Contact Us

Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Jefferson County Commissioners Court ferry records, 1838-1881, undated, bulk 1847-1876,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Jefferson County (Tex.) Commissioners Court:

An Inventory of Jefferson County Commissioners Court Ferry Records at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Archives, 1838-1881, undated, bulk 1847-1876



Overview

Creator: Jefferson County (Tex.) Commissioners Court.
Title: Jefferson County Commissioners Court ferry records
Dates: 1838-1881, undated
bulk 1847-1876
Abstract: Jefferson County Commissioners Court ferry records document the board of commissioners' or commissioners court's issuance of licenses for ferry boat operations on the Neches and Sabine Rivers in Jefferson County, Texas. The records include petitions and bonds filed by individuals for ferry licenses, ferry licenses granted by the commissioners court, a set of minutes from an 1838 county commissioners meeting with agenda items pertaining to ferry operations, and receipts signed by the tax assessor-collector for payment for ferry licenses. The records date from 1838 to 1881 and undated, with the bulk dating 1847 to 1876.
Quantity: 0.2 cubic ft.
Location: These records are housed at the Sam Houston Regional Library & Research Center, P.O. Box 310, Liberty, Texas 77575, 936-336-8821.
Language: These materials are in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Agency History

The Congress of the Republic of Texas created Jefferson County in 1836, and it was organized the following year. A town of the same name originally served as the county seat and had been named in honor of Thomas Jefferson. Beaumont became the county seat in 1838. Jefferson County is situated in the Coastal Plain region of southeastern Texas, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and surrounded by Orange, Hardin, Liberty, and Chambers counties. According to the 2010 census, the county's population was 252,273.

In Texas, county administration has been performed by various official entities since the Republic. Prior to 1845, the chief governing body was the county board, composed of the chief justice of the county court and the justices of the peace of the county. Under the constitutions of 1845, 1861, and 1866, it was composed of the chief justice and four elective commissioners; under the 1869 Constitution, it was made up of any three of the five justices of the peace of the county. Under the Constitution of 1876, the county commissioners' court or county board was composed of the county judge, as presiding officer, and four commissioners elected from precincts for two-year terms. A constitutional amendment adopted in 1954 changed the term of office to four years.

The commissioners' court's duties include establishment of a courthouse and jail, appointment of numerous minor officials such as the county health officer, filling vacancies in the county offices, letting contracts in the name of the county, building and maintenance of roads and bridges, administration of the county's public welfare services, numerous duties regarding elections, setting the county tax rate, issuance of bonds, adoption of the county budget, issuing licenses for operation of ferry boats, and serving as a board of equalization for tax assessments.

(Sources include: Smith, Dick. "County Commissioners' Court" and "County Organization"; and Kleiner, Diana J. "Jefferson County," Handbook of Texas Online, all accessed March 6, 2017.)

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Contents of the Records

These records document the board of commissioners' or commissioners court's issuance of licenses for ferry boat operations on the Neches and Sabine Rivers in Jefferson County, Texas. They include petitions and bonds filed by individuals for ferry licenses, ferry licenses granted by the commissioners court, a set of minutes from an 1838 county commissioners meeting with agenda items pertaining to ferry operations, and receipts signed by the tax assessor-collector for payment for ferry licenses. The records date from 1838 to 1881 and undated, with the bulk dating 1847 to 1876.

The records include names and locations of ferries on the Neches and Sabine Rivers in Jefferson County and rates charged for ferry transportation. They document the activities of numerous early citizens of the Jefferson County area, including William Ashworth, a free African-American who operated a ferry on Lake Sabine and the Neches River; Nancy Tevis Hutchinson, one of the first Anglo settlers of Jefferson County and one of the founders of Beaumont, Texas; and the Collier family (John, Parsons, and Parsons' wife Ellen), who operated Collier's ferry on the Neches River for many years. The records also document the operation of ferries in Jefferson County by several women, including Nancy Hutchinson, Ellen Collier, and Thirza Chessher (wife of James Chessher).

