A. M. Brown Cabin
#1 Ownership list
of land where log cabin is located.
State of Texas to Asa M. Brown by Patent #269,
Vol. 18 (Photostat of patent accompanies this material)
Abstract #85, Certificate #5, 3rd class recorded in
General Land Office and dated Nov. 17, 1858. The log
Cabin was located on 317 acres, the land to which Mr.
Brown was entitled by virtue of a law passed Jan. 22,
1845 and amended in 1853 giving to settlers pre-emption
claims. The original survey was made on June 26, 1954
and certified on Aug. 15, 1854 in the Surveyor's Records
Book L, Page 172, Williamson County, Texas (All further
records referred to in this ownership list are recorded
in Williamson County, Texas.)
Samuel J. Davidson paid $400.00 for 407 acres,
approximately $1.00 per acre, on October 26, 1859
recorded Vol. 8, Page 555 of the Deed Records. This
included the original 317 acres plus a 90 acre tract
contiguous to that original tract. Davidson sold to M.
A. Robins who paid $1,300.00 for 407 acres, about $3.19
per acre, on November 11, 1872 recorded Vol. 14, Page
139, Deed Records. Robins sold to John A. Cloud who paid
$1,500.00 for 283 acres, $5.30 per acre on March 25,
18/6 recorded Vol. 17, Page 259, Deed Records. The log
cabin was on the 283 acres sold to Mr. Cloud. The other
124 acres was retained by Mr. Robins.
John A. Cloud died in 1880 intestate and left his 283
acres undivided to his children. He had five children by
his deceased first wife. They were J. W. Cloud; J. E.
Cloud, G. W. Cloud,
M. E. Cloud Abraham and S. A. Cloud Harris. He also had
three (3) children by his deceased second wife. They
were Mattie Cloud Roach, Pearl Cloud Roach, and Grace
W. Cloud sold his undivided interest in the 283 acres to
G. A. Cloud for $2,000.00, approximately $7.06 per acre,
on November 22, 1888 recorded Vol. 53, Page 292, Deed
M. E. Abraham sold her undivided interest in 283
acres to S. A. Harris, her sister, for $200.00, about
$4.25 per acre, on July 27, 1889 recorded Vol. 53, Page
288 of the Deed Records.
S. Allie Harris then sold her interest to Wm.
Wood on November 18, 1889 for $400.00 ($4.25 per acre).
$200.00 paid in cash and a $200.00 note bearing 10%
interest and due on January 1, 1891 recorded Vol. 53,
Page 294 Deed Records. The $200.00 note with interest
was paid May 26, 1900.
On November 27, 1889, Wm. Wood redeemed 177 acres
of the 283 acres for payment of $8.63 in back taxes not
paid by J. W. Cloud for year 1887 recorded Vol. 53, Page
310 Deed Records.
G. A. Cloud sold his interest in 283 acres to Wm.
Wood for $200.00, $4.25 per acre, on February 15, 1890
recorded Vol. 53, Page 297, Deed Records.
J. E. Cloud sold his undivided interest in the
283 acres to Wm. Wood on December 2, 1890 for $200.00,
$4.25 per acre, recorded Vol. 59, Page 543, Deed
G. W. Cloud sold his interest to Wm. Wood on
November 30, 1895 for $200.00, $425 per acre, recorded
Vol. 79, Page 434. A zerox copy of the note for $200.00
given to G. W. Cloud by Wm. Wood accompanies this
On July 29, 1899 a Quit Claim Deed was recorded
in Vol. 93, Page 567 to Wm. Wood from the survivors of
S. J. Davidson for consideration of $1.00 because in
Davidson sold to M. A. Robins, there were some
irregularities in the deed due to two notes which had
long since been paid but not properly released.
On December 14, 1903, Wm. Wood used his interest
in 277 acres, including the cabin site, for collateral
to borrow $1,600.00 at 10% interest due on or before
five (5) years. He borrowed the money from John W.
Hamilton with $10.00 paid to F. W. Carothers as trustee;
recorded Vol. 18, Page 170, Deed of Trust Records. The
note and interest were paid in full and the Deed
of Trust was
released by Carothers to Wood on May 11, 1909 recorded
Vol. 133, Page 140, Deed Records.
