Egypt Plantation Museum is a non-profit
study and research museum of Texas History.
Housed in both the 1900 Egypt Railroad Depot
and the 1849 Heard Northington Home
Its rich history also still lives as the private home of six generations of Heard Northington
descendents, whose family built the plantation in the early days of Mexico's sovereignty on
HEARD NORTHINGTON TEXAS FAMILY HISTORY
When Moses and son, Stephen F. Austin, called for American Colonists to move to
Texas in the 1820s, husband and wife, Stephen Rhoades and Jemima Menefee Heard
and their ten children signed up with the Second Colonization Group to Jackson
County as Texas Alabama Settlement Community. They had known the Austins
for many generations from Virginia and strove for more fertile land than their
central Tennessee and, later, northern Alabama farms.
In 1830, Cpt. W.J.E. Heard, son of Stephen and Jemima, purchased 2,200 acres
from John. C. Clark for $111.00 in gold coins. Arriving first in Jackson
County, where other family members had already settled, Heard sought more
fertile lands in then-Colorado County (now Wharton County). He brought
with him his mother, Jemima, later married to Eli Mercer in Egypt, TX, along
with nine siblings, and slaves that were freedom here. It was in the
Egypt settlement that Heard constructed a double pen, log home for his family,
slave housing, and sugar cane, corn, and cotton mills.
Cpt. W.J.E. Heard
The property fronts the east bank of the Colorado River and contains portions
of the original Atascosita Trail that ran from Texana (Jackson County, Texas)
to Richmond (Ft. Bend County), crossing the Colorado River at Mercer's
Ferry. The significance of the location placed the Heards at the
crossroad of commerce both by river and road in rich river bottom land. Maj.
Andrew Northington maintained a stage coach from Houston to Texana with stopovers
in Richmond and Egypt across these trails in the 1830s to 1850s. The
Heard and Northington families became good friends through hard times, resulting
in the marriage of Cpt. and American Morton Heard's eldest daughter, Elizabeth,
to Mentor Northington, son of Andrew and Pricilla Dawson Northington.
Our family thrived even under the ravages of droughts, fevers and invasions
by Mexican soldiers as they moved eastward to the final battleground at San
Jacinto. The Heards held to their Christian faith as leaders and as a
church home in the formation of the earliest Methodist Church in the Stephen
F. Austin Colony. As community builders, our home was the frequent site
of strategic military planning to protect the colonial families and defend the
liberties of democracy during unsettled times. After the establishment
of the Republic of Texas, and later statehood, the Heard Northingtons continued
to support the economic development of the region and state, not only their own
enterprises but for political systems that support free enterprise.
EGYPT PLANTATION SETTING, OUTBUILDINGS and RANCHING
Situated on a high point on Peach Creek above the east bank
of the Colorado River, Egypt Plantation remains nestled among mossy oaks, red
cedars, and pecan trees. It fronts a slow highway but is set back deep
into the shade taking advantage of the nearly constant coastal breezes.
FARMING and RANCHING
The Plantation homestead contains many of the outbuildings necessary for
the operations of farming and ranching. The Plantation acreage grew
over the years from the original 2,500 acres to over 50,000 acres, which
various members of the family still retain a large part of today. Producers
of sugar cane, cotton, corn, pecans, and, later, rice, the farming operations
changed over time with the market.
The Heard Northingtons ventured into both the cattle and horse business
even as early as the 1840s, along with cousins Joel and Rachel Dawson
Northington Hudgins of Hungerford, who later introduced Registered Beef-type
Brahman cattle to the United States, and whose family still operates one of
the world's largest Brahman herds.
Working the cattle by horse, they also bred and trained Registered Quarter
Horses for herding the cattle (called a Cutting Horse) and racing in Mentor
Northington's nearby Horse Race Track (maintained until the 1950s). Many
of the Northington children grew up caring for, riding, showing, and even
racing their fine livestock in regional races and shows including the Houston
Fat Stock Show. George Heard "Papa" Northting, Jr. was among the first
ones with the Salt Grass Trails group from Brenham to Houston.