By Kevin Ladd
Three pioneer families who settled in what is now western Chambers County were part of Stephen F. Austin's original group of colonists, known as "The Old Three Hundred." Also included in this legendary group is Humphrey Jackson and his family who settled at Crosby in Harris County. After Humphrey Jackson died in 1833, his three sons -- John, James and Hugh -- moved to present-day Chambers County. The Jackson family has ever afterward been identified with Chambers County.
William Bloodgood Family
Born about 1800 in either New York or New Jersey, William Bloodgood came to Texas from Louisiana in May 1824 with the family of Enoch and Delilah (Ballew) Brinson. Traveling along with them was Delilah's father, Page Ballew, and her younger sister, Levicy. The Bloodgood survey, dated August of that year , straddled Cedar Bayou, with a fourth of his land falling into what is now Harris County and the remainder in Chambers. William and Levicy were married on July 12, 1825. The date of William's death is not known, although he appears on the 1860 census of Harris County. Levicy appears to have died in 1887. The couple had the following children: Minerva, Thomas, William, Enoch, Page, Priscilla, Montreville and Laura.Their youngest daughter, Laura Bloodgood Herman, left behind this fascinating tale from the battle of San Jacinto: "Someone knocked at the back kitchen door the day of the bloody battle. When Mother opened the door to see who it might be, there stood before her a man covered from head to foot in mud. Her eyes did not betray the fright that surged within her and she calmly asked what he wanted. He begged for something to eat. He answered the best he could, in his own language. Mother opened the door and let him in and prepared a wholesome breakfast for him. He drank a whole pitcher of water, ate the food heartily, thanked her most graciously and peacefully went on his way.
"I was all wide-eyed and quietly looked on and was very frightened. How very brave was my mother. She could not let her emotions betray her inner feelings, neither could she turn this unfortunate starving man from her door. I later learned that he was Santa Anna. I was only five years old but that eventful day was imprinted in my memory."
John Iiams FamilyJohn Iiams [sometimes Ijams] was born in Steubenville, Ohio about 1808, the son of John and Mary (Haslett) Iiams. The family moved to Louisiana and settled in the Berwick Bay area. Most published accounts indicate that he came to Texas in 1822 with his parents and settled at Cedar Point, near present-day Beach City. Iiams told one journalist that his family came over from Louisiana by boat and settled at Cedar Point, where they built a crude log cabin. This property later became a celebrated retreat belonging to General Sam Houston.
His land grant in present-day Chambers County was dated in August 1824. He fought in the battles of Concepcion and San Jacinto. He may have lived as late as 1893.
In one interview he described an early encounter with the privateer Jean Laffite: "I saw Laffite in Louisiana before I came to Texas. I was a good big boy and remember him very well. He used to go up Bayou Lafourche, on his way to New Orleans for supplies. People think he must have been a desperate looking man; but he looked very pleasant, and was always in a good humor when I saw him. He was about six feet tall and was rather stout."
Christian Smith Family
Christian Smith, like Bloodgood and Iiams, received his land grant in 1824. His survey was located on Cedar Bayou, partly in present-day Harris and partly in Chambers counties. Smith was born about 1774 in North Carolina and was married there to Rachel Pafford. She was born in South Carolina about 1774.Christian and Rachel Smith began their married life in North Carolina, at which place their three oldest children were born. These were John, Eliza- beth and Christian Jr. John was born about 1801; Elizabeth, about 1803; and Christian Jr., about 1804. Sometime after Christian Jr.'s birth, the family moved to Kentucky, where the youngest two children were both born. These were Joseph, who as about 1807, and Eleanor, who was born about 1809.
John Smith, the eldest son, was married to Elizabeth Dunkin. The next son, Christian Smith Jr., was married first to an Elizabeth Duncan and secondly to Frances Ann Bartlett. Joseph Smith was married to a woman named Mary. Eleanor Smith, the youngest daughter, was married to John Riley Rhea.
Some family records indicate that Christian Smith [Sr.] died on May 2, 1839. Rachel Smith died in 1845.