On October 6, 1905, Mattie Cloud Roach and Grace Cloud
Goggolz each sold their undivided interest in the 283
acres to Wm. Wood for $133.33, about $2.84 per acre,
recorded Vol. 108, Page 241, Deed Records.
The last holdout was Pearl Cloud Roach who on April 24,
1906 sold her interest to Wm. Wood for $66.65, only
$1.42 per acre, recorded Vol. 117, Page 463, Deed
Records. She waited the longest to sell and got the
least for her share.
It took Wm. Wood from November 18, 1889 to April 24,
1906 to purchase all rights to the property where the
log cabin stands. He paid a total of $1,209.61, an
average of $4.27 per acre. During the time Mr. Wood
owned and occupied the cabin, he added to the original
structure, including more rooms and approximately three
(3) times as much square feet of living area.
L. M. Hughes bought the 283 acres plus 554 acres
contiguous to it for a total of 837 acres from Wm. Wood
for $7,910.00 cash and notes for $4,550.00 divided into
notes 1-10. #1 for $150.00 due 1-1-1910, #2 - 8 each for
$200.00 due Jan. 1, 1911 and each Jan. 1 through 1917,
#9 and 10 each for $1,500.00 due January 1, 1918 and
1919. Each note bearing interest of eight (8%) percent
per annum, Recorded Vol. 131, Page 401, Deed Records.
L. M. Hughes was something of a rolling stone according
to his descendant, Charles Hughes of. Leander, Texas. He
moved to the ranch from Weir, Texas. It wasn't long
before the urge
to move on overtook him, and he talked his nephew and
niece, T. L. and Annie Hughes, into buying the ranch so
he could be on his way.
On November 12, 1910, T. L. and his sister, Annie, paid
$7,500.00 for 837 acres, $8.96 per acre. They paid
$2,586.00 cash and assumed the notes payable to Wm. Wood
in the amount of $4,914. Warranty Deed with Vendor's
Lien recorded Book 147, Page 112, Deed Records.
Soon after they purchased the ranch and made their home
there, their brother Will E. Hughes and his wife, Mable,
and their 4 year old son, Charles, came to live on the
ranch. They shared
the house which included the log cabin and the additions
which had been made by Wm. Wood. Charles E. Hughes lived
on the ranch from 1912 to 1962 in this house. Mr. Hughes
was very helpful in relating and confirming much of the
cabin history included in this report.
Annie Hughes died July 12, 1950. Charles E. Hughes, her
nephew, inherited her undivided 1/2 interest in 526
acres including the land where to cabin stands. The
other 311 acres originally purchased by the Hughes had
been sold previously. Probate #4640
T. L. Hughes died Aug. 26, 1957, and left his half of
the 526 acres to Charles Hughes, his nephew. The
property was valued at $35.00 per acre for inheritance
tax purposes for a total value of $18,410.00. Probate
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Garey, the present owners of the
property, paid $89,126.00 for 523 acres on September 4,
1966. (3 acres having been donated to the highway dept.
for purposes of
straightening and widening the road) $170.41 per
acre, recorded Vol. 490, Page 457, Deed Records.
Proof of date the log cabin was erected.
According to the Pre-emption certificate for Asa M.
Brown File 1211 Milam 3rd class, Asa M. Brown resided
upon and cultivated the 317 acres where the log cabin is
located for three consecutive years, and the settlement
and improvement was commenced previous to February 13,
1854. According to the last section of the field notes,
Asa Brown swore that he settled upon vacant Public
Domain February 7, 1853.
The original copy of the Pre-emption certificate and
also the field notes are at the General Land Office, but
copies of both documents accompany this material. Also
included is an affidavit signed by Charles Hughes,
previous owner, testifying to facts related to him by
his predecessors in title confirming the building of the
cabin by Asa M. Brown.
#3 Motivation for
Erecting the Log Cabin
Mr. Asa M. Brown built and occupied the present cabin as
a homesite in order to acquire free land under a
homesteaders law passed by the State of Texas in 1845.
This land was made available by the State of Texas to
settlers to encourage immigration and development of the
State. From the size of the cabin and the materials
used, it seems safe to assume that Mr. Brown was a
pioneer of modest means. The times were predominantly
agricultural. The cabin was located near rich river
bottom land. Undoubtedly, Mr. Brown hand cleared the
best land of native oaks, elm and cedar in order to
cultivate it for production of crops of the era.
The cabin provided the shelter necessary to protect Mr.
