Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


Robert E. Lee’s Piece of God’s Country - Robert E. Lee - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rate Topic 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Wed Apr 4th, 2007 09:11 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
David White
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

If you travel south on State Highway 211 from San Geronimo, Texas (About 25 miles northwest of San Antonio) you will travel past two small subdivisions on the east side of the road.  Exactly half way between the entrances to these two subdivisions (just north of the dirt road that comes in from the west) if you pulled to the side of the road, you would be sitting in the middle of what was once a 640 acre plat of land owned by Robert E. Lee. 

 

Lee purchased the property on May 12, 1856 while he was at Camp Cooper, Texas in what is today far south Throckmorton County (near Ft. Griffin).  Lee paid $210.00 for the land and owned it until his death in October 1870. His oldest son, George Washington Custis Lee disposed of the property as the executor of his father’s estate in 1874 through the law firm of J.F. Minter of San Antonio who sold the property under a Power of Attorney from G.W.C. Lee. The property was sold to a Mr. Peter Gallagher for the sum of $277.50, netting for the estate a profit of $67.50. 

 

A file in the Texas State Land Office for the property contains documents with the signatures of two Confederate generals, Custis’ and Robert’s.  It is probably one of the few files in the land office to contain the signature of two Confederate generals, let alone the signature of the highest ranking general of the Confederate Army. 

 

The plat was perfectly square.  This Google Earth view shows the north and south boundaries of the property pretty much to scale but you have to lop off the edges of this view.  SH 211 cuts right through the center of the plat and it included the two subdivisions seen on the east side of the highway.  I believe the western border went out to just beyond the butte in the view:  

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=helotes,+texas&layer=&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1&z=15&ll=29.590177,-98.779922&spn=0.016756,0.043001&iwloc=addr

 

Few historians have been aware of Lee owning this property, although his great biographer Douglas Southall Freeman discovered it during his research.  The purchase probably does not get mentioned in any of his biographies because Lee never used the land or ever mentioned it in his correspondence.  No record has been found of what plans he had for the property.

 

Had he been living there last week, I’m sure he would be rejoicing with other residents of the area that the Helotes brush pile fire is finally out.  Although he probably wouldn’t have suffered too much from the smell, since the prevailing winds make this property upwind of the brush pile site.

 



You have chosen to ignore JDC Duncan. click Here to view this post


 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2007 03:34 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
David White
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Duncan:

We don't even know if he saw the land, he might have bought it sight unseen but he did travel to San Antonio quite a bit while he was stationed in Texas so he might have.  I'm guessing it was just a real estate investment on his part and he was just smarter than Phil Sheridan and recognized the greatness that is Texas ;).

What I wrote is about what is known, no name, no plans, no use in his lifetime. 

Of course this is close to San Antonio with all of it's great history and sites-- The Alamo, San Fernando Cathedral (where Santa Anna raised the flag of no quarter and the ashes of the Alamo defenders are located), three more terrific and beautiful missions, Ft. Sam Houston where you can still see the old fort and the tower from which Geronimo leaped in an attempt to escape that gave rise to the airborne cry of "Geronimo!"  Near La Vallita you can still see the  Cypress Tree that a Mexican sniper was sitting in when he shot Ben Milam, the only casualty of the December 1835 Texian assault that captured the Alamo from General Cos.  In La Vallita you can see the Vermandi House site where he was killed (the home of Jim Bowie's in-laws) and the old door to the house is at the Alamo where you can still see the bullet hole made by the musket ball that passed through Milam's head.  Of course the closest tourista sites to the old Lee property is the former Fiesta Texas, now Six Flags and Sea World, which are just mintues away. 

Even closer is the Helotes rubbish pile, which I hear is quite a site in itself but I haven't seen it yet ;) and Government Canyon State Recreation Area, which is due west of the property by only a few miles.

Other rural pursuits are available at nearby Bandera (Cowboy Capital of the World, or at least one of 20 towns inthe world that claim that title) and along the Medina River.

While you were at Ft. McKavett, did you swing by Menard to see the old Spanish Presidio and canals?  That is pretty interesting to see and know this was all built by them so far out on the frontier long before San Antonio was even founded.



You have chosen to ignore JDC Duncan. click Here to view this post


 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2007 10:32 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
Widow
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 19th, 2006
Location: Oakton, Fairfax County, VA
Posts: 321
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

JD wrote:I wonder if, after The War, he ever thought about coming out here ?Lee fell in love with the West, during his assignments there.

In "Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee," by his son Captain Robert E. Lee, Jr., Marse Robert spoke several times of his wish to buy a small farm and take up the peaceful life of a farmer after the war.  Of course, he'd already lost Arlington.

He was offered the presidency of Washington College in Lexington, and was torn between his private wish and his duty.  He believed that healing the country depended on having educated young people, so he accepted the position and gave up the idea of farming.

That didn't stop him, however, from lecturing his sons about how to fertilize and plant, etc.  Robert Jr. bought a run-down place near White House Landing on the York River.  He struggled with poor soil and bad luck, never really made a go of it.  Hence he got a large collection of paternal advice from the would-be farmer.

Just another side of that most fascinating of men.

Patty



 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2007 02:08 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I figure that plat appreciated at a rate of 2.3 percent per year while he had it. Not exactly a sterling investment, but it was land. I wonder what possessed him to buy it. Surely he wasn't planning a summer home, or to bring his family west some day? Was it simply because so many others were investing in land?

Ole



 Current time is 05:30 pm
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.3013 seconds (12% database + 88% PHP). 27 queries executed.