STATUE OF THE UNKNOWN SLAVE
BASS, HAMBLIN (1816–?). Hamblin Bass, Brazoria County Planter and Committee of Correspondence member, was born in Georgia in 1816 and lived in Alabama before moving to Texas.
In November 1859 he acquired Waldeck, a sugar plantation three or four miles from the site of present West Columbia, from Morgan L. Smith. Sources differ about whether Bass owned the plantation or managed it for Count Ludwig von Boos-Waldeck as an agent of Spofford and Company of New York. In 1859 Waldeck was one of only two Texas plantations devoted solely to the cultivation of sugar (see SUGAR PRODUCTION). That year the plantation slaughtered more animals than any other plantation in Texas; their value was $9,700.
In the 1860 census Bass reported real property valued at $163,830 and personal property valued at $97,705, including 172 slaves. In 1860 he served as a member of the Brazoria County Committee of Correspondence.
Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Abigail Curlee Holbrook, "A Glimpse of Life on Antebellum Slave Plantations in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76 (April 1973). Ralph A. Wooster, "Notes on Texas' Largest Slaveholders, 1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (July 1961).
WALDECK PLANTATION. Waldeck Plantation, three or four miles from the site of present-day West Columbia, was named for Count Ludwig von Boos-Waldeckqv, who came to Texas originally as a representative of the Adelsverein. The plantation was operated jointly by local merchants John Adriance and Morgan L. Smithqqv from May 1842 to about 1847, when Adriance withdrew from the partnership. The two merchants held the plantation both as an investment and to provide a place where they could send animals and implements taken for debt. Smith owned a three-fourths interest; his investment, including mill, land, and slaves, was $114,000. The plantation's annual crop sold for as much as $70,000. Smith developed the enterprise into what was known as the largest and most efficient sugar plantation in Texas. He continued the operation until November 1859, when he sold Waldeck at a loss and left the state. The two-story brick house had black marble fireplaces and was surrounded by a park containing statuary that cost $25,000. The plantation had a smokehouse, double kettles, and a refinery for making white, cut loaf sugar; Waldeck may be the first producer of sugar in Texas. Smith had his servants improve the grounds by paving the stream and establishing reservoirs for fish and water. He prompted the building of a brick church for the slaves in 1856. Sources differ about the later ownership of the plantation. According to some, Count Boos-Waldeck, who was believed to be a cousin of Queen Victoria, visited the Smith plantation, purchased it, and subsequently owned and operated it through Spofford and Company of New York. Other sources indicate that Smith sold the plantation to Hamblin Bass, but Bass may simply have served as plantation manager. By 1860, however, Bass was listed as having real property valued at $163,830, personal property valued at $97,705, and 213 slaves on 1,450 acres of land. In that year the plantation produced 8,000 bushels of corn, 200 hogsheads of cane sugar, and slaughtered animals valued at $9,700. In antebellum Texas a white minister conducted services at the plantation church. Bass provided brick cabins for his slaves and bought two dozen spinning wheels and four looms to enable them to make clothing. He successfully raised vegetables but lost two plantings for lack of water in 1862. During the Reconstruction period Waldeck was considered a good speculation, and a half interest in it sold for $50,000. In 1926 the plantation belonged to the Texas Company and was used for pastureland.
James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Abigail Curlee, A Study of Texas Slave Plantations, 1822–1865 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1932). Abigail Curlee Holbrook, "A Glimpse of Life on Antebellum Slave Plantations in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76 (April 1973). Andrew Phelps McCormick, Scotch-Irish in Ireland and America (1897). Abner J. Strobel, The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County (Houston, 1926; rev. ed., Houston: Bowman and Ross, 1930; rpt., Austin: Shelby, 1980). Moritz Tiling, History of the German Element in Texas (Houston: Rein and Sons, 1913). Ralph A. Wooster, "Notes on Texas' Largest Slaveholders, 1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (July 1961).