Brown and his family from the elements and hostile
Indians in the area, and the land provided the means for
his livelihood through production of crops.
#4 The builder of
the structure and short histories of
The builder of the log cabin was Asa M. Brown. He
settled on 317 acres on the S. San Gabriel River and
built the log cabin to enable him to homestead the land
pursuant to an act passed Jan. 22, 1845 granting to
settlers on vacant public domain pre-emption privileges.
In the attached affidavit Mr. Brown swore he had lived
on this land since February 7, 1853. He sold the land to
Samuel J. Davidson on October 6, 1859. He lived on and
worked the land for 6 years and 9 months.
The next owner on whom any information could be located
was John A. Cloud. He bought the land on March 25, 1876.
He outlived two wives and fathered eight children, three
boys and two girls by his first wife and three girls by
his second wife. He died in 1880 intestate leaving the
property on which the cabin stood to his children, but
ownership was undivided.
The next owner was William Wood. He had the onerous task
of acquiring all of the undivided interests in the
property from the Cloud children. It took him seventeen
years to do this. According to Charles, Mr. Wood lived
on the land and added to the log cabin to make a home
for his wife, and several children. In addition to being
a farmer and rancher, Mr. Wood was reported to be an old
Indian fighter according to stories passed down to Mr.
Hughes from his Uncle who was well acquainted with Mr.
Wm. Wood sold to L. M. Hughes on December 10, 1908 two
years and nine months after he had acquired complete
title to the land. Mr. Hughes came from Weir, Texas and
present descendants was a rolling stone. He owned the
land almost two years, but wanting to move on, he talked
his nephew and niece, who also lived at Weir, into
buying the ranch.
T. L. and Annie Hughes thus became the next owners. They
moved into the house which included the log cabin along
with another brother Will Hughes and his wife Mabel and
4 year old son, Charles. They farmed and ranched the
land and Charles went to school in Leander as he was
growing up. When Annie and T. L. died, in 1950 and 1957
respectively, Charles inherited each of their half
interest in the ranch and the cabin. Charles married and
brought his bride to live on the ranch. They lived there
with their children and Charles' parents until 1962 when
they moved into the town of Leander.
No additional information could be located on the
previous owners of the log cabin.
#5 There were no
architects or contractors as such.
#6 Description of
structure as it was originally built.
The log cabin has only one room which measures
15' x 15'. It is one story and originally had a dirt
floor. There were no porches, but cedar staves were
inserted high in the outside walls to support canvas
covered lean-to structures for added "rooms". The cabin
had a hand hewn stone fireplace, two doors and one
window. The window was on the same wall as the
fireplace. There was a hand dug well located about 30
yds. from the cabin (described in #7).
The materials used on the exterior were oak and elm logs
shaped on two sides only with an axe. The spaced between
the logs were filled with small rocks and mortar. A more
detailed description follows in #7.
#7. Account of the
construction of the log cabin.
The log cabin was built of oak and elm logs. These were
used both because they were plentiful in the area and
because the timber on the land to be used for fields
would be cleared anyway. The logs were flattened on two
sides with an axe and half-notched on the ends to
facilitate joining them together. The spaces between the
logs were filled with relatively flat rocks placed at a
45° angle in order to better shed rain water to prevent
pocketing of water or leakage to the inside of the
cabin. The rocks were gathered from natural outcropping
of shale type limestone rock on the sides of nearby
hills. To hold the rocks in place, they used a mortar
consisting of pulverized natural lime from limestone
mixed with wood ashes and water. The type of limestone
suitable for this purpose was located at shallow depths
on nearby hillsides.
The chimney was constructed of native rock using the
same mortar described above. The chimney was constructed
with a small protrusion of thin rock above the roofline
to better shed rain water so it was deflected,
preventing it from running into the cabin or causing the
roof to leak. At the top of the wall in the Southeast
and Northeast corners just under the roof, the logs and
mortar were carefully shaped in an oval to leave a hole
approximately 6" in diameter, ostensibly for purposes of
allowing the occupants to put a rifle barrel through the
hole in order to ward off attacking Indians or other
marauders with maximum protection to the cabin
occupants. These holes, with original logs and mortar,
have been carefully preserved and are intact as
Holes approximately 1" in diameter can presently be seen
where they were bored into the exterior surface of the
logs approximately 6' from ground level. According to
information obtained, these holes were used to hold
cedar staves or poles to form a support for canvas tent
like exterior rooms. The holes can still be seen in the
logs on three sides of the cabin.
