Antonio Badillo, a Texas born Mexican, otherwise
known as a Tejano, was a surveyor who lived around Nacogdoches
in the 1830s. He also owned a few parcels of land. One parcel of land Badillo
is said to have owned is just west of Grapeland,
A two-story dogtrot style house, currently belonging to minor
heirs, stands sturdy in the Rockhill area, beneath the pineywoods, on a curvy
clay road. A native rock chimney can be seen on the left side of the structure.
Although the structure is covered in boards, the cabin was originally hand-hewn
from native logs a long, long time ago. In the left upstairs area the native logs,
thick and massive, are still intact. Logs underneath the house are said to be
entirely petrified, according to family members of the most recent inhabitants
of the house.
| In recent years,
following the death of the most recent owners, the house has been left unattended
due to a dispute over property rights, yet the structure has not wavered. Underbrush
and choking vines are beginning to encase the structure, however, the foundation
is surprisingly secure. In some areas the cracks of the floor gape wide enough
to see the logs and dirt beneath the structure, and in other areas natural light
peers through the old tin roof and the chimney.
is believed to be responsible for the still-standing cabin, which could quite
possibly be one of East Texas’ oldest
structures, and the oldest standing structure in Houston County. According to
legend and sparse records Badillo, also listed in some records as Antonio Padillo,
left East Texas in 1836 and enlisted
for six months of service with the new Republic of Texas. Badillo was among a
small handful of Tejanos who died at the Alamo
on March 6, 1836. It is believed that when Badillo decided to join the fight for
Texas’ independence and travel to the Alamo,
he deeded the Houston County property to the Sheridan family, with which he was
As of today no one has proved that the structure was constructed
in the 1830s, however, no one has proved that it was not. Other than the land’s
abstract listing, Badillo’s name only appears once in a one-time ownership. There
are very few clues to the fallen Alamo
soldier’s history in Grapeland,
"There was just not enough record keeping then," said Maxine
Moore, Chaiperson of the Houston County Historical Commission.
to members of the Musick family, the most recent owners, Mrs. Musick at one time
possessed the original deed to the property. But, in recent years, through tragic
events the deed has gone missing.
to Moore, Badillo was born in Texas. Upon arrival
to the Alamo Badillo was made a
non-commissioned sergeant in a cavalry company raised by Juan Seguin. Seguin was
a rancher and Bexar political leader who opposed Santa Anna.
alongside Seguin in siege of Bexar in 1835. The battle placed San
Antonio into Republic hands. Badillo accompanied Seguin back to the Alamo
in 1836, and there he died while Seguin and his fellow soldiers were attempting
to recruit reinforcement troops in neighboring towns of San
Badillo’s land in Houston County became Sheridan property
after his death at the Alamo. Two
Sheridan daughters later sold the property to Marvin Lee and Billie Jean Musick.
The Musicks lived on the historic property until this last decade.
|Not far from the old
dogtrot house is a rock-fenced family cemetery. A tombstone marks the graves of
William N. (Bill) Sheridan and his wife, Mary Calhoun Sheridan. Bill was born
in 1826, and died in 1918. Mary was born in 1837 and died in 1900. Other graves
in the little cemetery date back as far as 1889.
According to Moore the
cemetery is no longer a part of the dogtrot house property.
Nugent Sheridan Cemetery is some 300 yds. S of the cabin and is on land and is
on land currently owned by Darrell L. Burnett. He was the brother of John Sheridan.
His exact grave site is unknown due to destruction by a timber company. His broken
headstone is in the Augusta Cemetery at his wife's grave," said Moore.
Houston County Historical Commission would love to have this property," said Moore.
Moore explained that the Historical Commission cannot purchase property
from individuals, but asserted that the commission is currently exploring avenues
which could assist the historical commission.
"We are trying to start
a program called Friends of the Houston County Historical Commission. They could
purchase the property and would have control of the property," said Moore. Currently
the property rights are in dispute. Moore is hopeful that the dispute can be resolved
quickly in order to preserve some of the county’s oldest history. The property
has been left to minor heirs, and common ground has not been reached with guardians
of minor parties. Biological minor heirs to the property, as well as their guardian
would like the property to be obtained by the Historical Commission in order to
salvage their family history, as well as some of East
Texas' oldest history. The Houston County Historical Commission desires to
see the property maintained as well as a historical marker sign set in front of
the property to commemorate one of the oldest standing structures in Houston County.
legend of Badillo, and his East Texas
roots and lasting architecture may never be proven. Lack of records, and missing
documents have left little room for fact check, however, Badillo did make a noble
sacrifice during the battle of the
Those interested in taking an active role in the Houston County
Historical Commission in order to preserve the county's history are encouraged
to get involved. For more information regarding the Friends of the Houston County
Historical Commission call (936)-544-3255 ext. 238, or email email@example.com
for more information.
"In The Pines With
January 1, 2011 Column
Reporter of The Grapeland Messenger
also Juan's Cabin
by Bob Bowman ("All Things Historical")
| Battle of the Alamo | Grapeland,
Texas | Nacogdoches