Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994 Page: 22
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
who had been called to serve on the grand jury but who failed to present
themselves. Then he adjourned court.
Wilson H. Bibbs was perhaps the earliest defendant in a district
court case in Colorado County. According to the official report on
Republic of Texas v. Wilson H. Bibbs on pages 2-3 in District Court
Minute Book A, Bibbs was indicted for grand larceny by a Colorado
County grand jury on May 17, 1838. At his trial, before Judge James
W. Robinson, he entered a plea of "guilty" and "threw himself on the
Mercy of the Court." After David Wade testified that he had received
the stolen property, the court decreed that Bibbs receive "Thirty nine
Lashes on his bareback [be] Branded in the Right hand with the Letter
T and pay the Cost of suit or be kept in Custidy untill he did pay said
cost." When it became clear that Bibbs could not pay court costs, the
court exonerated him from that charge and discharged him from
custody. These records do not contain the expression custide, which
is used by Zumwalt, nor do they state the amount of the costs or the
amount of a fine.
During 1839 Col. Robert Robson moved to Columbus from Dumfries in Scotland. He
was evidently well provided financially and his remittances came regularly except for the
period during the war between the states. He built a concrete castle of homemade lime
and gravel on the south bank of the Colorado river where Stephen F. Austin surveyed
the site for his Texas headquarters. The location was at the south end of the present
north bridge. The estate comprised fifty acres. The building was three stories in height
and most of the rooms were 20 by 20 feet in dimensions. The ballroom was three times
the length of the other rooms or 60 feet long. The castle was surrounded by a moat and
a drawbridge. It was probably the first building in Texas to have a roof garden and
running water. A tank or cistern was on the roof into which water was pumped from
the Colorado river and from there piped throughout the castle. Balls, card parties and
champagne suppers were held there, attended by the gentry from Bastrop to Matagorda.
The first Episcopal service in Columbus was held in the courthouse but some Episcopal
services were held in the castle, led by Dr. Lawrence Washington, a grand nephew of
General George Washington. A steamboat ran up the river on occasions from the Robson
castle to Austin. Another steamboat, the Moccasin Belle, carried cotton from the
Washington plantation to Galveston. The anchor from the Moccasin Belle is now in the
courthouse park. The castle was undermined by a severe overflow of the river in 1869
and was finally torn down in 1883, when the beef packing plant was built there. Col.
Robinson introduced the Ouisatche (Huisatche) (Juisatche) (Weesatche) tree into this
part of Texas from Mexico.
Robert Robson bought his first property in Colorado County, four lots in
downtown Columbus, on November 6, 1844 (see Deed Book E, page
182, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas). Robson was
certainly in Texas earlier, and passed through Columbus with William
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994, periodical, January 1994; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151390/m1/22/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.