Boswell Farms is pleased to share some information about what we do.
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Our small farm is located on a hilltop in Texas on 14.5 acres in southern Montgomery County at the Oklahoma Community, and represents the near southern extent of the Piney Woods East Texas Big Thicket. Urban sprawl is rapidly converting this native forest culture and we are perhaps the next to be transformed as we are on the backdoor of The Woodlands. Until then we remain a defiant Tree Farm with a diversity of trees, a large 4 acre lake full of hungry largemouth bass, an interesting aviary, a shrinking herd of Arabian horses, and a growing herd of show heifers.
Our farm has been here for a long while (we moved here in '93) so we have a heritage to respect and admire every day. Not long ago, there were many very tall pines here, and this place was called Tall Shadows on the corner of Shady Lane and Kohrville-Huffsmith Road. We still have some notable trees such as a Loblolly Pine that is the second and almost largest Loblolly in the County. This is one of the second growth trees following the original harvests of pines before 1920. Many of the Oaks here are also of similar age. Many pines we have harvested (or lost to beetles, drought, and lightning) have been between 30 and 60 years old. We are now replanting with long leaf pine, cherry bark oak, and other special varieties to enhance our arboretum. We are also home to the largest Tulip Yellow Poplar tree in the County. This year has been another banner year for harvesting seed from these trees which have sprouted and were captured for our nursery. We are presently lush with green growth (May '04).
How big is Big???
The Montgomery County Big Tree Registry lists two of our trees from 1998 measurements by a professional forester:
Our Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) is ranked 2nd, only a couple of pine cones behind the largest. Circumference = 121.8 inches, Height = 107.5 feet, Crown = 57 feet, and Index = 243.6 .
Our Yellow Poplar (Lireodendron tulipefera) is ranked #1 in the County. Circumference = 71.4 inches, Height = 46 feet, Crown = 45 feet, and Index = 158.6 .
Our peaceful pond is basically 4 acres square and 5 feet deep. It has a lot of largemouth bass and bluegill.
Last year (2003) our Oklahoma Community Center celebrated another Historical Designation and I created a web page for this (see the page at Oklahoma Community). In the spirt of celebrating our history, we visited with the families who lived here before us. Gene and Roseanne Spykerman are easy to find, because they built a new house on the corner of the property when they sold it to us. We are good neighbors and Gene is an expert on this place.
The Spykermans lived on the full 20 acres from 1963 to 1993 and raised 4 children here. Their son Jimmy still lives on the other corner on Shady Lane. They continued the tradition of an arboretum garden and stayed busy keeping all in park like condition. The place was called Tall Shadows because the pine trees were so big, tall, and so thick that sunlight rarely reached the ground. A planned tree thinning in the '70s provided relief around the house and pond areas. This created lush fields of St Ausgutine grass which Gene was always busy mowing, and he now can enjoy watching me do the same. The downside is that many of the dogwoods did not like the increased sunlight exposure. There are not as many as there used to be.
Thay had bought the place from Willie and Frank Rabel who moved here in 1958. Their son Ronnie grew up here and is the source of the extensive documentation we now have and will be presented next. Ronnie enjoyed a visit last year with his grandson and recalled the hundreds of dogwoods that covered these woods.
The Rabels bought the place from the Brunts. Mrs Brunts sister built this house in the 1920s (Annie Gossett ?). She was a Master Gardener and many of her efforts are here today.
In the process of buying this place and selling off a portion of it Mr. Raebel had extensive Deed Abstracts& Records researched and documented. The story is facinating and begins with the original Land Grant from Sam Houston to James Brown's children.
Book 1: 1641 Acres of Land James Brown League
Abstract 78, Montgomery County, Texas (compiled 1927)
The first Abstract shows 1641 acres of land called The James Brown League presented in 1842 to the heirs of James Brown by President Sam Houston for his sacrifical defense of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. The Handbook of Texas says "James Murry Brown, Alamo defender, was born in Pennsylvania in 1800. He moved to Texas in 1835 and registered in De León's colony on April 17, 1835. He took part in the siege of Bexar and later served in the Alamo garrison. Brown died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.". His Head Right lies in Spring Creek County West of Spring Creek and East of Mill Creek.
The children were James K. and Jennett (Jesse) Ann Brown and their guardian was George B. Wilson who was later replaced with John W. Moore who gave Bond in 1838 in the County of Harrisburg. Thomas W. Ward was Curator of the affairs. When James became old enough at 21 he became guardian of his sisters share (she was 19) in 1842. He also had another 1/3 League issued (no.430) by Harris County
In 1846 James sold his half interest in Montgomery County to William Wade of St Louis for $1500 cash and his sister is listed as Jane (and Janet) Ann Wade
James sold his half to his sister then wandered the world, and died insane in Boston in 1853.
