Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection

Parmenas Briscoe Papers, Manuscript Collection: MC058

Collection Summary

Creator: Briscoe, Parmenas, 1839-1906
Title: Parmenas Briscoe papers
Dates: 1867-1909
Dates: (Bulk: 1879-1899)
Abstract: Correspondence, financial and legal documents, and printed materials document the life of Parmenas Briscoe from 1867 until 1909.
Identification: MC058
OCLC Record No.: 50045877
Quantity: 3 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

Parmenas Briscoe, the eldest son of Mary Jane Harris Briscoe and Andrew Briscoe, was born in 1839 in Houston, Texas. In 1840 after his father completed his term as Chief Justice of Harrisburg (Harris) County, the family moved to Harrisburg, Texas, where they made their home. Andrew closed his Texas businesses and moved to New Orleans in 1849 to further his children's education. He died of yellow fever on October 4, 1849. Mary Jane and her four children moved to the Briscoe family plantation in Claiborne County, Mississippi, and lived there for 3 years until returning to Texas.

Parmenas served in Company A, 2nd Battalion of the Infantry of Waul's Texas Legion otherwise known as "Sam Carter's Company" during the Civil War. He ran a sawmill with his cousin, A. W. Scoble, in Harrisburg until circa 1881, worked briefly as an agent with Houston East and West Texas Rail Road in 1893, and clerked in the Harris County Clerk's office. As the eldest male in the family, Parmenas handled the legal and financial transactions for his siblings, mother, unmarried female relatives, and distant cousins.

Parmenas "Bub" had a lifelong passion for fishing and sailing and was a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. He never married. His mother, Mary Jane Briscoe, lived with him until her death in 1903. After his sister Adele's husband, Michael Looscan, died in 1897, she also moved into the house at 620 Crawford Street. Parmenas died in his home in Houston, Texas, in 1906.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, financial and legal documents, and printed materials document the life of Parmenas Briscoe from 1867 until 1909. Correspondence forms the bulk of the collection (.8 linear feet) and concerns primarily the financial and legal transactions he conducted for his immediate and extended family as it relates to their land holdings. Family correspondence forms a separate subseries and is organized by correspondent. A number of letters and documents deal with lawsuits proving land title, in particular a lawsuit (circa 1880) between Columbia Hume and Cornelia Stanley, daughters of DeWitt Clinton Harris. Of interest is a series of letters written to Parmenas from Cornelia Stanley and S. W. Allen concerning Stanley's decision to leave her husband. Sixty letters to Parmenas "Bub" from his brother Birdsall "Brits" (1867-1906) illuminate Birdsall's family life, ranching experiences near Goliad, banking enterprise and failure in Floresville (1902), writing Civil War remembrances, and old age. Letters received from fellow Civil War veterans and "old-timers" discuss shared past experiences.

Thirteen financial documents related to the business dealings of P. Briscoe, Agent, Scoble & Briscoe, and the Columbia Hume legal case record a small portion of Briscoe's business dealings. The bulk of the financial documents, 133 Statements of Account and Receipts (1868-1904), record the transactions of middle class life in Houston. Of particular interest are the 97 statements of account and receipts from local businesses (1879-1889), including M. T. Jones Lumber Company, M. Mellenger & Bro., and Theodore Keller. A receipt dated July 26, 1868, for a subscription to the Ku Klux Vedette published by Jones, King, & Co., provides a clue to his political leanings after the Civil War.

Abstracts of Title, Contracts, and Deeds provide the bulk of the legal documents and concern primarily the family land holdings in Harris, San Jacinto, Bexar, Coryell, Walker, and McLellan counties in Texas. Of particular interest is a contract (1892) with H. L. Dow to build a sloop. A sketch of the sloop is included in the contract. A contract (1904) with Henry House to build houses on property owned by Parmenas includes specifications and floor plans. Included in the printed materials are a voter registration certificate (1872), a railroad pass (1893), a membership certificate from the Sons of the Republic of Texas (1893), and a newspaper article written by Parmenas, "Civil War Reminiscences," Houston Chronicle, January 29, 1905.


Organized into six series: correspondence, financial, legal, printed materials, notes/memoranda, and surveys and sketches; arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.


Restrictions on Access


Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Index Terms

Allen, S. W. (Samuel William), 1826-1888
Briscoe, Andrew Birdsall, 1841-1912
Briscoe, Mary Jane Harris, 1819-1903
Briscoe, Parmenas, 1839-1906--Archives
Stanley, Nina (Mary Cornelia Harris), b. 1852
Land tenure--Texas
Ranch life--Texas
Bexar County (Tex.)
Coryell County (Tex.)
Harris County (Tex.)
McLellan County (Tex.)
San Jacinto County (Tex.)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate
Walker County (Tex.)
Railroad passes

Archivist's Note

Other related papers from the Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection include the Mary Jane Harris Briscoe Papers, the Jessie Wade Briscoe Howe Papers, the Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers, the Briscoe Family Papers, and the Michael Looscan Papers. All photographs are located in the Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers.

