Stephen Samuel Perry

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Stephen Samuel Perry (1825–1874) managed Peach Point Plantation,[1] and is credited with amassing and preserving significant historical manuscripts related to Texas history.

Peach Point Plantation is an official historic landmark of Texas located in Jones Creek, but from the 1830s through the Civil War, Peach Point was an agricultural business located in Jones Creek. Peach Point was also the place Stephen F. Austin called home.[2]

As proprietor of Peach Point Plantation, Stephen S. was responsible for agricultural planning, together with financial and legal decisions related to the business as well as the homestead. Stephen S. was advised by Mordello Munson.[2] Stephen S. opted to focus on sugar cane growth in the 1850s.[3]

In the process of decades of responsible management and communication, Stephen S. received and cataloged original source papers and manuscripts of early Texas history.

James F. and Stephen S. Perry Papers[edit]

Named in part for Stephen Samuel Perry, whose grandson by exactly the same name[4] donated them, one of the key sets of historical accounts of early Texas history is kept at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. These are called the James F. and Stephen S. Perry Papers, 1785-1942.[1] Stephen Samuel Perry maintained extensive records of communications related to the management of not only the plantation, but also land deeds, growth, and the very settlement of Texas in the 1800s. In fact, the archives and manuscripts presented to the school were so extensive that they are officially measured as 13 feet, 9 inches in width.[5] In fact, virtually all books related to Stephen F. Austin or settlement of Texas footnote or reference the James F. and Stephen S. Perry Papers.

As described by the library catalog, "Papers of Perry and his son Stephen Samuel Perry and their extended families cover significant events in Texas history from the early years of colonization up to the twentieth century. Collection relates to Stephen F. Austin's land holdings, James Franklin Perry's mercantile business and other family-related business enterprises, the establishment and operation of Peach Point Plantation, and the daily concerns of paternalistic slaveholders who found it difficult to make ends meet raising cotton, corn, and sugar; to educate their children where there were no public schools; and to handle chronic health problems. The papers accentuate the contrast between life in various sections of the United States since the Perrys traveled for business, health reasons, and pleasure; attended schools in Ohio, Connecticut, and Virginia; and corresponded with and visited relatives in the northeast as well as Ohio, Iowa, and Missouri."[5]

The "James F." in the title refers to James Franklin Perry, second husband to Emily Austin Perry.

James and Emily Austin Perry Papers[edit]

Professor of History, Light Townsend Cummins, of Austin College, the official Historian of the State of Texas at the time of this writing, points out that despite her important participation in and contributions to Texas history, there is no collection of letters archived under Emily's name; rather, the collection archived in the 1930s was titled for her husband and son, "the James F. and Stephen S. Perry Papers." Cummins, who has reviewed the papers housed at the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, notes that this collection includes "as much of Emily's letters, documents, and papers as those of her husband and son."[6]:227- FN5 Cumins points out that the archive was named in the 1930s, and were they named under archiving standards in 2009, they would very likely instead have been called, "The James and Emily Austin Perry Papers."[6]:227- FN5

Family[edit]

Stephen is the son of James F. Perry and Emily Austin Perry, and grandson to Moses Austin and Maria Brown Austin, and nephew of Stephen F. Austin. Stephen is the half-brother of Guy Morrison Bryan, William Joel Bryan and Moses Austin Bryan. Stephen attended school taught by Thomas J. Pilgrim.

Stephen married Sarah McLean Brown (September 18, 1830 - August 4, 1888) on April 5, 1853.[7] Sarah was born in Delaware, Ohio and died at Peach Point Plantation.[7] Sarah's parents were H.J.L. and R. P. Brown.[8] Sarah is also buried at Gulf Prairie Cemetery.[7] Stephen and Sarah had a child named James Franklin Perry on July 29, 1854.[9] James Franklin Perry married Catherine H. Morris (February 20, 1855 - January 25, 1935). James and Catherine had three children including a distinct person named "Stephen Samuel Perry" [9] who also managed Peach Point Plantation.

Storm, Structures, and Trees[edit]

With the birth of each of his children, Stephen Samuel Perry planted an oak tree on the property.[10] Peach Point was virtually destroyed in a variety of storms including hurricanes such as in 1909.[11] Though the Hurricane of 1900 and the Grand Isle Hurricane of 1909 destroyed many structures at the Plantation, two of these oak trees (quercus virginiana) still survive in the present era.[10]

Death[edit]

Stephen Samuel Perry was born June 24, 1825 in Potosi, Missouri and died September 5, 1874 in Brazoria, Texas.[12]

Stephen Samuel Perry is buried at Gulf Prairie Cemetery located in Jones Creek, Texas.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00543/cah-00543.html
  2. ^ a b http://www.munsons-of-texas.net/c11.html
  3. ^ http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/acp01
  4. ^ Notes from talk by Light T. Cummins on January 28, 2010, Brazoria County Historical Museum, Angleton Texas
  5. ^ a b http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txgalves/bibliographies.html
  6. ^ a b Cummins, Light Townsend (2009). Emily Austin Of Texas (1795-1851). TCU Press. ISBN 978-0-87565-351-8. 
  7. ^ a b c http://www.bchm.org/gene/d0000/g0001600.html#I581
  8. ^ Stirpes, Volumes 5-7 By Texas State Genealogical Society, p. 49
  9. ^ a b Stirpes, Volumes 5-7 By Texas State Genealogical Society, p. 52
  10. ^ a b http://famoustreesoftexas.tamu.edu/TreeHistory.aspx?TreeName=Peach%20Point%20Oaks
  11. ^ http://www.bchm.org/photos/p381.html
  12. ^ "Stephen Samuel Perry". Brazoria County Historical Museum. Retrieved 28 Feb 2010. 
  13. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSsr=81&GScid=2151129&GRid=14014300&

Further reading[edit]

  • Marie Beth Jones, Peach Point Plantation: The First 150 Years (Waco: Texian Press, 1982), ISBN 0-9630042-0-4.
  • James Franklin and Stephen Samuel Perry Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. E. W. Winkler, ed.