Below is some information concerning Liendo Plantation:
LIENDO PLANTATION. In 1830 Josť Justo Liendo, of Leona Vicario, then
residing in Nacogdoches, gave Thomas F. McKinney power of attorney to
locate ten of the eleven leagues of land Liendo had purchased from
the Mexican government two years before. McKinney located five of the
ten leagues in what is now Waller County, where the remarkable shape
of the tract still stands out on maps, since the survey was run to
include only "entirely vacant" land.
In 1841 McKinney, still acting for the owner, sold Leonard W. Groce the part of the Liendo survey that lay north and west of Pond Creek, "3,000 acres, more or less," for $1,500. Groce increased his holdings through the years and in 1860 paid $1,200 for the remainder of the five leagues that had not been sold.
Groce's home on the plantation, which he named Liendo, was
built by slave labor and completed in 1853. Bricks were made from the
red clay of the Brazos. The foundation was of brick, stuccoed with
red plaster. The chimneys were of brick, plastered with lime.
The house, colonial in style, had outer walls of drop-leaf siding,
painted white. The adjustable blinds were dark green. The floors and
ceilings were tongue-and-groove yellow pine. The ceiling of the
drawing room was hand-painted in a design of roses and morning
glories, the same design being carried out in its frieze. The
interior walls were smoothly finished in plaster. The wainscotting of
the dining room and the second-floor bedrooms reached six feet above
the floors. The kitchen had facilities large enough to roast a whole
beef; whole roast pig was mere routine. A "bachelors' hall" on the
grounds was equipped to house guests.
The Groce children and children of neighbors were instructed by a tutor at a schoolhouse on the plantaton. A convenient stopping place between the Houston-Galveston area and Austin, Liendo had a stream of guests that included the prominent of its day. Revenues of the plantation, which was operated with about 300 slaves, have been estimated as high as $80,000 to $100,000 a year in good years.
During the Civil War, Camp Groce was established at Liendo, where
cavalry, artillery, and infantry were recruited. Converted to a
prisoner of war camp, it housed troops captured at the battle of
Galveston. From September 1 to December 1, 1865, the plantation was
the camping place of Gen. George A. Custer and his command. In 1866
Groce sold the white elephant Liendo had become but had to take it
back the next year. In 1873 Leonard W. Groce, Jr., sold Elisabet Ney
and Edmund D. Montgomery 1,100 acres, "the homestead tract of the
late Leonard W. Groce, Sr.," for $10,000. The new owners knew nothing
about cotton planting, and the procession of their mortgages was
long. In 1909 Dr. Montgomery, Elisabet Ney having moved to Austin
earlier, deeded Liendo to Theodor Low, reserving for himself a life
interest and right of occupancy. The same year Low sold to W. P.
Gaines, who in 1910 sold the property to George W. Harris, of Hughes
County, South Dakota. Dr. Montgomery waived his life interest and
reserved only the right to use a portion of the main house. He stayed
at Liendo until his death in 1911. He and Elisabet Ney were buried in
a grove of live oaks on the grounds. In 1943 Mrs. Laura B. Harris,
widow of George W. Harris, sold her property to Miss Willene Compton,
who occupied the mansion. A record of the appearance and condition of
the mansion at Liendo has been deposited in the Library of Congress.
Among the relics to be seen at Liendo are possessions of Elisabet Ney
The plantation was purchased by Phyllis and Carl Detering in 1961 and completely reconstructed and modernized.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Carrie B. Coss, Liendo Plantation (Hempstead, Texas:
Waller County Historical Commission, 1977). Vertical Files, Barker
Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Waller County
Historical Survey Committee, A History of Waller County, Texas (Waco:
Liendo Plantation is located outside of Hempstead, TX, just 45
minutes from the heart of Houston at the crossroads of Highway 290,
and FM 1488.
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