Discovering The
Bernardo Plantation

A Role in Texas’s Fight for Freedom

The 1822 Bernardo Plantation was the first and largest cotton plantation in the entire Republic of Texas. Jared E. Groce, one of Stephen F. Austin’s original “Old 300 Hundred” settlers, once called the plantation home.

Bernardo provided the facilities, services, and strategic location for Sam Houston and his soldiers to prepare to fight the Mexican army 10 days before the Battle of San Jacinto. It’s where the Yellow Stone steamboat waited to ferry soldiers across the Brazos River and where Ohio sympathizers sent the Twin Sisters cannon.

In addition to its prominence in Texas’s fight for freedom, the Bernardo Plantation is the South’s last major cotton plantation and the most westward one in the nation.

Rediscovering the Plantation

Efforts by THC archeologists and members of local archeological societies—as well as private contributions from Alfred Davis, Sue Gross, Robert Marcom, James V. Woodrick, the Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation, Summerlee Foundation, and the Texas Historical Foundation—led to this wonderful discovery. Identifying and documenting the plantation’s main house, chimneys from outbuildings, and the cistern has given insight into the plantation’s layout and early life in Texas.

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