lots 537 & 538

 
 
A Home on Commerce Square Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
1. A Home on Commerce Square Marker
Inscription.  
Ideally Situated Close to Commerce Square and the Brazos River, these two lots were near the center of town. Like many San Felipe lots, the property changed hands several times. First developed by the Calvit family, its last owner was Almyra McElroy. Records show the lots had four buildings when the town was burned in 1836: a dwelling house, a kitchen and two outbuildings.

Jane Long
Head of San Felipe Society
Jane Long accompanied her husband on several filibusters (military campaigns) into Texas during the last years of Spanish rule. After his death, she moved to San Felipe and lived here with her sister, Barbara Calvit. Neighbor Joseph Clopper noted in his journal that with her "excellent understanding" and "lively spirit," Long was "agreeable where & when... her company requires." In 1832, she moved to Brazoria and opened a boarding house.

Kian
Forced Pioneer
Kian was an enslaved black woman who helped save the life of her owner, Jane Long. After Long's husband was captured during a military expedition, the women endured the bitterly cold winter of 1821 on the
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Texas coast together, waiting for his return. Abandoned by others, Kian helped Long find food, fend off natives, give birth to a daughter and care for the children. Kian remained close to Long all her life - Kian's namesake granddaughter was at Long's side when Long died in 1880.

Kian married and had four children. Her descendants lived in the Richmond area as late as 1900.

Barbara Calvit
San Felipe Landowner
Alexander and Barbara Calvit bought these lots for $20 each in 1825. Alexander - assisted by 13 enslaved laborers owned by Barbara - farmed across the river, while the family made their home in town. Barbara and her relatives were among the few women who resided in downtown San Felipe.

"I Am now boarding with a family by the name of Calvet [sic], they are very genteel & Clever, the Ladies are from Charles County, Maryland."
Merchant Nicholas Clopper, who took meals with the Calvit family

Almyra McElroy
Witness to the Runaway Scrape
Almyra and Philip McElroy's tumultuous Texas story began with their arrival on their headright on the Colorado River in 1832. Frightened off the frontier by accounts of settler Josiah Wilbarger's scalping, the McElroys purchased town lots 537 and 538. Almyra - widowed in 1834 - packed up again during the Runaway Scrape, only
A Home on Commerce Square Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
2. A Home on Commerce Square Marker
to have her wagon commandeered by the Texian government. After the war, Almyra's claim listed nearly $1,200 worth of lost property.

Images Courtesy: Fort Bend History Association and George Ranch Historical Park, Richmond, Texas; Beinecke Rare Book and Manscript Library; Yale University; Texas State Library and Archives Commission
 
Erected by San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansSettlements & SettlersWar, Texas IndependenceWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1836.
 
Location. 29° 48.377′ N, 96° 5.742′ 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 northern 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. Building the Town (a few steps from this marker); Bottomland Farms (within shouting distance of this marker); Spanish Town (within shouting distance of this marker); Founding the Town (within shouting distance of this marker); Governing the Town
The view of the Home on Commerce Square Marker from the walkway image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
3. The view of the Home on Commerce Square Marker from the walkway
(within shouting distance of this marker); Rio Brazos (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Clopper Store (about 400 feet away); Burning of the Town (about 500 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
Reproduction of an Emigrant’s Residence on the east side of the historic site image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
4. Reproduction of an Emigrant’s Residence on the east side of the historic site
location and sources of fresh water independent of the Brazos.
(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 

2. Slavery. Texas State Historical Association
Texas was the last frontier of chattel slavery in the United States. In the fewer than fifty years between 1821 and 1865, the "Peculiar Institution," as Southerners called it, spread over the eastern two-fifths of the state, an area nearly as large as Alabama and Mississippi combined. Slavery thus linked Texas inextricably with the Old South.

There were a few slaves in Texas while it was a Spanish province, but slavery did not really become an institution of significance in the region until the arrival of Anglo‑American settlers. The original empresario commission given Moses Austin by Spanish authorities in 1821 did not mention slaves, but when Stephen F. Austin was recognized as heir to his father's contract later that year, it was agreed that settlers could receive eighty acres of land for each enslaved person they brought to the colony.
(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 

3. Runaway Scrape. Texas State Historical Association
The term Runaway Scrape was the name Texans applied to the flight from their homes when Antonio López de Santa
Inside view of the Emigrant’s Resident image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
5. Inside view of the Emigrant’s Resident
Anna began his attempted conquest of Texas in February 1836. The first communities to be affected were those in the south central portions of Texas around San Patricio, Refugio, and San Antonio. The people began to leave that area as early as January 14, 1836, when the Mexicans were reported gathering on the Rio Grande. When Sam Houston arrived in Gonzales on March 11 and was informed of the fall of the Alamo, he decided upon retreat to the Colorado River and ordered all inhabitants to accompany him. Couriers were dispatched from Gonzales to carry the news of the fall of the Alamo, and when they received that news, people all over Texas began to leave everything and make their way to safety. Houston's retreat marked the beginning of the Runaway Scrape on a really large scale.
(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 18, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 90 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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