Return to the Table of Contents


Arrangement of the Records

The records have been arranged in seven groups by document type: petitions and applications for ferry licenses; application for approval of a wharf extension; bonds; ferry licenses; minutes of the county commissioners pertaining to ferry operations; power of attorney; and receipts. Within these groups, records are arranged alphabetically by surname.

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center reading room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas county agencies are not copyrighted. County records also include materials received by, not created by, county agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Some materials are too fragile to be photocopied. Please see Archives staff for assistance.

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects (Persons):
Ashworth, William, 1793?-1864.
Collier, Ellen R., 1808-1890.
Collier, John, Sr., 1802-1857.
Collier, Parsons, 1801-1867.
Hutchinson, Nancy, 1795-1863.
Subjects:
African Americans--Texas, East--History.
Rivers--Texas--Navigation.
Transportation--Texas--Beaumont--History.
Women--Texas--History--19th century.
Places:
Jefferson County (Tex.)--History.
Neches River Region (Tex.)--History, Local.
Sabine River (Tex. and La.)--Navigation.
Document Types:
Bonds (legal records)--Texas.
Licenses--Texas.
Minutes (administrative records)--Texas.
Petitions--Texas.
Powers of attorney--Texas.
Receipts (financial records)--Texas.

Return to the Table of Contents


Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center
Jefferson County (Tex.) Commissioners Court minutes, 1838-1845, 0.15 cubic ft. [These materials are unprocessed. Contact Archives staff for assistance.]
Jefferson County District Court civil case files, 1840-1911, bulk 1900-1909, 114 cubic ft.

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Jefferson County Commissioners Court ferry records, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1981.049

These records were transferred to the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center by the County Clerk of Jefferson County on November 16, 1981.

Processing Information

Processed by Sam Houston Center staff, date unknown

Updated by Lisa Meisch, March-April 2016

EAD encoding by Caitlin Burhans, December 2016

Return to the Table of Contents


Other Finding Aids

An index of all geographic names, corporate names and surnames referenced in the finding aid tying names to document numbers is available in the Sam Houston Center reading room. Copies are available upon request.

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Records

Jefferson County Commissioners Court ferry records, 1838-1881, undated, bulk 1847-1876,
0.2 cubic ft.

