Posts tagged as: local lore

Jul

27
2011

St. John Colony

Marissa     General         0    

The farm is very near an area called St. John Colony.  I’d seen the signs when we first bought the farm but didn’t really know what the story was until we stopped at the historical marker across from the cemetery.  The text reads:

SAINT JOHN COLONY

This community began in the early 1870s when a group of freedmen and their families, led by Rev. John Henry Winn, relocated here from Webberville (approx 20 mi. North).  The original fourteen families purchased about 2000 acres of land to establish a town and family farms.  Originally named Winn’s Colony in honor of John H. Winn, the community name was changed to Saint John Colony after Winn organized Saint John Missionary Baptist Church in 1873.

The community grew steadily and at its peak included homes of about 100 families, farms, stores, a school, cotton gin and grist mill.  A post office, under the name Machiesville, opened in 1890 with Lewis Machey as postmaster.  Churches, in addition to Satin John Missionary Baptist, included Zion Union Missionary Baptist and Landmark Missionary Baptist.  the boundaries of the colony extended into Bastrop County.

The post office was closed in the 1920s and the school was consolidated with Lockhart shcools in 1966.  The churhces remain actrive, and the community graveyard known as SAint John Cemetery or Zion Cemetery contains the graves of many of the area’s pioneers.  Descendants of some of the founding families still reside in Saint John Colony.

 

The St. John Zion Union Baptist Church has certainly seen better days.

On the other side of a goat farm from the church is the cemetery, complete with hand painted sign.

It’s a neat little community and I’m eager to learn more about it.  There are several other churches one of which has carved marble tablets with additional local history.  I’ve not had a chance to transcribe it all because it’s worn and hard to read, but it’s on my list!

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Jun

29
2011

Lytton Springs

Marissa     General         2    

There’s a small community very near the farm called Lytton Springs.  It still has a grocer and several nice houses around the main intersection.  And its history is fascinating.

Photo by Texas Daytripper

The small community was named after John Litton, one of the old 300 brought to Texas by Stephan F. Austin.  John met Sarah Standifer during the grueling trek from Missouri to Texas.  Sarah was married 5 times.  Each time, to the same John Litton.  She was a stickler for the rules and every time the flag over Texas changed, she felt she needed to meet the new government’s marriage requirements.  John went along with the plan as any good husband should.

John soon discovered an abundant spring with a nearby prolific deer population.  He became quite well known for the tastiest venison around.  Sarah made the family a descent home from land granted them in 1841 in “Hog-eye” north of where John loved to hunt.  The community got it’s name from a fiddle tune a wandering musician played during a dance held at the Litton house.  As traffic into the new land increased, Sarah established a family grocery complete with a bar.  The area became a stop for stage coaches to switch out horses and for riders to wet their whistles.  Bowie, Crocket and Travis were known to frequent the bar with Bowie even stopping in on his way to that fateful event at the Alamo.

Sarah had fourteen children.  The first was born and died during the Runaway Scrape when so many Texans fled their homes in a panic about the Mexican Army invading the territory.  Life settled back down and she went on for another 10 year without another major child mishap.  And then her eldest was stolen by Indians!  The family and townsfolk spent all day and evening scouring the forests and fields for the missing child and culprits.  It wasn’t until the sun was sinking behind the horizon that Sarah’s tear filled eyes finally spotted two Indians approaching with her son.  But alas, he was not tortured, not terrified and not any worse for the wear!  In fact, he wore a brand new deer skin suit, made especially for him.

in 1857, John came down with what we now know was appendicitis.  Sticking to the common remedies of the day, his doctor bled him and he did not survive.  Sarah went on to raise all of her children alone while still tending the store.

As the population of the area grew and wells were dug, the water at the springs began to subside.  Eventually a pond was dug to try to entice the last of the water to the surface.  By the 1980s, only a few seeps were left.  But a large grove of old trees still marks the spot.

Information gathered from this wonderful page put together by the Lytton Study Group.

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