History of Kemah (From the Kipp Collection)



            The recorded history of Kemah began when a labor (approximately 177 acres) of land along the Gulf Coast was granted to Michael Gouldrich on August 24, 1824 by the Mexican government. [1] Gouldrich was listed as one of Stephen F. Austin’s first colonist in 1826, a widower over 50 years of age, engaged in farming and stock raising. [2]  His land was located on the south bank end at the mouth of Clear Creek and Galveston Bay. Gouldrich disappeared from historical record and William Vince of Vince’s Bayou, Harrisburg County acquired the Clear Creek land. [3]

            The name “Flanders Grove” and “Flanders Labor” appears on several early maps of Galveston Bay in the vicinity of the present day town of Kemah at the mouth of Clear Lake in Galveston County. [4] The place-name was given because one John Flanders bought the property from William Vince. [5]

            John Flanders was issued a passport for six months on December 7, 1830 in Austin’s colony. [6] A notation in Austin’s Register of Families reads, “Flanders is to be included as a colonist although he takes no land.” Flanders was 32 years old, single, and listed as a farmer from New Hampshire who arrived in Austin’s colony in December 1830, probably in Anahuac where he acquired a house and a lot. [7] He was not listed on the 1834 Census of Anahuac and was probably then living at Clear Creek.   

[1]Virginia H. Taylor, The Spanish Archives of the General Land Office of Texas. (Austin, TX: The Lone Star Press, 1955) 191.

[2] Marion Day Mullins, The First Census of Texas. (Washington D.C. : National Genealogical Society, 1962), 45.

[3] Galveston County Deed Records, Book D, page 206.

[4] Maps inscribed with the name FLANDERS at the mouth of Clear Lake: Survey of Five Leagues of Land Belonging to Wm. P. Harris and Others, Ca. 1832, P. Snell, New Orleans, Rosenberg Library, Galveston; “Galveston Bay, U. S. Coast Survey 1848 to 50,” 1850; “Johnson’s Map of Texas,” 1866.

[5] Harris County Probate Records, Book A Page 7, 91; Book C, Page 321, 336, 472.

[6] Gifford, White, 1830 Citizens of Texas. (Austin, TX: Eakin Press, 1983), 6.

[7]  White, 35.


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