tsmithjohnson (tsmithjohnson) wrote,


BINGHAM, FRANCIS (1772–1851). Francis Bingham, pioneer settler, was born in Ireland in 1772, but fled the country following political instability between 1798 and 1803. His first marriage produced two children named Thomas and Ann. On September 22, 1809, Bingham married Margaret Hall in Sparta, Georgia, and the family expanded to include three more children named Elizabeth, James, and Mary. He was one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred and came to Texas from Perry County, Mississippi, as early as October 1822. In November 1823 he subscribed twenty bushels of corn towards paying the expenses of the Baron de Bastrop as deputy to the legislature of Coahuila and Texas. Bingham's title to two leagues and a labor of land now in Wharton, Brazoria, and Waller counties was granted on July 10, 1824. By January 1825 he returned to Monroe, Louisiana, to move his family to Texas, but illness in the family prevented his returning until after August 1827, when he wrote Austin that his wife might not come with him because she had heard unpleasant things about the country and the Indians. Bingham ultimately established on Oyster Creek, on the line between Brazoria and Fort Bend counties, a plantation called "New Bowling Green," that has remained in the hands of the family for almost two centuries. A visitor to Texas in 1835 wrote that Bingham's place had been in operation only three or four years but had 200 acres of cleared canebrake land in cultivation and about 600 cattle. The house, in a grove of China trees, was a one-story log structure, with the board planed at Bingham's mill. The furniture had been brought from the United States, where Bingham made an annual visit. In 1842, Bingham owned eighteen slaves and three hundred cattle, but his property expanded by 1850 to include twenty-seven slaves, twenty horses, eight mules, forty milch cows, twelve oxen, one hundred and twenty-five hogs, and two thousand five hundred cattle. In November 1850, he signed a deed for three thousand acres, twenty-three slaves, farm equipment, and livestock to his son, James P. Bingham, for $25,000. Mrs. Bingham, who said she had become reconciled to Texas, had numerous servants, five children, and could visit neighbors within twenty miles. In 1845 Bingham attended a Brazoria mass meeting in favor of annexation. He died on July 22, 1851, and was buried at the family cemetery on his plantation. His will bequeathed 1/4 of his land to James with the remainder going to his wife Margaret and other family members.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Telegraph and Texas Register, April 30, 1845. Texas State Gazette, August 2, 1851. 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). Visit to Texas (New York: Goodrich and Wiley, 1834; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1952).

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