Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996 Page: 89
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
cargo, a considerable amount of cotton, hides, and furniture from a plantation near Bastrop,
was also lost. The twin disasters convinced many planters that their crops would be more
safely transported to markets overland, even though the roads were poor.45
Poor as the roads were, by 1845, the county had developed the overland
transportation infrastructure that would serve it for decades. When it was formed, the
county had inherited two existing roads: a road running from what became Columbus to
Gonzales, which was on the south side of the river, branching away from it and remaining
within the bounds of Colorado County until it crossed the Lavaca River; and a road from
Columbus through Egypt towards Matagorda, which crossed the Colorado on the east side
of town and ran at a short distance from but roughly parallel to the river. By 1840, the county
had added a road to La Grange, which crossed the Colorado on the north side of Columbus,
and another road to Matagorda, this one running on the west side of the Colorado. That
year, a road from Columbus to San Felipe was laid out. By 1845, many other internal roads,
including a long road from Kesler's Bluff, which was on the western Matagorda road, to
Margaret Hallett's settlement on the Lavaca River, which had become known as Hidesville,
and roads that crossed the county to connect towns outside its bounds, including, for
instance, a road from La Grange to Texana, had been constructed. Fully in keeping with
the laws and customs of the time, all the roads were maintained by nearby citizens and slaves
impressed by the county to do so, which perhaps accounted for their poor condition.46
The county's roads connected six major ferries on the Colorado River. The
northernmost ferry, about one-fourth of a mile upriver from the mouth of Harvey's Creek,
had been started by John Suggs in 1843. There were three ferries at Columbus, two on the
north side and the other on the east side of town. The east ferry at Columbus had been started
by William B. Dewees even before the town was established, and had been the reason the
site was known as Dewees' Crossing. When Joseph Worthington Elliott Wallace became
Dewees' partner in the town of Columbus, he had also assumed a partnership in the ferry.
They sold the ferry to Stephen Townsend for a considerable sum of money on August 5,
1839. In 1845, it was operated by John M. Shannon, who had purchased it on July 29, 1843.
The older ferry on the north side of Columbus, which was known as the upper ferry, had
been started in 1838 by Dewees. In 1842, however, Armstead Carter, who had a ranch on
the north side of the river near the ferry site, took it over, moving it about 100 yards,
apparently so that the north landing could be on his ranch. In 1843, the county allowed a
45 Telegraph and Texas Register, March 27, 1844, May 8, 1844, May 22, 1844; La Grange
Intelligencer, April 4, 1844, May 2, 1844. The origin of the keelboat EdwardBurleson and the fate of that known
as the David Crockett is unknown. Possibly, the former was simply the latter renamed. The June 28, 1843 edition
of the Telegraph and Texas Register reports on a keelboat "which has long been running between La Grange
and the head of the Raft" and identifies it as the property of "Mr. J. Heald." His identity has not been established.
46 Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book A, pp. 60-63, 65, 77-78, 82, 85, 90-95.
Texana was the county seat of Jackson County from the county's organization in 1836 until 1883.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996, periodical, May 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151397/m1/29/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.