Box Folder-Item
1981.049-1 Petitions and applications for ferry licenses
1-1 Petition of William Ashworth and William C. Beard to permit Beard to join Ashworth in the operation of his ferry on the Neches River, June 9, 1845
1-2 Application of T.C. Chaisser (Chessher) for renewal of her license to operate Chaisser's (Chessher's) ferry across Pine Island Bayou, February 1, 1866
1-3 Application of James Chessher to establish a public road from Beaumont to the county line in the direction of Town Bluff on the Neches River and for a license for a ferry at the crossing of Pine Island Bayou on said road, May 10, 1847
1-4 Petition of James Chessher for a license for a ferry on and across Pine Island Bayou on the route leading from Beaumont to Brown's ferry on Village Creek and at the place now in his possession, November 17, 1847
1-5 Petition of Thirza Chessher for renewal of her license to keep a ferry across Pine Island Bayou on the Woodville Road from Beaumont, February 15, 1864
1-6 Application of Thirza Chessher for renewal of her ferry license, February 8, 1867
1-7 Application of Thirza Chessher for renewal of her license for the Chessher ferry, April 4, 1868
1-8 Application and bond of Thirza Chessher for renewal of her license for her ferry on Pine Island Bayou opposite the town of Concord, signed by Chessher, A.J. Tevis and Margaret Tevis, January 1, 1872
1-9 Petition of E.R. Collier for renewal of her license for a ferry across the Neches River at Collier's ferry, September 26, 1870
2-1 Application of E.R. Collier for a ferry on the Neches River, January 17, 1876
2-2 Application of Ellen R. Collier for renewal of her license for Collier's ferry, January 4, 1869
2-3 Application of John Collier for a license for a ferry at Grigsby's Bluff above Beaumont on the Neches River, May 17, 1852
2-4 Petition of Parsons Collier for a renewal of his license for a ferry across the Neches River at Collier's Ferry, February 15, 1864
2-5 Application of Elon (Ellen) R. Collier, administrator of the estate of John Collier, deceased, for renewal of the license for Collier's Ferry, January 4, 1868
2-6 Application of Benjamin Granger for a license for the Sabine Pass ferry at Sabine Pass, October 20, 1876
2-7 Petition of Ursan Guidry for a license for Ballew's ferry on the Sabine River, previously owned and operated by Richard Ballew and Andrew R. Jones, signed by Benjamin C. Franklin as attorney for the petitioner, November 17, 1851
2-8 Petition of Ursan Guidry for a license for a ferry across the Sabine River at Ballew Crossing, May 12, 1851
2-9 Petition of Nancy Hutchinson for renewal of her license for a ferry on the Neches River near the northwestern end of the town of Beaumont, January 11, 1847
2-10 Petition of Nancy Hutchinson requesting the commissioners to order William Ashworth and William C. Beard to cease the operation of their ferry at the same location as petitioner's ferry (across the Neches River at the upper or northwestern end of Beaumont), July 12, 1847
3-1 Petition of Nancy Hutchinson for renewal of her license for her ferry on the Neches River at the north end of the town of Beaumont, August 14, 1852
3-2 Application of John C. Kucher for a ferry over Cow Bayou, December 16, 1850
3-3 Petition of Henry Millard for a license for a ferry located opposite Grigsby's on Pine Bluff, on the east side of the Neches River about four or five miles above the town of Beaumont, "for the convenience and benefit of travelers on a road direct from Beaumont to Grant's Bluff in Jasper County," December 29, 1841
3-4 Petition of John and Augustin Montez (Monte) for a license for a ferry on the east bank of the Neches River opposite Grigsby's Bluff, June 28, 1842
3-5 Petition of John and Augustin Monte for a license for a ferry on the Neches River near their residence and near the mouth of Allen's Bayou and the place known as Allen's Landing, January 5, 1846
3-6 Petition of John and Augustin Monte requesting the county court to appoint persons to view a road to cross the Neches River at the mouth of George Allen's Bayou and the residence of the petitioner, November 6, 1867
[Petitioner suggests John Turner, George Allen, Stephen L. Smith and John Monte as viewers.]
3-7 Petition of F.W. Ogden for a license for a ferry across Village Creek near John Houston's, formerly known as Brown's Ferry, May 21, 1849
3-8 Application of George Pominoy and Benjamin Granger for a ferry across Sabine Pass from Lots No. 6, 7, 8, and 9 in Block One (1), ___ One (1), May 15, 1871
[Signed by their attorneys, Likens and O'Brien. Application also signed by J.W. Dorman, James McCall, T.B. Whiting, Wesley Garner, N.S. Greenwood, William Allison, Sidney Sweet, J.G.D. Murray, N. McGaffey. F.C.M. Reynolds, G.W. Hawley, and T.R. Buford.]
