TE Photo, 11-02
was the first county seat of Brazos County. The former town site is now inside
a well-maintained cemetery next to a subdivison called Austin’s Colony just East
of Bryan on
highway 6. |
A Texas Centennial granite monument.sits on a grassy lawn behind a tall iron fence.
Although the large gate for vehicles is locked, the pedestrian gate is to the
right. A sliding-bolt latch on the cemetery side opens it. Parking is adequate
for six cars.
marker acknowledging Boonville’s existence. TE Photo, 11-02|
the cemetery are about 150 graves – most of them well-defined family plots and
shaded by old cedar trees. One of the largest of these family plots is for the
family of Harvey Mitchell
– the namesake of Harvey, Texas and the man known as “The Father of Brazos County.”
- another former town between Boonville and Bryan has been absorbed by Bryan.
grave of Harvey Mitchell in the Mitchell Family plot |
TE Photo, 11-02
History in a Pecan Shell
A committee of six men, including William T. Millican, (Millican, Texas) Joseph
Ferguson (whose cabin was the first county courthouse) and Mordecai Boon, Sr.
(the namesake of Boonville) was appointed by The Republic of Texas Congress to
select 150 acres from the John Austin league to be the county seat.
committee purchased the land for $1.00 per acre from William and Elizabeth Pierpont
and deeded it to the County (then Navasota County) on July 30, 1841. The county
name was changed in 1842 to Brazos County.
The town was built around
a square, with space intended for a courthouse and was named after Mordecai Boon,
who was a nephew of the Kentucky hero Daniel Boone.
felt the need for a jail over a courthouse and built one in 1843 while renting
a building for use as a courthouse. The new courthouse was completed by 1846,
and although it was a modest one-story wood frame building, it was the site of
political speeches, religious sermons, and dances. It also served as a school
By 1850 Boonville was an overnight stop for the stage from
Houston. The town enjoyed prosperity
from 1842 to 1861. After the Civil War when railroad expansion picked up where
it left off – The Houston and Texas Central Railway extended from Millican to
Bryan . Rather
than fight to keep the county seat, an election was held in the fall of 1866 and
Bryan won – supported by Boonville citizens who started moving near the railroad.
Later that year mail was routed through Bryan
which punctuated the end of Boonville.
Boonville also contributed the
Courthouse Cedar. This tree – now down to one lone branch (2002) has stood
near 6 different courthouses. It was transplanted to it’s present location by
Harvey Mitchell – the “Father of Brazos County.”
Texas | Bryan
Subject: Boonville, Texas
During the early 1980's we were residents of
Houston, Tx. We were amateur treasure hunters and belonged to a club know as "The
Gulf Coast Historical Preservation Society"
In order to enter and hunt
an area someone from our club would contact the owners of said property and arrangements
were made for the members to hunt this site.
Sometime in either 1982-1984
we traveled one Sunday to a fenced in area which was told to us was the former
town of "Boonville". All that was in this area were several head of cattle and
a few horses.
There were about two dozen of us and we found many artifacts
including lead shot (ammo), gate or perhaps house or barn door hinges, and numerous
other metal artifacts.
We were told that the town of Boonville was a
thriving community in the 1800's and that when the railroads started criss-crossing
the U.S. agents preceded the laying of the tracks and solicited funds from the
townfolk to help pay the cost. The citizenry of Boonville felt no need for a railroad
and voted against any such outlay of funds.
The tracks were coming nevertheless,
and the R.R. VIP's decided to lay their tracks some distance west of Boonville
and bypass the town. How far this was is anybodie's guess but it was about a mile
After the trains started running, some of the local businessmen
built warehouses near the tracks and made arrangements for pickups and deliveries.
Soon afterward other businesses did the same. This induced the entire town, after
a period of time, to move near the rail line. Thus the birth of what is known
today as Bryan,
Whether the preceding is true or not, it makes a lot of sense
and we enjoyed our day in a ghost town called Boonville. - Charles & Marion
Van Tornhout, Killeen, Tx, September 18, 2005