Jesse Ann Brown married William Wade of St Louis in 1846. They had at least one daughter before Jesse died. Widower Wade remarried and had another family. These decendents eventually had a bitter court decision for legal inheritance and timber lease fees.
After the Civil War local government was under Reconstruction Government control. Taxes were not paid and the land repocessed to be sold at auction in 1875 to W.R. Palmer (3200 acres for $200) who quickly resold to Stoussy & Collins. Stoussy sold for $200 to the current wife of John M. Wade, Louisa Virginia.
The Wades sold timber and portions to J.M. Collins and G.V. Leslie who were in the timber harvesting business.
Collins et al were sued in 1877 for timber theft by Frank D. Wade and Annie Brown Wade, decendents of Annie Brown Wade. The lawyer J.C.C. Winch gets one half of the land as payment. Collins et al owe $1000 and they get to erect more lumber mills.
There are siginifcant depositions taken from the decendents recorded in these 1877 documents from Eliza Hodgman:
William Wade was killed at Grand Bluff, Mississippi on April 13, 1863. He was married to Jesse Ann Brown in New Orleans in 1843. James K. Brown died in Boston in 1853. Jesse had 2 children: Frank D. and Jessie Briscoe (deceased in 1877). Frank is living in Melbourne, Australia.
Original daughter of James Brown, Jesse, died in St Louis in 1849, Her Mother, James' wife, died on ship or after landing in New York after visiting family in Scotland.
William Wade, Jesse's husband, was a long time clerk on a steamer running up the bayou from Houston to Galveston. Later his Rayn Steamer ran from Galveston to New Orleans. In 1843 he set up a wholesale grocery store in St. Louis. Later he had a planing Mill and an insurance business .
Over the next several years Collins and Leslie acquire more of the land from Wade for their lumber mill business. In 1880 Collins sells his saw mill interest to Leslie for $2500.
Winch dies in 1881. Widow Minerva Anna Winch sells to C.W. Winkler.
The Wade heirs from St Louis sell the remainder of their land (2200 acres) to Peter Josserand in 1881. Jacob Metzler already has 400 acres, C.F. Winkler has 800 acres, and Collins-Leslie have 1000 acres. The James Brown Head Right is now sold completely outside of the family.
In 1882 Josserand sells 500 acres to Frank Josserand for $1547.
By 1882 G.V. Leslie has acquired large holdings in the area. In 1886 he sells 100 acres to T.B. Harris. In December of 1890 he sells 109.5 acres to George W. Snook and 50 acres to Marion Goodson. Many small parcels of 50-100 acres were sold beginning in 1890.
Lucy V. Leslie continues the business when her husband dies in 1894. The inventory includes 1864 acres of the James Brown and 240 acres of Joseph Miller Leagues.
In 1906 Mrs Leslie sells 150 acres to S.T. Doughtie for $390, and the next year 50 acres to L.V. Cox for $150.
In 1907 Mrs Leslie is deceased and leaves 1/4 interest of 600 acres to her 10 year old grandson Venton Doughtie.
In May of 1918, well known attorney M.H. Gossett of Dallas acquires 1566 acres from the collective estate of Mrs. Leslie's decendents for $10,962. This is leased for timber to R.E. Hodges in September of 1924 for $3,448 in ten blocks.
His wife Willie Mason " 'Puddie" Gossett survives him on May 13 in 1934, residing at 3503 Crescent St in Dallas, Texas. She Leased the Oil and Gas rights to Jack W. Frazier in 1935. She had one son (Garry) and three daughters (Sarah, Nancy Lee, Catherine) listed in her Will and she died May 11, 1940 in Houston. Garry managed the estate beginning 1934.
In 1942, there was leagl action to determine the Gossett and Leslie properties. Testimonies from both sides were presented, including a note about the sawmill established in 1901 after the 1900 Galveston Storm. The mill operated about seven years and was run by Weary and MCollum with lumber hauled by the I.G.& N. Railroad from Spring.
Annie Hamm Gossett is executor of this estate in 1935 but is identified as Widow in 1946 when Catherine and Nancy Lee sell her the Gossett subdivision, including mineral rights. She was married to Garry.
Annie sold the tract to J.Herman Brunt and his wife J. Mary Brunt in 1951 with a percentage of the minerals. This was subsequently leased out in 1954 to Frank Karnaky for 5 years.
This page updated April 25, 2004 and revised May 14, 2009