Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Route To Texas

Following his marriage and medical school graduation, Dr. Gazley practiced medicine in the states of Ohio and Louisiana. There he gained considerable medical experience which would later become a valuable part of the stalwart foundation required for the development of the new frontier which lay ahead of him, and which would soon beckon to him.

While practicing medicine in Ohio during 1827, as he was approaching the end of his twenties, Dr. Gazley was happily married, quite successful in his profession, and he felt the time was right to move on to Texas to see what might develop there. He was familiar with Stephen F. Austin’s requirements for pioneering settlers: stalwart types, men of honesty and integrity; sound in mind, body, and moral fiber; capable, confident, and caring individuals; no laggards, dead-beats, cowards, crooks, or hangers-on.

Realizing the dangers and struggles which faced the new Texas settlers, and in the interests of safeguarding his wife and first son, Thomas Jr., Doctor Gazley chose to leave them behind with relatives while he made a preliminary trip to explore and make the necessary preparations for his family in the new frontier.

Gazley, one of the first few hundred white men, came to Texas in December of 1827, gazed over what he considered to be healthy and beautiful country, where buffalo herds forded the Colorado River near the mouth of a small creek, and he chose the high side of the river to be the site for his future frontier home. This available land parcel fulfilled his requirements and he met with and contracted through Stephen F. Austin to obtain his Mexican Headright Land Grant for League Number Eleven consisting of 4,428.4 acres of fertile river front land. With satisfactory land ownership and contractual requirements properly established, he returned to Ohio to retrieve his family and their frontier possessions.

On November 16, 1828, Dr. Thomas Jefferson Gazley, his wife Eliza, their first born son Thomas Junior, along with “Old” Jack Anderson, their respected and faithful slave, all arrived to begin their new life together at a place which would be Dr. Gazley’s Texas hamlet, later to be known as Gazley’s Prairie, Dr. Gazley’s Landing, and ultimately as Smithville, Bastrop County, Texas, U.S.A.

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