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In a journal by S.O. Eidman Sr. written in 1923 at the age of 91 years, he tells of coming from Breman, Germany to Galveston, Texas after a voyage of eleven weeks. On their way overland to New Braunfels to claim a land grant, they were forced to stop at San Felipe de Austin due to illness in the family. This was in the summer of 1846. Looking about the old town which had been destroyed in 1836, they found a vacant log cabin into which they were given permission to move. In September of that year Mr. Eidman's father died and it became necessary for him to help his mother support the family. One of his first jobs was hauling the lumber by ox team and wagon for John Crutcher from the steamboat landing on the Brazos River for use in constructing the Josey Store building.

The Josey Store Visitor Center

The last old store building erected in San Felipe de Austin after the town was burned to prevent it from falling into the hands of Santa Anna and the Mexican Army has been moved back near its original location, on the Plaza de Commercio. The building now stands in the historical area of the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.

The building was constructed in 1847 by John Crutcher and was in continuous operation for the next 95 years. Crutcher sold the store and merchandise in 1854 to Z. W. Matthews. Matthews sold the complete store in 1855 to James Hillard who sold it to Parker and Cooper in 1860. Dr. J. J. Josey bought the building and contents from Parker and Cooper in 1867. He operated the general store until 1880 when the building was moved about one mile south where the Texas Western Narrow Gauge Railroad had been built from Houston to Sealy. Dr. Josey remained in business until his death in 1893 at which time the building and merchandise were sold to W. J. Fredericks, Sr., who had been employed by Dr. Josey. Mr Fredericks operated the store until his death in 1942. It was never reopened as a store again. Contents of the building, fixtures, and merchandise, etc. were disposed of by Mr. Fredericks daughter, who later sold the building, which was used many years as a storage barn.

The building was purchased in 1962 and presented to the Stephen F. Austin Park Association for use as a museum. About sixty percent of the building was constructed with heart cypress lumber. Although some restoration was initially necessary at that time, considering it's age it was still in a relatively good state of preservation. The bricks used to rebuild the flue, walk and foundation blocks came from the old Crump Plantation which were made by slave labor about 1860. The bricks were donated by the Max Schubert family. The lighting fixtures, counters, and shelves came from other old store buildings here in Austin County and some of the old glass showcases were donated as well.

This is an older photo 
of the structure.

The J.J. Josey Store was donated to The Texas State Historical Commission and is now being used as the Josey Store Visitor Center. Many items that you might find on exhibit would have been for sale to the local homeowners & farmers of San Felipe around the year 1847. Historical pieces, old documents, ledgers, newspapers, books, collections of buttons, bridle bits, bottles, smoothing irons, and square nails are a only a few of the items you might see on exhibit. Most items have been donated to the state or on loan for exhibit.

Photo Credits: Jerry Olson
 

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Website design by
Jerry Olson.