Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996 Page: 69
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
By the time the court met again on July 10, the residents of the county had
become more accustomed to government. This time the full court, including the second as-
sociate justice, James Stephens, was present. This time, thirteen of the fifteen summoned
jurors were present. This time, the two absent jurors were excused. The court rescinded
the fines it had levied against the nine men who had failed to show up in April, fined another
man, Benjamin McDaniel, ten dollars for refusing to assist the sheriff when summoned to
do so, then adjourned."
The birth of the new county seat, the town of Columbus, which had been an-
nounced in December 1835 but been halted by the revolution, was delayed, naturally
enough, until Dewees and the other settlers returned to the Colorado and provided
themselves with housing and other necessities. That the town was still of little or no
consequence despite its status as the county seat is confirmed by the location of the first post
office in the new county, the Colorado Post Office, which was established at Eli Mercer's
house before April 1836. Within a year, the post office, and the community around
Mercer's, would acquire the name Egypt. According to persistent early reports, the name
was adopted because of the unusual fertility of the land.12
The mail which crossed the Colorado River to the north of Mercer's in 1836
crossed at Beeson's, though there was no post office there. Had the mail come to Columbus,
it would most assuredly have had to camp out, for the first building in town was not
constructed until August 1836. Columbus grew, though slowly, from that first structure.
In 1837, a visitor described it as "a small town, consisting of two public houses, two small
stores, and a half a dozen shanties." The proprietors of the town, at first Dewees, Robert
Brotherton, and Thomas Thatcher, then Dewees and Joseph Worthington Elliott Wallace,
painted a slightly rosier picture in a series of newspaper advertisements designed to attract
settlers. The first ad announced that a "general sale" of lots in Columbus would be held on
July 10, 1837. The second, taken out on May 22, announced that the original partners,
Dewees, Thatcher, and Brotherton, had dissolved their relationship because of "a slight
misapprehension," and that the new proprietors of the town were Dewees and Wallace. The
earliest minutes were bound into it, though, unhappily, in incorrect order. The original pages of Book A were
numbered from 1 to 110. The loose sheets, however, were never numbered. For reference, these sheets have
been assigned lower case Roman numbers, but numbered in chronological order rather than in the order that
they were bound into the book.
11 Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book A, p. [ii].
12 James M. Day, comp. and ed., Post Office Papers of the Republic of Texas 1836-1839 (Austin:
Texas State Library, 1966), pp. 36, 65. The earliest reference to the Egypt Post Office is dated February 17,
1837. For two statements regarding the origin of the name Egypt, see C. C. Cody, "Rev. Martin Ruter, A. M.,
D. D.," The Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 1, July 1909, p. 21, which quotes from a letter
written by Ruter on December 10, 1837; and H. A. Graves, comp., Reminiscences and Events in the Ministerial
Life of Rev. John Wesley DeVilbiss (Galveston: W. A. Shaw & Co., 1886), p. 33 which reproduces part of a
reminiscence attributed to DeVilbiss.
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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/m1/9/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.