Waller County Land Company
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HISTORY

Waller County, named for Edwin Waller, was created from Austin and Grimes counties in 1873 and organized the same year with Hempstead as county seat. The area of the county is 507 square miles; altitude, 250 feet; average annual rainfall, 40.2 inches; and mean annual temperature, 68.9 degrees. The county, situated in Southeast Texas has a topography varying from a rolling post oak region in the north to prairies in the south.The area is well drained by the Brazos River, which forms the western boundary. Soils range from sandy loams and heavy clays in the upland to rich alluvials in the bottoms and black waxy in the central part. Native timber includes post oak, pine, cottonwood, and elm. Principal industries are ranching, agriculture, and dairying. Cotton, corn, peanuts, grains, watermelons, and rice are grown commercially. Beef cattle, hogs, and sheep are raised for market. Mineral resources include oil, gas, gravel, and brick clay. Transportation is provided by the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe and the Texas and New Orleans Railroads.

The area now included in Waller County was part of Stephen F. Austin's first colony.

Liendo and Bernardo Plantations were part of Jared E. Groce's grant. Called the "father of agriculture in Texas", Groce established a plantation center with cotton gin, blacksmith shop, and commissary which became the nucleus of the colony. Edwin Waller joined the colony in 1831, coming from Virginia to settle on the east bank of the Brazos.

The area was included in the department of Bexar under the Mexican regime and in 1834 was made part of the Brazos judicial District with San Felipe as the seat of government. The county was the scene of the Runaway Scrape and of Sam Houston's retreat from Gonzales toward San Felipe. The "Twin Sisters'" were placed in front of Bernardo Plantation for several days during the retreat.

In 1849 Leonard Groce, established a new plantation at Liendo in the bend of Pond Creek; this plantation was later occupied by Dr. Edmund Montgomery and his wife, Elisabeth Ney.

There was no extensive settlement until after the building of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad in 1857, when Hempstead became the terminus of the road and the shipping center and supply point for the surrounding area. In 1876 a legislative act established Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College for Negroes (later Prairie View University ) with a land grant of 1,434 acres situated near Hempstead. Population of the county was 10,280 in 1940 and 11,961 in 1950. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frank Ed White. A History of the Territory That Now Constitutes Waller County, Texas,1821-1884 (M.A. Thesis, University of Texas, 1936); H. S. Thrall, Pictorial History of Texas (1879); Texas Almanac (1945).

Liendo Plantation

Liendo Plantation was built in 1853 by Leonard Waller Groce, the son of Jared Groce, who was one of the largest most respected land owners in Texas. Originally a Spanish land grant of 67,000 acres assigned to Justo Liendo, the plantation's namesake, Liendo was one of Texas earliest cotton plantations. It was considered the social center of Texas receiving and lavishly entertaining early Texas dignitaries and notorieties. Liendo was considered a typical Southern plantation. Sufficient in all its needs; it was a self contained community. Like most Southern plantations, , Liendo fell on hard times after the Civil War and changed owners several times thereafter. Liendo had always been recognized for its warm Southern Hospitality, but few people know that this same tradition of generosity probably saved it from destruction. Among the more notable statesmen and historical figures that have spent time at Liendo was George A. Custer. At the end of the Civil War, he was stationed at Liendo. It is said that both Mr. Custer and his wife were so impressed with the plantation and the gracious hospitality shown them during their stay, that they made sure Liendo was not harmed in any way in appreciation.

Liendo was also occupied by world renowned sculptress Elisabeth Ney and her husband Dr. Edmond Montgomery from 1873 to 1911. She and her husband had immigrated years before from Europe to the United States but had never found a new home until they found Liendo. It is reported that she, upon arriving at Liendo, walked out on the balcony, threw out her arms and said "This is where I will live and die". She lived out her life at Liendo, commuting to her art studio in Austin. She and Dr. Montgomery are buried on the Plantation grounds. She sculpted many notable works, two of her most recognized pieces being the statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston which now stand in the state capitol.

In 1960 Carl and Phyllis Detering purchased Liendo from Miss Willene Compton and began their 10 year job of restoring the plantation home. Traveling throughout the deep South and Europe, the Deterings acquired period furnishings and faithfully restored Liendo to its former glory. Liendo is recognized as a Texas historic landmark and is fisted on the national register of historic places. Today, Will Detering owns and operates Liendo Plantation and continues the work of preserving and sharing this Texas landmark.

Liendo is also the location of the Old South Festival which is held annually the third weekend in April. Home tours, folk life demonstrations, and local entertainment are some of the weekend's attractions. Craft vendors and children's activities make this an event for the whole family to enjoy.

 

 

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Waller Office

broker@wallercountyland.com

40040 Hempstead Hwy.
P.O. Box 1274
Waller, Texas  77484
(936) 372-9181
Fax - (936) 372-9266

Hempstead Office

broker2@wallercountyland.com

704 Tenth Street
Hempstead, Texas  77445
(979) 826-4133
Fax - (979) 826-4135