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News from Lake Creek Settlement

 

The Day Book of Charles B. Stewart

 

By Kameron Searle

 

Within the collections of the Texas State Library and Archives in Austin are the “Charles Bellinger Stewart Papers.”  Within the “Charles Bellinger Stewart Papers” is the business notebook of Charles B. Stewart.  The title of this business notebook is “Day Book from 1836-1852” (hereafter Day Book).  In his Day Book, Charles B. Stewart kept track of all his daily business dealings during the years 1836 to 1852.  This book is very important to any study of the history of the Lake Creek Settlement, the founding of the Town of Montgomery or the early history of Montgomery County. 

In a previous article, I wrote about Charles B. Stewart’s marriage to Julia Shepperd in the Lake Creek Settlement on March 11, 1836 while he was serving as a delegate to the Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos during the darkest days of the Texas Revolution.  It is clear from Stewart’s Day Book that following the Texas Revolution; Stewart was engaged in business throughout Stephen F. Austin’s former colony.  One of the places he regularly conducted business was the Lake Creek Settlement.  In his Day Book, the term Stewart used to describe the Lake Creek Settlement was “Lake Creek.”

Before the Town of Montgomery was founded on July 8, 1837, Stewart always referred to the area in and around what is now the town of Montgomery as Lake Creek.  In fact the term Montgomery does not appear in Stewart’s Day Book to describe any place before July 8, 1837.  Following the founding of the Town of Montgomery, Stewart begins to refer to the area as Montgomery.

As early as June 1836 (and probably earlier), C. B. Stewart was transacting business with W. W. Shepperd at his store in Lake Creek.  Stewart dealt in dry goods of many different varieties and was also a pharmacist.  He was a very active land speculator as well.  Many of his real estate customers were the early settlers and residents of the Lake Creek Settlement.  Owen Shannon and Margaret Shannon’s son-in-law, Charles Garrett, is mentioned in a number of land transactions in partnership with C. B. Stewart in Lake Creek on pages 34 and 35 of Stewart’s Day Book.

Here are a few examples of “Lake Creek” entries in Stewart’s Day Book:  

  1. “Lake Creek January 5, 1837 Capt. Crane paid me in full-2.00.”
  2. “Wm Landrum self Lake Creek Feby. 28, 1837.  To advice and prescription for wife this date $2.00. To advice and directions day after - $1.00.”
  3. “Contracted in name Garrett and Stewart with Ransom Fultons of Lake Creek to do his land business.  All that Government may give to him on the halves.  He was not here at the Declaration of Independence but came to Texas in Novr 1836.”
  4. “Drew on Judge Hall to be paid out of my store in favor of the order of Chas Garrett for three hundred Dollars in 4 Dfts for $50 each and 4 Dfts for $25 each.  These to be given as premiums on joint a/c to persons who may wish their lands cleared out. Should Mr Garrett pay me the cash for one half of each or all of these Dfts the goods advanced upon the said half shall be put to him at cost and cartage and Should he pay property upon paying my half in cash I am to have my half in the same manner. Lake Creek March 15, 1837 C. B. Stewart”

Perhaps someone in the Montgomery County Genealogical and Historical Society will one day make a project of Charles B. Stewart’s Day Book.  This is a fabulous untapped Montgomery County historical resource that is just as important as the deed records, court records and probate records that the Society has previously transcribed or abstracted.  Stewart’s Day Book includes many details of the early history of Montgomery County found nowhere else.  Outside of his personal letters, his Day Book is probably as close as we will ever get to a diary for Charles B. Stewart (first Secretary of State of Texas, signer of the Declaration of Independence, signer of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, designer of the Lone Star, etc.).

Kameron K. Searle is an attorney in Houston, Texas who has thoroughly researched the history of the Lake Creek Settlement and the early history of Montgomery County for the last eight years.  For more information about the Lake Creek Settlement, go to the TexasHistoryPage.Com .

 

This article originally appeared in the February 11, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County News.

 

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