View single post by David White
 Posted: Wed Apr 4th, 2007 09:11 pm
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David White
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Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
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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.

 

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