tsmithjohnson (tsmithjohnson) wrote,


BRULAY, GEORGE PAUL (1839–1905). George Paul Brulay, planter, son of Ambroise and Eliza (Vernon) Brulay, was born on December 6, 1839, in

Paris, France  . He was educated at home and at local schools until he was fourteen, when he boarded a merchant vessel and was shipwrecked off Colombia. After being stranded in Cartagena,

he worked his way through the interior of the country for three years, then returned to Paris, where he worked for a commission merchant.

At eighteen he shipped out to

Tampa, Florida, and from there to

the Rio Grande valley of Texas. With his brother Arthur, Brulay opened a business handling merchandise between Matamoros and Monterrey by

mule caravans. They also used sailboats

Image result for sailboat

to deliver goods to coastal towns, and on one of these trips Arthur was lost at sea. In Brownsville Brulay operated a mercantile business under the firm name of Colon, Brulay, and Company until about 1876. On March 11, 1876, he married Marie E. Boesch; they had five children. In the early 1870s Brulay bought about 400 acres of land, which he named Rio Grande Plantation, east of Brownsville. He first planted

cotton and experimented with other produce, including  sugarcane.

He became a successful cane producer and built a mill, commissary, residences, a schoolhouse, and other buildings as the industry grew.


Old Brulay Plantation
Old Brulay Plantation is located in Texas
Old Brulay Plantation

Nearest city
Brownsville, Texas, U.S.

25°51′15″N 97°24′0″W / 25.85417°N 97.40000°WCoordinates:25°51′15″N 97°24′0″W / 25.85417°N 97.40000°W

5 acres (2.0 ha)


Built by
George N. Brulay

NRHP Reference #

Added to NRHP
October 10, 1975[2]

The Old Brulay Plantation is a Southern plantation with a historic mansion located in Brownsville, Texas, USA. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since October 10, 1975.[2]


The plantation was established circa 1870 by George Paul Brulay, a French immigrant.[3] It was first a cotton plantation, followed by a sugar plantation.[3]
Because it was established after the American Civil War of 1861-1865,

the plantation never hired black slaves.[3]

When tariffs on Cuban sugar were removed c. 1910, the plantation closed down.[3] It was acquired by immigrants from Japan prior to World War I.[3]

The plantation was purchased by the Nye family in 1931.[3] By 2016, it still belonged to the same family.[3]


  1. Jump up^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.

  2. ^ Jump up to:a b "Old Brulay Plantation". National Park Service. Retrieved December 11, 2015.

  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g "U.S. History Students Visit Brulay plantation On Field Trip". The Brownsville Herald. Brownsville, Texas. August 1, 1976. p. 31. Retrieved December 11, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read


Small rail cars ran from the fields to the mills, and hundreds of laborers were employed. Brulay began irrigating his fields on one of the first irrigation permits on
the Rio Grande. The Brulay plantation home became a gathering place not only for local people but for state and foreign travelers as well. In 1891 the Brulay family also maintained a home in Brownsville. The sugarcane plantation was operated for several years after Brulay's death, on March 29, 1905. He was buried in Buena Vista Park, Brownsville.


W. H. Chatfield, The Twin Cities of the Border and the Country of the Lower Rio Grande(New Orleans: Brandao, 1893; rpt., Brownsville: Brownsville Historical Association, 1959). Lewis E. Daniell, Texas–The Country and Its Men (Austin?, 1924?).

Tags: 1400-1900s, 1901-1919, 2011-2019, african history/culture, american history/culture, austintexas, black american history/culture, texas history/culture

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