Damon's Mills

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Map of Fort Bend County

Elizabeth Powell, a widow with five children, four of whom came with her to Texas, was reportedly born in Pennsylvania. She entered Texas in 1828 as a colonist of Stephen F. Austin and in 1831 received a league of land from the Mexican government. This was grant number one in Austin's second colony and was located on Turkey Creek and the San Bernard River in what is now Fort Bend County. Her house was situated on the trail from Brazoria and Columbia to San Felipe near where it crossed one of the routes to San Antonio. The Mexican general Vicente Filisola left the only contemporary description of Madam Powell's place. The house he described was in the style that early Americans called double pen or dog-run houses. This style, typical of many homes in early Texas, was two rooms separated by a hallway open at both ends. The kitchen was separate from the main house along with several smaller buildings.

Madam Powell, as she was known, had operated a pension or boarding house in New Orleans prior to coming to Texas. At an early date travelers began to stay at her new home in Texas for a small fee. William B. Travis and Anson Jones were two of her more famous guests. The irrepressible Noah Smithwick wrote that he was not concerned that he had to spend a night at Madam Powell's as she "had two attractive daughters." These daughters were Elizabeth, who first married Lemon Kelsey, and Ellen, who first married a near neighbor, Isaac McGary. Both men served in the Texian Army. Another daughter, Julia, had married a man named Leeds and remained in Louisiana. Madam Powell had two sons, Joseph J. and Samuel Graves Powell. It was Joseph who brought word to Sam Houston and the Texians of the Mexican Army's advance across the Brazos in April 1836; the previous October, Samuel had written his mother from the coast warning of a Mexican invasion.

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Robert T. Shelby | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Damon's Mills is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Damon's Mills is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Needville)

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated