The 1822 Bernardo Plantation, the first and largest cotton plantation in the Republic of Texas, was the home of Jared E. Groce, one of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred settlers. Ten days before the Battle of San Jacinto, Bernardo provided the facilities, services and a strategic location for Sam Houston and his Texian soldiers to prepare for the Mexican army. The Twin Sisters cannon from Ohio sympathizers arrived at the plantation and nearby, the steamboat, Yellow Stone waited to ferry soldiers across the Brazos River. In addition to its prominence in the story of Texas’ fight for freedom, Bernardo Plantations is considered the South’s last major cotton plantation as well as the nation’s farthest westward cotton plantation.
Combined efforts between the THC archeologists and members of local archeological societies led to this wonderful discovery. The investigation was funded by private contributions from Alfred Davis, Sue Gross, Robert Marcom, James V. Woodrick, the Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation, Summerlee Foundation, and the Texas Historical Foundation, which led to the identification and documentation of the remains of the plantation’s main house, chimneys from outbuildings, and the cistern giving clues to the plantation’s lay out and early life in Texas.