3-9 Petition of James H. Robbins, signed by F.W. Ogden, for a license for a ferry across the Neches River at Grigsby's Pine Bluff at "Montie's" (Monte's?) old crossing, January 10, 1868
3-10 Application of John Sparks for a license for a ferry across Taylor's Bayou, February 27, 1847
4-1 Petition of John Sparks requesting that the license for his ferry across Taylor's Bayou (at the place where the public road leading from Beaumont to Sabine Pass crosses said Bayou) be rescinded and that he be released from his bond, May 20, 1850
4-2 Application of Andrew J. Tevis requesting the county court to revoke the ferry license of L.T. Yates (who died on February 2, 1869) at Pine Island Bayou and grant the same to petitioner, April 5, 1869
4-3 Application of Lemuel T. Yates for a license for a ferry over Pine Island Bayou at the place now known as Goodins Ferry near the mouth of said bayou, January 14, 1869
[R.H. Leonard signed for the applicant.]
Application for approval of a wharf extension
5-1 Application of A.B. Chamberlin, M.D., for extension of a wharf in front of a quarantine station so that the station and hospital can be used during low water, undated
Bonds
6-1 Bond of James Chessher for renewal of his license for a ferry on the Beaumont and Woodville public road across the Pine Island Bayou, June 8, 1839
[G. Landrum and L. O'Bryan, sureties.]
6-2 Bond of James Chessher for a license for a ferry across Pine Island Bayou on the public road leading from Beaumont to Brown's Ferry on Village Creek, January 10, 1848
[William Armstrong and David Burrell, sureties.]
6-3 Bond of James Chessher for renewal of his license for a ferry across Pine Island Bayou at the Woodville Road, July 8, 1857
6-4 Bond of James Chessher for renewal of his license for Chessher's ferry across Pine Island Bayou on the train road from Beaumont to Woodville, October 8, 1860
[John W. Patridge and J.K. Robertson, sureties.]
6-5 Bond of Thirza Chessher for a license for a ferry across Pine Island Bayou where the public road from Beaumont to Woodville crosses the stream, June 24, 1867
[P.D. Bullock and Isaiah Junker, sureties.]
6-6 Bond of Thirza Chessher for a license for a ferry across Pine Island Bayou where the public road from Beaumont to Woodville crosses the stream, June 1868
[______ Bulloch and Isaiah Junker, sureties.]
7-1 Bond of E.R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River four miles north of Beaumont, known and licensed as Collier's ferry, January 1872
[Starling Collier, L.T. Ogden, and J.B. Langham, sureties.]
7-2 Bond of E.R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River four miles north of Beaumont, known and licensed as Collier's ferry, March 31, 1873
[J.B. Langham, E.C. Ogden, Starling Collier, and A.R. McLain, sureties.]
7-3 Bond of E.R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River four miles north of Beaumont, known and licensed as Collier's ferry, July 22, 1874
[Starling Collier, A.R. McLain, and W.F. Gilbert, sureties.]
7-4 Bond of E.R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River four miles north of Beaumont, known and licensed as Collier's ferry, January 1, 1875
[John Collier, L. Ogden, and Mark Wiez (?), sureties.]
7-5 Bond of E.R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River four miles above the town of Beaumont, known and licensed as Collier's ferry, February 5, 1876
[G.W. O'Brien, John Collier, and R.L. Adcock, sureties.]
7-6 Bond of E.R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River at the place known and licensed as Collier's ferry, January 1878
[A.R. McLain and George W. O'Brien, sureties.]
7-7 Bond of Ellen R. Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River, licensed as Collier's ferry, on the road leading from Beaumont to Wiess Bluff, February 14, 1881
[C.C. Cantwell, H.E. Simpson, and R.L. Adcock, sureties.]
7-8 Bond of John Collier for a license for a ferry across the Neches River about five miles above the town of Beaumont at the place known as Grigsby's Bluff, May 18, 1852
[Worthy Patridge and Daniel Spillars, sureties.]
7-9 Bond of John Collier for renewal of his license for a ferry across the Neches River about five miles above the town of Beaumont, February 18, 1857
[John W. Patridge and John K. Robertson, sureties.]
7-10 Bond of Joseph and Nancy Hutchinson of one part, and William Ashworth and William C. Beard of the other part, to submit their lawsuit to arbitrators and abide by their decision, January 24, 1846
[Charles Williams and Nathan Holbert, arbitrators.]
8-1 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for a ferry across the Neches River at Beaumont, September 7, 1838
[Noah Tevis and A.J. Tevis, sureties.]
