Mims, Joseph (unknown–1844)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 7, 2018

Joseph Mims, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, the son of Samuel Mims, was born in Baldwin County, Alabama, and served in the War of 1812. His family's homestead was the site of the battle of Fort Mims (also known as the Fort Mims Massacre) in 1813. In 1820 he represented Baldwin County in the Alabama legislature. On August 19, 1824, he received title to a sitio of land now in Brazoria County. The census of March 1826 listed Mims as a farmer and stock raiser, aged between thirty-five and forty. His household included his wife, Sarah (Weekly), who he married in 1821, two sons, a daughter, and four slaves. One of the sons, Benjamin Franklin Mims, fought in the battle of San Jacinto. In November 1830 the ayuntamiento of San Felipe appointed Mims a commissioner to report on a road from Brazoria to Jennings' Crossing on the Brazos River. He was one of a number of Brazoria County residents who signed a petition calling for the Convention of 1836. The Fannin-Mims plantation, four miles west of Brazoria on the San Bernard River, was a partnership between Mims and James W. Fannin, Jr. After Fannin's death at Goliad in 1836, Mims operated the enterprise as a cotton plantation and took care of Fannin's wife and two daughters. When the five-year partnership ended, Mims bought Fannin's portion. In 1840 Mims declared title to 5,300 acres, 50 slaves, 6 horses, 150 cattle, and one gold watch. In August 1844 he attended a political gathering at Brazoria and helped draw up resolutions in favor of Edward Burleson and Kenneth L. Anderson. Mims died in late 1844. His widow converted the plantation from cotton to sugar production. In 1854 the estate had seventy-two slaves; that year Mims's heirs built a mansion on the estate, which burned in 1921. By 1860 Sarah Mims was one of the largest slaveholders in Texas. She died in 1861 and left 116 slaves and total property assessed at $226,033.

Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Telegraph and Texas Register, August 21, 1844. Texas Gazette, November 6, 1830. Texas State Gazette, November 16, 1850. William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian, 1966). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Ralph A. Wooster, "Notes on Texas' Largest Slaveholders, 1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (July 1961).

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

Anonymous, “Mims, Joseph,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/mims-joseph.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 7, 2018