It is interesting to note that the only cedar used in
the construction of the cabin were these staves and
cedar joists used to support the roof.
A hand dug well is located approximately 30 yds. to the
West of the cabin. It is about 30' deep and 4' in
diameter and is lined bottom and sides with native rock.
Two cedar posts were erected on either side of the well
and a pulley was used to hoist water up in wooden
buckets. The well provided a pure sweet tasting spring
water and remains functional (with occasional cleaning
operations) to the present time.
Mr. Leroy Behrens of Round Rock, Texas, a carpenter with
many years experience and a descendent of early day
settlers, did the actual work of restoring the log
cabin. Mr. Behrens did additional research into types of
construction used during the period in which the log
cabin was built and attempted to simulate these methods
as closely as possible.
#8 Influences which
caused owner to build this type
The cabin was located in the rich bottom land fields.
The cultivated land was approximately 40 acres adjacent
to the banks of the South San Gabriel river in a small
valley surrounded by timbered upland. The cabin was
located a sufficient distance from the river so there
was no danger from flooding. It allowed near proximity
to fields as well as being in a location where ample
drinking water was available. Also, it was in a
relatively open area which afforded a greater degree of
protection from Indians or other marauders who might try
to attack the cabin.
From both the size and the materials used, one
would suppose that Mr. Brown hadn't much time or money
when he built the cabin. He used materials that were
closest at hand and methods of building that were the
least time consuming and most economical. Because there
was danger from Indians, it was probably important to
get the cabin built as quickly as possible so they would
have some protective shelter.
#9 Additions and
The log cabin has never been moved from its original
site. It has had some additions, however, through the
An early addition was that of flooring. Wide lumber was
put in using square headed nails by Wm. Wood shortly
after he first started acquiring title to the property.
He also built onto the cabin. Using the cabin as the
West end of his house, he added several rooms onto the
East side. He also added porches on the North and South
Later, when the Hughes family moved in, they covered the
outside walls with an imitation brick tarpaper. The roof
was of shingles which had started to leak, so it was
also covered with tarpaper. Inside, the walls were
papered thickly with old newspapers.
When the present owners bought the property in 1966, the
log cabin was covered both inside and outside so that it
was not identifiable from casual inspection.
A bulldozer had been hired to doze down the old barns,
brush, etc., including the old house built around the
cabin. During the closing of the sale of the property,
the seller, Mr. Hughes, made a chance remark in
reference to the existence of the old log cabin located
under the tarpaper covering the old house. The bulldozer
operator was stopped in the nick of time just as he was
about to start dozing down the old house surrounding the
Condition, Upkeep, and Future
The log cabin has been completely restored to as close
to its original structure as we could determine that to
be. It is weather proof inside, and the outer structure
is protected from further weathering by a silicone
The present and future owners of the land will be
responsible for its upkeep. The present owners plan to
furnish the cabin with antique furniture of the time,
and documents relating to
the history and ownership of the cabin will be kept in
the cabin. The cabin will be used to preserve an
original of a type of housing used by early settlers.
#12 Not applicable.
#13 Role of Cabin
From 1853 until 1967 the cabin has been used as a family
dwelling. It provided shelter for families who settled
this area and farmed the land to provide food and other
agricultural products for the pioneer community.
#14 Reasons to
The cabin with its type of construction is an example of
homes used by our pioneer agricultural society. The
cabin represents one type of shelter used by our
forebears and the type of shelter that was prevalent in
Texas during the middle 1800's.
Very few log cabins are still in existence, and most of
those that exist in this area are in very poor repair.
It is the intent of the present owner to have this one
restored and commemorated to preserve this era in
and Oral Interview Sources
Abstract #Wi 154
Williamson County, Texas
General Land Office
Stephen F. Austin Bldg.
17th 6 Congress
State of Texas Archives Library
12th & Congress
1104 E. Liberty
Contractor for reconstruction of log cabin
Round Rock, Texas
Charles E. Hughes
Former owner of property numerous discussions
concerning history of Leander, Texas cabin
Mrs. Don Scarbrough
1318 E. University Ave.
Several discussions concerning cabin during March
& April, Georgetown, Texas