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HISTORY OF THE BRYSON STAGECOACH STOP

Welcome to Len kubiak's Texas History Series

THE BRYSON STAGECOACH STOP (1853)

Soon after John and Amelia Bryson and their family settled in at their new log homestead in the settlement that would become Liberty Hill, the military stage coach line from Austin would stop at their spring to water their horses. As John and the stagecoach driver talked about the need for a stop in Liberty Hill, John Bryson accepted the challenge and a new stage coach stop was born.

To provide the extra water required by the stagecoach relay teams, the Brysons, with the help of their slaves, constructed two additional wells near their log barn.


STAGECOACH MAKING A STOP AT THE BRYSON PLACE
IN THE 1850's.

Other preparations included laying in extra food supplies and making bedding arrangements for the passengers. Separate sleeping quarters were provided for the men and women. The men bedding down in the enclosed dogtrot area and the women's sleeping quarters were provided in one of the large front rooms. An extra wash stand was installed in the dogtrot for use by the guests.

Each approach of the stagecoach was marked by the sounding of a horn and the subsequent barking of the dogs and honking of the geese.

The coming of the Liberty Hill stagecoach was always an exciting event for the Bryson family. The minute the stage pulled up to a halt in the front yard, Goodson would help his dad to unharness the team and feed, water and groom the weary horses who had just completed a 10 mile run under a heavy load.

Meanwhile, Amelia would greet the passengers and driver with a pitcher of cool water from the spring. For the price of one dollar, each passenger would be furnished two meals and a bed for the night.

Passengers who had previously traveled the western route looked forward to their stop in Liberty Hill as Amelia had established a reputation as a charming hostess and excellent cook. Assisted by her older daughter, Mahulda, she would set a dinner table with such delights as corn on the cob, fresh vegetables (or canned vegetables out of season) served with churned butter and oven-hot bread, fresh milk, smoked hams and sausages, fried chicken and gravy, cornbread and a selection of pastries from the oven. How different this was from some of the other frontier stage stops where a cold meal of aging vegetables and tough meat was often the best that could be expected.

After supper, bed rolls were prepared for the passengers and everyone retired to the front porch to exchange tales about their travels and get caught up on the latest news from the east. Often, one of the guests would perform feats of magic or card tricks or some of the men would get a poker game going.

At daybreak the next morning, the passengers would be awakened by the aroma of sizzling sausage and bacon. Breakfast included hot biscuits and churned butter, bacon and sausage, hash brown potatoes, fresh spring chilled milk, hot coffee and jellies and jams.

Soon it would be time to hitch up a fresh team of horses and prepare for the day's long journey. After the last passenger had boarded and the driver and shotgun rider were in place, the stage would take off leaving behind a cloud of dust. Things around the Bryson place would then return to normal until it was time to prepare for the arrival of the next stage.

Famous Guests at the Bryson StageCoach Stop in Liberty Hill



Over the 40 year period of time that the Bryson Stage Stop was in service, hundreds of guests were welcomed at the old Liberty Hill pioneer home. Many of the visitors at the Bryson home were army officers and their wives travelling to and from the army outposts on the western frontier, others were visitors from the east journeying out to visit friends and relatives or veterans returning home from the Civil War or military service in other parts of the country.

Some of the more famous army officers that are said to have been guests at the Bryson Stage Stop included Sam Bass outlaw gang,army officers, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, General George Custer, General Sam Houston (former commander of the Texas Revolutionary Army) and several other less known military officers. Lee and Davis initially came to Texas during the war with Mexico. Lee returned to Texas in 1856 and 1857 as commander of the Second Dragoons, a crack military group that fought the Comanches along the western frontier.
Jefferson Davis returned to Texas as escort for camels being sent to Camp Verde near present day Kerrville. However, the camel experiment proved to be a total disaster and the camels were eventually turned loose to roam west Texas and New Mexico.

Another guest at the Bryson Stagecoach Stop was General George A. Custer who was summoned to Austin in 1866 by Texas Governor Hamilton to help put down the "rebellious Texans" at the end of the Civil War. Custer later met his fate at the hands of the Cheyenne and Sioux on the banks of the Little Big Horn in Montana.

Perhaps the most memorable guest at the Bryson stagecoach stop was General Sam Houston, the first elected President of the Republic of Texas and the first Governor of the state of Texas. The occasion for Sam's visit was his campaign to keep Texas in the Union in 1861. Sam criss-crossed the state making pro-union speeches but all for naught as Texas joined with the other Confederate states and seceded from the union.





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