Charles D. Sayre, sugar planter, was born about 1799 in New York, where he was a trader until he moved to Texas with his wife, Catherine Ward Sayre, in 1831. The couple apparently had no children of their own, but had an adopted daughter, Lorena White. Sayre ran a store in Brazoria with John L. Sleight and in 1832 was in business in the same town with a man named Nixon. Sayre and Nixon sold out to Brigham, Richeson, and Company (the Brigham was probably Asa Brigham). The Sayres subsequently settled on the Willow Glen Plantation, about a mile from Columbia on the Brazos River. In 1832 Sayre bought a half league of land and a plantation from James B. Bailey and built a cotton gin that processed 100 bales in 1835. Sayre was one of about 100 citizens who joined William J. Russell's Brazoria militia in June 1832, during the Anahuac Disturbances. In October Sayre represented the District of Victoria at the Convention of 1832, which called for the separation of Coahuila and Texas, and in 1835 he was a member of the Columbia Committee of Safety and Correspondence. During the Texas Revolution he gave the Revolutionary Army $940 worth of his plantation provisions loaded on the schooner Pennsylvania. After the war he was one of nine men who incorporated the Brazoria Insurance Company, approved by the Republic of Texas Congress in 1837 and capitalized at $200,000. The company was formed to safeguard vessels, buildings, freight, and merchandise from fire or sea damage and planned to contribute 1 percent of its annual profits toward improving the mouth of the Brazos River. In 1845 Sayre was elected a vice president in the Brazoria County Temperance Society and was a member of the county Bible Society. By 1840 he owned almost 6,000 acres of land and twenty-four slaves. He opened a sugar-milling business and by 1852 was among the top twenty sugar producers in Brazoria County; he made 570 hogsheads of sugar between 1852 and 1855. He owned real estate valued at $70,000. Sayre died on October 9, 1858, in Galveston and was buried in the Trinity Episcopal Church.
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James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Charles Waldo Hayes, Galveston: History of the Island and the City (2 vols., Austin: Jenkins Garrett, 1974). Andrew Phelps McCormick, Scotch-Irish in Ireland and America (1897). Abner J. Strobel, The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County (Houston, 1926; rev. ed., Houston: Bowman and Ross, 1930; rpt., Austin: Shelby, 1980). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Craig H. Roell
Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell,
“Sayre, Charles D.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 24, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 17, 2021