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Parmenas Briscoe Papers, MC058, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Mr. and Mrs. George A. Hill, Jr., Houston Public Library, Annie Hume, 1939-1940.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2002.



Correspondence: Received
box folder
70 1 A. A. Aden 1884
2 S. W. Allen 1883-1884
3 J. R. Alford 1882-1899
4 Wharton Branch 1879
5 John S. Byson 1887-1889
6 R. E. Cook 1888-1889
7 John D. Covert 1904-1906
8 Charles Cummings 1901-1902
9 John H. Duncan 1879, undated
10 Jeff L. Ellison 1890-1894
11 J. F. Fisher 1888-1890
12 John W. Flynn 1881-1882
13 John R. Freeman 1909
14 James B. Gilmer 1881-1888
15 O. T. Goffney 1888-1901
16 J. M. Hall 1900-1907
17 W. G. Halsey 1882
18 Ludwig N. Hoefler 1901-1902
19 George W. Jackson 1887
20 John Jackson 1878
21 Stephen Jackson 1884-1897
22 J. A. Lilley 1894-1885
23 A. O. Lynn 1877-1878
24 Martin & Wescott 1880-1882
25 H. R. McClellan 1894-1895
26 W. W. McGar 1902-1903
27 P. E. McMahon 1900-1903
28 Edmund Montgomery 1878-1898
29 Elisabet Ney 1880-1883
30 Powell, Ball & Randolph 1899-1900
31 Felix Robertson 1879-1882
32 W. T. Saxon 1881-1882, undated
33 A. W. & Virginia Scoble 1880, 1904
34 S. P. Schenberger 1903
35 W. W. Simpson 1886-1904, undated
36 C. Traylor 1900
37 J. F. Winters 1900-1902
38 T. J. Woods 1900-1903
39 C. L. Wurzbach 1880
40 J. E. Wyche 1887
box folder
71 1 General A-C 1876-1902
2 General D-G 1882-1907
3 General H 1877-1902
4 General J-L 1871-1904
5 General M 1875-1908
6 General O-S 1870-1904
7 General T-Y 1875-1901
Correspondence: Received: Family
box folder
71 8 J. S. Birdsall 1869-1880
9 Andrew Birdsall Briscoe 1867-1882
10 Andrew Birdsall Briscoe 1883-1899
11 Andrew Birdsall Briscoe 1900-1906
12 Mary Jane Harris Briscoe 1870-1892, undated
13 Briscoe - General 1882-1904, undated
14 D. S. Gallagher 1885-1887
15 Anna Harris 1875-1885, undated
16 Mary Clinton Harris (Clintie) 1876-1882, undated
17 John G. Harris 1880-1882
18 Lewis Birdsall Harris 1872-1891
19 Harris - General 1884-1902, undated
20 Jessie Wade Briscoe Howe 1889
21 Adele Briscoe Looscan 1900
22 Mary Cornelia Harris Stanley (Nina) 1893-1890
23 Mildred Thatcher 1898-1900
24 S. M. Thatcher 1881-1883
25 General B-T 1851-1900
Correspondence: Received: Third Party
box folder
71 26 Third Party, Unknown Correspondent, Fragments 1867-1906, undated
Correspondence: Received: Envelopes
box folder
71 27 General 1882-1899
28 General 1900-1906, undated
Correspondence: Sent
box folder
71 29 Correspondence: Sent 1880-1905, undated


Financial: General
box folder
72 1 P. Briscoe, Agent 1872-1875
2 Scoble & Briscoe 1876-1881, undated
3 Columbia Hume, et. al. 1880-1883
4 Banking 1879-1895
5 Bills of Lading 1872-1880
6 Notes and Lists 1872-1880
7 Promissory Notes 1874-1899
Financial: Statements of Account / Receipts
box folder
72 8 A. Bering & Bro. 1883-1889
9 James Bute 1889
10 Crowley & Walsh 1883
11 H. L. Dow 1892
12 George Dumble 1880-1889
13 M. T. Jones Lumber Company 1889
14 Theodore Keller 1880-1881
15 M. Mellenger & Bro. 1879-1881
16 G. B. Mitchell & Co. 1883
17 E. H. Renisch & Co. 1883
18 M. Schmidt 1880-1881
19 M. C. Wellborn 1880-1881
20 General A-W 1868-1904


box folder
72 21 Abstracts of Title 1880-1881, undated
22 Contracts 1882-1904
23 Deeds 1883
24 General 1870, undated

Printed Materials

box folder
72 25 Printed Materials 1872-1905

Notes / Memoranda

box folder
72 26 Kiamesha B. Venchiarutti 1902, undated

Surveys and Sketches

box folder
72 27 Surveys / Sketches undated