James Orrick - Old Three Hundred

Last updated 8 Aug 2012

Contact: Roger If you have info or comments


James Orrick - One of the Old Texas 300

In 1823, Stephen F. Austin gathered a colony of about 300 to populate land along the Brazos river. They were called the Old Three Hundred, and James Orrick was one of them.

I've run across James' name in lists of the old 300, but in typical Orrick style, there is not much other information about him. I can't even find him in the census. So now my curiousity is in full gear. I'd bet a box of used pencil erasers that James traces back to the Maryland Orricks and therefore is connected to my Arrick family.

Good article about the OLD THREE HUNDRED at Texas Online
Wikipedia for Stephen F. Austin
Wikipedia for Old Three Hundred



Who were James Orrick's Parents?
What happened to James Orrick's wife after he died?


Finding the Land
A friend of mine Eddy is an oil and gas land man. He was able to find the Tobin Survey for Austin county. Right there is a block for James Orrick. #74. On the west side of the Brazos river not far from the county seat of Bellville.


Modern Map
Map showing location of grant.
I figured this would be in the middle of a modern subdivision
or under a mall parking lot, but nope, right there out in the
middle of nowhere.
West bank of Brazos river near Bellville TX, west of Houston.


Satellite Map
Here's the satellite image of the land (2012).
West bank of Brazos river.
West of Houston.


Original Grant
Here's the original Grant to James Orrick.
James received title to his 1 labor of land (177 acres) in Austin county on Aug 10, 1824. It's in Spanish and dated 1824.
Signed by Stephen F. Austin.
4 pages, 4MB PDF (large)


I always like to look at the signature.
This one looks like his, not just an X.


The gory details.
Grant from Mexican government to James Orrick
Dated: 10 Aug 1824
Filed: 14 July, 1942
Recorded: Vol. 135, page 568
1 labor of land, situated on the west side of the Brazos River, bla bla bla
Prater, Moses Shipman, Isaiah Flanakan, Early Robbins, bla bla bla


A random mention of James being a mail carrier in 1835 was found on the web.


Abstract Documents
A very nice lady at the Bellville abstract company found a few documents for me about James Orrick's land.
It mentions his death in 1837
Elizabeth Orrick, widow.

And a recovery document between Thomas H. Hughes and Oliver Jones 8/19/1842
Elizabeth married Thomas H. Hughes.

The plot thickens.


Mail Carriers 1836
This issue of the Telegraph and Texas Register (Columbia, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 34, Ed. 1, Tuesday, October 18, 1836 lists Jas Orrick as a Mail carrier.


1867 Labor of Orrick Land
Something must be going on with the Orrick land. Fraud or something. This is WAY after James died.


Who is Oliver Jones ?
Who is this Oliver Jones who battled Thomas Hughes over the land?
Well, he appears to be a pretty important fellow.
Born in NY 1794, one of the 300, fought in the war of 1812, and played an important part in early TX government, including heading a committee to design the flag.
Oliver's land is a few labors southwest of Orrick's.


Who is Thomas H. Hughes ?
Thomas is harder to locate. Possibly his middle initial is really "M" and Thomas and Elizabeth may have had 2 kids: Elizabeth (1842) and Eliza (1841) in Washington Co TX. Still researching this to see where they ended up.

1850 Washington Co Census
Thomas M. Hughes 35 (1815) TN
Elizabeth 32 (1818) TX
Eliza 9 (1841) TX
Elizabeth 8 (1842) TX
Near Hensley, Lucas, Shaw

1860,1870 - can't find them.

1840 Austin county tax list, shows Oliver Jones, but no Orrick or Hughes. The only Elizabeth is a Johnson.

Who is John York ?
County Sheriff of Austin County in 1837.


BEWARE - Land Fraud
Cousin Jeanie found this article in the Houston Telegraph 14 Apr 1838.

It reads:
TELEGRAPH and Texas Register
Houston, Wed, Apr 18, 1838
All persons are forewared trading for, or having anything to do with. one league and one labor of land, certificate for which was issued by the land commissioners of Washington county, on the 6th day of January last, to the heirs of James Orrick, late of Austin county. For that said certificate was obtained through fraud, and not in the proper county, (Austin) by one Joseph E. Smith; and that said Smith obtained a power of attorney, or some other instrument of writing, I know not what, in relation to said land, from me, through false representations; and that John York, of Austin county, has, and did have, long before said instrument of writing was obtained by said Smith, a bond, or written contract to clear out said land on the shares.
Washington, March 23d, 1838 21-3t


Clerk Returns - March 1838

Page 5 of 7, 4th line from bottom
John Jork Attorney for Elizabeth Orrick administrator of James Orrick
One League and one labor
Previous to the year 1835


I sense a road trip!



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