THE MAKE UP OF THE COMMUNITY
The first group settled the land between the Colorado and Brazos Rivers. The actual grant encompassed the area from the Colorado river on the west to the San Jacinto river on the east and from the "Old San Antonio Road" (A line from San Antonio to Nacogdoches) on the north to the Gulf of Mexico on the south. Austin picked this area because he felt it was the part of Texas that most resembled the land of the old south.
Contrary to some stories, Austin's settlers were not all, the bunch of fugitives and ruffians, that those writers claimed. Each person had to furnish testimonials of their good character or they were put on notice that they were included in the group of new settlers only on a probationary basis. The surplus of men (Or lack of women) made the group seem rough because they engaged in masculine amusements. But, most were hard working men who only wanted the opportunity to create a home with the abundant, cheap new land.
Under the law of 1823 an unmarried farmer was allowed a quarter league (1,107 acres), but was given another three quarters when he married. The new settlers were also given another quarter league if they married a Mexican citizen. A married man was given a Labor (177 acres) for farming and one League (4,428 acres) for ranching. A total of 4,605 Acres that Austin planed on charging 12 1/2 cents per acre.
However, under the new law of 1824, each family was given one Labor for farming and 24 Labors for grazing. A total of 4,425 acres at a cost of 30 dollars payable in three installments of 10 dollars. The first payment was not due until after four years and no taxes were to be paid for the first 10 years. Settlers who furnished vital services such as a mill or ferry were also awarded extra labors of land as an inducement to attract them to the area. Only 32 of Austin's "Old Three Hundred" settled in the part of Austin County east of the Brazos River that was to be Waller County.
Included in this group was Jose Justo Liendo who received his grant of five leagues of land on October 28, 1833 and Charles Donoho received two leagues in Waller county and one in Austin county on April 12, 1831.
Although not In Pine Island, Jared E. Groce was a Waller county example of the land bonanza of the times. He received 2 Sitios (places) of land on July 29, 1824 and a total of thirty one and three quarter Leagues of land (140,589 acres) between May 24, 1831 and January 17, 1835.
The second major movement was the immigration of citizens from the United States to the new Republic of Texas after Texas won it's freedom from Mexico. Huge amounts of cheap land became available in the new country without the rules and restrictions imposed on settlers by the Mexican government. Riggs Pennington (The grandfather of John Wesley Pennington) for example, bought 1225 acres on September 1, 1838 from John and Mary Coles for $3,829.75. That land was located on New Years creek, near the town of Independence, in Washington County.
That property was part of the "League and Labor" of land that was granted to John Coles as a colonist in Austin's Colony. On April 25, 1840, he bought an additional one third of a League and a labor of land (1,530 acres) from L. B. Outlaw for $3,000.
Elisha L. Pennington (Son of Riggs and father of J.W. Pennington) bought a lot in Brenham in 1852 for $50 and latter, in 1884, bought a lot in the town of Wallis (Austin County) for $30.
The disastrous loss (for the southerners) of the Civil War caused the third major movement. The defeat caused many pressures on most southerners, both physical and mental. Almost all of the southerners had exchanged their United States money for Confederate money and after the war it was useless. Many had their home or business destroyed as the fighting moved through their area. Almost every family lost at least one family member in the war. Thousands of southern men were wounded and/or captured and held prisoner under severe conditions.
The hated military occupation after the defeat that was designed to control the South and put an end to hostilities hurt the southerners pride. But, what was possibly the worst blow of all for many southerners, was and the complete take over of all local, county and state governments, by the hated "yankee" soldiers and "carpet baggers". These hated yankees and immediately begin placing negros in high positions of authority.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for later generations to understand how deep the southerners felt the loss. As any real student of history knows, slavery was a minor issue in the Civil War rather then the "Cause" as preached by the federal government to gain support for the war through sympathy. The real issue for the highly independent minded, average southerner was the right of each state to govern itself. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of white southerners could not afford to buy a slave, let alone feed, clothe and house one.
For instance, in 1850 Lewis Milam, (the author's 3rd Great Grandfather), had four daughters from age 12 to 19 listed in the census as working in a mill. It was needed to help the family survive while he farmed. But, even the poorest citizen felt strongly about "Yankees" from way up north telling them what they could or could not do.
These pressures became more then many citizens of the old south could stand and they migrated to Texas in search of greater freedom. This group formed the largest number of "Pine Islanders" and included families like the Brumlows, Lays, Milams and Garretts.
A fourth minor movement of citizens furnished a smaller contribution to the make up of Pine Island. It was the movement of people from other countries, looking for more room and freedom or escaping the turmoil and revolutions of Europe, such as the Crowhursts who came from England and the Menkes who came from Germany.
Families from all four of these groups, and their descendants, joined to form the community called Pine Island.