Adele Briscoe Looscan Collection
Parmenas Briscoe Papers, Manuscript Collection: MC058
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.
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.
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Open for research by appointment.
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.
[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.
Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2002.