In October of 1987, groundbreaking began on the restoration of the stone residence considered to be the oldest in Goliad.
The house inside the triangle of Hord, Fannin streets and Highway 77A, known locally as The Collins House was given a chance to continue its sentinel position on the highway, when purchased by Corpus Christi Attorney John Brooke.
Brooke purchased the house after the county put it up for sale in a sealed bid auction with no other idea for it other than just not wanting to see it destroyed.
At the time of his purchase, Brooke had traced the house back to 1847, but he believed that perhaps it pre-dated the Texas Revolution.
The Goliad Center for Texas History houses within its archives a copy of “The Collins House – A History of Construction and Occupation,” written in 1987 by John C. Brooke.
Researched through personal interviews of local residents and descendants of former owners, as well as through courthouse records, to name but a few, the Collins House paper is a treasure trove of information concerning the house and its owners.
Over the next couple of weeks, I would like to share some of the information and photos concerning the history of the house. I will begin this week, with a first look at some of the earliest owners of the structure.
The history of the house ownership begins according to Brooke, when the house was placed up for bids at city auction in 1847, and was sold to Jesse W. Stoddard.
According to Brooke, Mr. Stoddard served on the Goliad School District Board from 1854-58. Mr. Stoddard owned the home until 1879 when Eliza A. Lane acquired the house as assignee of Mr. Stoddard’s around 1850. The date is an estimate as there was no deed from J. W. Stoddard to Eliza Lane.
Eliza and her husband Johnathan W. Lane are listed in the 1860 census as 36 and 44 years of age respectively, and Johnathan is listed as a physician.
Brooke speculates in his paper that if Lane was practicing medicine in Goliad at that time, he would be one of Goliad’s earliest resident physicians.
In the year 1879, Eliza’s deed of the home to Artie Collins, included information from her that she had lived in the home for 25 years.
We will begin next time with the cast of characters from the Collins family, which according to Brooke included church founders, cattle drivers and desperadoes among its family members.
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