Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996 Page: 90
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
third ferry at Columbus, this one also on the north side. It was operated by William R. "Big"
Turner. Well south of Columbus, but perhaps not quite halfway between Columbus and
Egypt, was a ferry that was most often called Silvey's Ferry. Initiated by Charles Mason
in 1840, it had been taken over by James E. Silvey in 1843. The southernmost ferry was
at Egypt. It had been in existence, and licensed to John Sutherland, since at least 1843.47
In late 1844, the possibility that Texas would soon be annexed to the United
States caused, naturally, great debate within Colorado County. The February 1845 offer
by the United States to annex Texas fanned the debate. Texas President Anson Jones called
for both a special meeting of the congress and a convention of delegates from around the
state, each to be held in the summer of 1845. On April 19, 1845, the citizens of Colorado
County met at Columbus to discuss the question. Though Mexico, prompted by the British,
had offered to recognize Texas' independence if it declined to join the United States,
support for annexation was strong. Fifteen men drafted four resolutions, all of which were
subsequently adopted by the full assembly, that favored annexation and the drafting of a new
constitution, that pledged that Colorado County would elect and dispatch delegates to the
Annexation Convention, and that set up a five-man corresponding committee to see to the
details of the election and other matters. George William Brown, who served on both
committees, was elected to represent the county at the convention on June 4, 1845. Brown
was something of an odd choice. He was young, 27 when he went to the convention, and
unmarried. He was a practicing attorney, though the earliest discovered record of his
practice in Colorado County dates from little more than a year earlier, November 1843.
He apparently came to Texas in 1839. His seemingly promising career was destined to be
cut short. He attended the sessions of the convention faithfully from the day they opened,
July 4, 1845, until the day they closed, August 28, signed the proposed constitution that the
convention had drafted, then returned to Colorado County where, less than two months
later, on October 18, 1845, he married Elizabeth C. Hinch. In July 1847, obviously quite
ill though not yet thirty years old, he wrote his will, leaving everything to his wife. When
he died, sometime between January 12 and March 28, 1848, she, not yet twenty herself,
inherited the considerable land and other property he had acquired. Brown was buried in
his back yard.48
47 Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book A, pp. [v], 60, 65, 79, 93-97, 102-104;
Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book B, pp. 20. 328; Colorado County Deed Records, Book
A, p. 300; Colorado County Probate Records, File No. 21: Peter G. Silvey. Sutherland was apparently not too
concerned with his ferry. In 1845, the county twice ordered him to place a proper boat in the water or face losing
his license (see Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book A, pp. 108-109, Book 1, p. 2). In 1845,
Turner's ferry would be taken over by Sion Record Bostick and Suggs' by Asa Townsend. In 1846, Bostick's
would go to John Hope (see Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book A, p. 102, Book 1, pp. 1,
54, 59; Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, p. 422, Book F, p. 331).
48 Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, pp. 251,253; Telegraph and Texas Register, May
7, 1845; Election Returns, RG 307, Secretary of State Papers, Texas State Archives, Austin; Journals of the
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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/m1/30/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.