8-2 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for a ferry on the Neches River opposite the northwest end of Beaumont and on the road from Beaumont to Ballew's Ferry on the Sabine River, January 13, 1847
[David Burrell and J.P. Pulsifer, sureties.]
8-3 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for a ferry on the Neches River at the point where the main road crosses from Wolf Point to Ballew's Ferry on the Sabine River, July 10, 1848
[Joseph P. Pulsifer and George W. Tevis, sureties.]
8-4 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for a ferry across the Neches River at the north end of the town of Beaumont where the public road leading from Ballew's old Ferry on the Sabine River to the town of Liberty crosses said river, August 20, 1850
[Andrew J. Tevis, George Burrell, and Worthy Patridge, sureties.]
8-5 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for a ferry across the Neches at the north end of the town of Beaumont where the public road leading from Ballew's old Ferry on the Sabine River to the town of Liberty crosses said river, August 18, 1851
[D.J. Otho Millard and Andrew J. Tevis, sureties.]
8-6 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for renewal of her license for her ferry across the Neches River at the north or upper end of the town of Beaumont, November 11, 1854
[Andrew J. Tevis and G.W. Tevis, sureties.]
8-7 Bond of Nancy Hutchinson for renewal of her license for her ferry across the Neches River at the north end of Beaumont on the road leading from Ballew's Old Ferry on the Sabine River to Liberty, February 18, 1857
[Andrew J. Tevis and Noah Tevis, sureties.]
8-8 Bond of A.R. Jones for a ferry across the Sabine River at Ballew's Old Crossing, November 17, 1851
8-9 Bond of John C. Kucher for a ferry at Cow Bayou, November 20, 1848
[Abraham Winfree and William Lewis, sureties.]
8-10 Bond of John C. Kucher for a ferry at Cow Bayou, August 22, 1849
[Larkin R. Thomas, security.]
9-1 Bond of A. McClurg for a ferry across the Pine Island Bayou opposite the town of Concord, formerly known as Chessher's Ferry, June 15, 1876
[I.M.H. Fant, George W. O’Brien, R.H. Leonard, O.P. Gilder, and W.J. Givin, sureties.]
9-2 Bond of John Monty (Monte?) and Augustus Monty (Monte?) for a ferry across the Neches River at Smith's Bluff, February 18, 1851
[Worthy Patridge and John A. Beaumont, sureties.]
9-3 Bond of F.W. Ogden for a ferry across Village Creek on the public road from Town Bluff to Beaumont at the place formerly known as Brown's Ferry, February 20, 1850
[Cave Johnson and Worthy Patridge, sureties.]
9-4 Bond of Andrew J. Tevis for a ferry across the Neches River at the mouth of Pine Island Bayou, May 27, 1871
[H.C. Smith and Henry J. Jones, sureties.]
9-5 Bond of F.C. Womack for a ferry across Pine Island at the place heretofore licensed as Chessher's Ferry, January 1, 1878
[F.A. LeBleu and I.G. Womack, sureties.]
9-6 Bond of Frank Womack for a ferry on Pine Island Bayou on the road leading from Beaumont to Hardin, January 8, 1881
[C.C. Canwell and L.G. Womack, sureties.]
Ferry licenses
10-1 License granted to William Ashworth for a ferry over the two bayous and the Neches River, March 1, 1838
10-2 License granted to James Chessher for a ferry across Pine Island Bayou on the road from Beaumont to Woodville at the place known as Chessher's Ferry, March 5, 1862
10-3 License granted to Parsons Collier for a ferry across the Neches River at the place formerly known as Grigsby's Bluff five miles north of Beaumont, March 24, 1860
Minutes of the County Commissioners pertaining to ferry operations
11-1 Minutes recording the county commissioners' approval of Nancy Tevis' ferry license petition and their approval of ferry charges requested by William Ashworth, February 27, 1838
[Henry Millard, president of the commissioners; Clark Beach, J.C. Read, G.A. Pattillo, and William H. Ireon (?), members.]
Power of attorney
12-1 Power of attorney to George Bryan from Henry Millard, appointing Bryan to sign Millard's name and affix his seal to any instrument required by the county court and give any security necessary to receive a license to keep a ferry across the Neches River, December 30, 1841
Receipts
13-1 Receipt to Parsons Collier from John W. Patridge, assessor and collector, for payment of $12.50 for a ferry license in Jefferson County for one year, February 20, 1862
13-2 Receipt to G.W. O'Bryan for James Chessher from John W. Patridge, assessor and collector, for payment of $12.50 for a ferry license in Jefferson County for one year, March 11, 1862
13-3 Receipt to H.E. Simpson for Mrs. "Hutchisin" (probably Nancy Tevis Hutchinson), from John W. Patridge, assessor and collector, for payment of $12.50 for a ferry license in Jefferson County for one year, February 24, 1862

Return to the Table of Contents