Stephen F. Austin hires builder
On this day in 1821, James Beard (or Baird), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, signed an agreement with Austin to come to Texas on the Lively and to work for him until December 1822 at building cabins and a stockade and cultivating five acres of corn. Beard was a saddler from St. Louis, Missouri, who was later known as "Deaf" Beard. He joined Austin in New Orleans on June 18, 1821, and accompanied him on the Beaver to Natchitoches, Louisiana, and thence to Texas. According to the terms of the agreement, Austin was to provide tools, provisions, a section of land, and a town lot. Beard served as a cook and steward aboard the Lively and was left in command of the vessel while some of the passengers explored the Brazos River. On August 10, 1824, he received a sitio of land and settled on the San Bernard River in what later became Fort Bend County. The census of 1826 listed Beard as a single man aged between twenty-five and forty.