Jane Long's Lasting Legacy in Fort Bend County History
On a frigid Friday in December 1821, Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long gave birth to a baby girl on Bolivar Peninsula. Accompanied only by her five-year-old daughter and Kian, an enslaved African American woman, Jane believed that she was the first Anglo woman to give birth to a child in Texas. Though census data contradicts that claim, her nickname and legacy as the “Mother of Texas” stuck.
On Her Own
Jane didn’t learn of her husband’s death until later that summer. Alone in Texas with two daughters to provide for, she initially tried to seek a pension from Mexico for her husband’s accidental death, but was unsuccessful. In 1824, she received a title to a league of land in Fort Bend County and a labor of land in Waller County from empresario Stephen F. Austin. She sold a portion of her Fort Bend County league to Robert E. Handy, who later developed the town of Richmond.
In addition to her ranching and farming endeavors, Jane also operated two boarding houses. She started the first in Brazoria in 1832; her guests included Sam Houston, Mirabeau Lamar and William B. Travis. In 1837, she opened a second boarding house in Richmond, which became a center for social and political activities pertaining to Texas independence.
Folklore and family tradition say that Jane was courted by several famous Texans, including Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar. Jane never remarried, however, and died in December 1880. She is buried in Morton Cemetery.
Funding has been provided to the Fort Bend History Association from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
Fort Bend Museum Staff