Humble Ferry

The Humble Ferry refers to a ferry that was operated by Pleasant Humble across the West Fork of the San Jacinto River in the 1870s. The ferry was located just east of the present-day Bevil Jarrell Bridge, on land originally patented to John B. Jones in 1846. Harris County first established a ferry at this location in August 1849.1

In 1853, John Brown Jones sold the remainder of his land (984 acres) along the west fork of the San Jacinto River to Sarah Goodman (a daughter of Joseph Dunman). Jesse B. Woodyard lived on this land as a tenant as early as 1854. He built a house, cultivated a few acres, and operated a ferry across the San Jacinto River. In 1858, Sarah Goodman and her husband Thomas. J. divided up the land, selling 279.5 acres to Joseph Dunman (Sarah's father), and 602 acres to Adelard Bourgeois. The Goodman's kept 102.5 acres, including the land used for the ferry.2 Jesse B. Woodyard continued to live on the Goodman's land and operated the ferry.

In 1860, Sarah Goodman sold the remaining 100 acres to Jesse B. Woodyard and Eliza Morgan (Sarah's sister). Eliza Morgan was another daughter of Joseph Dunman. She first married George W. Harris in 1841, and after his death married Richard B. Morgan in 1846. Richard Morgan died in 1856. This land was known as the Woodyard Place.3 Around 1867, Woodyard left and J. J. Roberts occupied his land as his tenant. J. J. Roberts was authorized as a franchisee by the Harris County Commissioners to operate the ferry across the river.4 During this time, Eliza Morgan married Absolon Hogan. Eliza and her new husband attempted to oust Roberts from the land, but Absolon Hogan was killed during this venture on August 21, 1867.

Woodyard sold his share of the land (50 acres) to John and Mary Thornton in 1868. Thornton operated the ferry for about two years. Eliza Hogan (formerly Eliza Morgan) sold her 50 acres to Pleasant S. Humble and his wife in 1869. The following year, the Thornton's also sold their 50 acres to Mr. and Mrs. Humble.5 Humble and his family lived at the homestead for several years. He operated the ferry and ran a small grocery store in a house he built near the ferry. He also continued to cultivate the land that had originally been cultivated by Woodyard.6

There were also other ferries in operation in the same area. Mary Blanton was granted a ferry franchise, about 3/4 of a mile from the railroad crossing in 18617, which was later operated by Patrick Morley,8 then Rachel Morley,9 and later by Mrs. Dora Stanfield.10


1. Harris County, Texas, Commissioners' Court Minutes, vol. A: B76, establish a ferry on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, on the public road leading from Dunman's to the Montgomery line, 21 August 1849.

2. "Eliza West et. al. v. Geo. H. Herman et. al." Texas Civil Appeals Reports 47 (1909): 131.

3. Harris County, Texas, Tax Lists Microfilm 1865-1866, Texas State Library Archives. J. B. Woodyard is listed as living on the J. B. Jones survey, 50 acres.

4. Harris County, Texas, Commissioners' Court Minutes, vol. C: 69, J. J. Roberts to establish ferry on San Jacinto River between Dunmans and Parkers, July 1867;Harris County Archives, Houston.

5. Harris County Deeds, volume 9, page 236. Sale of 50 acres out of the J. B. Jones survey from $300 form John and Mary Thornton to E. J. Humble on 15 November 1870.

6. The Southwestern Reporter. Volume 168 containing all of the current decisions of the Supreme and Appellate Courts of Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. July 29 - August 26, 1914. West Publishing Co., St. Paul, 1914. (Hermann v Thomas et al (No. 261). Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, El Paso April 9, 1914. On rehearing June 25, 1914.). page 1038 

7. Harris County, Texas, Commissioners' Court Minutes, vol. B: 13, Mary Blanton granted franchise to operate ferry at her place, about 3/4 of a mile below railroad crossing, 20 August 1861.

8. Harris County, Texas, Commissioners' Court Minutes, vol. B: 94, Patrick Morley allowed to operate a ferry from the old Blanton place, 18 May 1863.

9. Harris County, Texas, Commissioners' Court Minutes, vol. B: 181, Rachel Morley to operate a ferry at the "James Cropping" about 1/4 mile below the railroad bridge, 4 July 1864.

10. Harris County, Texas, Commissioners' Court Minutes, vol. C: 57, Mrs. Dora Stanfield to operate ferries at and near Blanton's Crossing, 1 April 1867.

11. Marriage of Elizabeth Dunman to George W. Harris, marriage record Vol. A, page 204, issued 08/10/1841.

12. Marriage of Elizabeth Harris to Richard B. Morgan, marriage record Vol A., page 409, issues 08/28/1846. Richard B. Morgan died 1856.

13. Marriage of Elizabeth Josephine Morgan to Absolon Hogan, marriage record Vol. E, page 5, issued 08/22/1865. Absolon Hogandied 08/21/1867.