Biography of Stafford, William

William Stafford, one of the early settlers of Fort Bend County, was a native of Tennessee, but emigrated from that grand old State to that of Louisiana, where he engaged in raising cane and, making sugar. He was married twice; his first rife was Miss Donald, of Tennessee, and the second Miss Martha Cartwright, of Louisiana. In 1822 he came to Texas as one of the colonists of Stephen. F. Austin and first located near San Felipe, but later settled at what is now known as “Stafford’s Point” on Oyster Creek, in Fort Bend County, fifteen miles east of Richmond. Mr. Stafford, had two residences for convenience as to the seasons. The fall, winter and spring place was in the bottom at the farm on Oyster Creek at Stafford’s Lake. The summer place as in the prairie, a road being cut through the dense brush, timber and cane, nearly two miles, connecting the two places. His grant of land consisted of one and a half leagues, this surplus from the stipulated number of acres that each settler was to receive being added to his headright by General Austin for valuable services performed, in the affairs of the colony.

At Stafford’s Point he put up a cane mill and made his own sugar, having planted the first cane and made the first sugar in fort Bend County. He also put up a goad horse-power gin, the first one in Austin’s colony.

In 1536, when the news came that the Mexican army was coming and would strike the settlements around Fort Bend, the Staffords, as did all others, deserted their homes and fled toward the east, leaving all they possessed to the mercy of the dusky invaders. After the Mexicans had affected a crossing at Thompson’s Ferry and Morton’s, the advance nook up the line of march for Harrisburg, commanded by Santa Anna in person. While on the march they came upon the home of William Stafford, which they pillaged and burned, dwelling, gin, cane mill, outhouses, and, in fact, everything which a torch would fire about the plantation. This was always the case where Santa Anna commanded in person.

At this time the Stafford family consisted of wife and five children, to-wit: Adam, Sarah, Mary, Harvey and Martha. The intention of Mr. Stafford in his flight for the safety of his family was to cross rthe Sabine River, but on the Neches River a messenger from General Houston overtook them announcing the victory at San Jacinto, and that they could return to their homes in safety. They came back by way of the battlefield and saw many dead bodies of Mexicans strewn over the plain, laying as they had fallen in the dreadful conflict. When they at last reached their home everything was wreck and ruin, presenting a most desolate appearance, no provisions except the wild game of the woods and prairies and fish of the streams and lakes. They had to commence anew and build up again to replenish the ravages of war. This Mr. Stafford in time accomplished, and once more had a prosperous and happy home, where peace and plenty reigned during the days of the Texas Republic. Three more children came Joseph, Susan and Jack Adam, the eldest, lived to be 78 years of age and died in Victoria. His wife was Miss Martha Hankins. Sarah married C. C. Dyer, who for a number of years was County Judge of Fort Bend County. Martha married Paschal P. Borden, and Many united in wedlock with W. Y. Neel. Harvey died at home unmarried. Joseph married Miss Anna Mulder, and moving to Victoria died there. Susan married Dr. Frank Baker, and Jack married Miss Ellen Cain.

William Stafford died in 1840 at Stafford’s Point, and was buried in the amily burying ground at the head of Stafford’s Lake.



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