Fanthorp, Henry (ca. 1790–1867)

By: Charles Christopher Jackson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Henry Fanthorp, merchant, innkeeper, and land speculator, was born in Lincolnshire, England, about 1790. He sailed for America in search of a livelihood and arrived at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1832. When later that year he applied for land in the Stephen F. Austin and Samuel M. Williams colony, he testified that he was a widower and had left a son in England. In 1833 Fanthorp purchased from Francis Holland a tract of 1,100 acres on the west bank of upper Holland Creek in what is now central Grimes County. At once he began trading in agricultural commodities and built a small log house on his property. In the spring of 1834 he built for his bride, Rachel (Kennard), a much larger house near the intersection of stage roads from Houston to Springfield and Nacogdoches to San Felipe de Austin; he soon established the Fanthorp Inn at the new residence. In December 1835 Fanthorp was appointed postmaster of Grimes County's first post office. In 1837, with his brother-in-law Mike Kennard and Abraham Womack, he opened a general store at the inn, perhaps the first such establishment in Grimes County. In 1839 he purchased a second tract of land, surveyed a townsite, and began to sell lots. The community that grew up near the inn was known as Alta Mira until 1846, when its name was changed to Anderson. In 1851 Fanthorp was agent for the United States mail coaches operating between Houston and Austin. The Fanthorps had a son and two daughters. Both Rachel and Henry Fanthorp died in Grimes County in 1867 and were buried in the family cemetery near the Fanthorp Inn.

E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982).
  • Peoples
  • English
  • Business

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Charles Christopher Jackson, “Fanthorp, Henry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995