Stephen F Austin to Emily Perry 11-30-1831

Summary: Austin's house plans for his sister.


Back here the kitchen and other out buildings will be placed between the house and Pleasant Bayou, so as to be convenient to wood and water—the back yard must extend down to the bayou and all the large trees ought to be carefully preserved so as to have a cool shady grove back of the house on the bank of the bayou, also this grove will break off the north winds in winter

The garden and orchard can be east, or west of the house along the edge of the timber, and the cow pens stables &c ought to be on the opposite end of the house from the Garden, that is, if the garden is west or below the house, the cow pens, stables and calf lot barn ought to be to the east of the house up the bayou which I think will be the best place— The farm ought to be on the north side of Pleasant bayou

Explanation of the Plan D Means door—W means windows

G D. means glass door

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Nos 1 and 3 bed room on each end of the front gallery 10 by 12ft

N. °2 Front gallery 34 feet long 10 feet wide— The whole of the sills, posts and floors of this and all the other galleries ought to be of cedar or they will rot from the wet in a few years

N.° 4 Dining room, 24 feet square—a door in the South west corner which opens into the front gallery, another in north west corner which opens into the back gallery The upper part of this last door ought to be of glass— A door into the passage, and a glass door in the South east corner on the gallery of the east wing marked G D-

N.° 5 Passage 10 feet by 24—a door at each end with a half round window over head of each door

N.os 6 and 7 Bed room 12 by 24 with a corner fire place in each out of N.° 7 a door of glass at G D to open to the back gallery of the west wing

N.° 8 West wing 14 by 16 with a fireplace and a Gallery on each side 5 feet wide

N.0 9 A closet on the back gallery of the west wing

N.os 10 and 11 childrens bed rooms, through which there is a communication into the back gallery without having to go round through the passage

N.° 12 Back gallery 12 by 18 feet— This will be useful to breakfast or Dine in the summer and to keep the water buckets and wash bowls &c &c—

N.° 13 Pantry, which opens into the back gallery and is adjoining to the dining room, through the G D at the north west corner

N.° 14 Store room 12 feet square—such a room is indispensable to keep liquors and necessaries of various kinds in—

N.0 15 Closet on the back gallery of the east wing

N.° 16 East wing— This is S. F. Austins room and is to be finished expressly for him In the passage there must be a stair case to go up into the garret where there may be two good winter bed rooms, one at each end, with windows in the gable ends—the roofs of the wings need not be as high as the main body—in fact they might be made flat roofs with a door to go out of the garret on them, so as to have a view of the bay

Agreeably to this plan the west half and west wing of the house can be made entirely private, for family use— for besides the doors into the passage out of N.os 6 and 7 there will be two private back doors, one out of N.° 7 on to the back gallery of the west wing, and one through the childrens bed rooms 10 and 11 into the main back gallery, and thence into the pantry and Store room, or out to the kitchen

The pantry situated as it is, will be convenient to the kitchen, and dining room, and store room, and will be a useful and handy place to arrange and prepare the materials and knicknacks of a dinner or supper—-also to keep crockery ware &c &c. The west wing will be a very pleasant and a very private family room either for summer or winter.

The dining room is large enough to entertain company in handsome stile without being jamed to death for want of room—and it will make a very pleasant sitting room winter or summer— The door into the back gallery will communicate with the kitchen and pantry. The East wing will make a room for S. F. Austin, and will be connected with the body of the house through the glass door into the dining room out of the front gallery of the East wing.—

The body of the room ought to be 14 feet between the floors so as to give the roof a sufficient pitch over the galleries— The wings ought to be 12 feet between the floors and flat roofs with banisters around them—

By raising the house four or five feet from the ground, a cellar may be easily made under a part of it—

The whole body of the house might be raised now and enclosed, making a calculation to add the two wings afterwards, taking care to have the fireplaces made on the outside of the wings, and also to have all the mortises made that might be necessary to unite the wings to the main body and the wings could then be put up next year when there is more time to do it— The west half of the main part of the house, that is the rooms 6. 7. 10. 11. and S might be finished this winter and spring so as to receive the family, and the whole of the east part of the house might be let alone and finished next summer and fall— Lime is so convenient there from shells, that I would lathe and plaster the inside of all the rooms it will be much cheaper I think than to ciel them with planks

By commencing on this plan the whole of it may be finished at different times at a leisure spell or according as workmen and lumber can be had for the family can move as soon as the rooms 6. 7. 10. and 11 are finished, or even half finished— This house will be a convenient one and large enough for your family and leave some rooms to accomodate friends and visitors, of whom you will have a number after a while— In a year or two, should more room be wanted, another story can very easily be put on to each of the wings

I think that 10 feet is wide enough for the passage, this passage is in fact but of little use except to divide the house and make the rooms [Image did not transfer - DL] private, and also for the stairs to go up into the garret— The ground for the garden and orchard, and cow pens and stables corn cribs &c &c, and also the place for the kitchen and smoke house and the hen house and poultry yard ought all to be selected and marked out before the house is raised, and then you will do everything on a fixed plan, and all will come out right, even if you are three or four years finishing it—

S. F. Austin

November 30, 1831.

This plan shows the situation of the garden, yards, kitchen, cowpens, stables &c— I think that 16 feet square is too small for the kitchen, it ought to be 20 feet at least, for the chimney and oven will take up all one side and in this hot climate a small room for a kitchen would be very hot and unhealthy— All the back buildings ought to be brick with brick floors—a common log cabin would do for a kitchen untill you could build of brick you will have to make bricks next fall for your chimneys— The place where you ought to make the brick is up the Chocolate bayou at Brays old Cabbin where there is Clay and Timber, and take the brick down by water

By beginning on this plan and finishing it by degrees you can do it all in a year or 18 months and not feel it materially—and when it is done you will have a valuable place and a convenient one


No. 1 Horse Lot—The fence round this lot ought to be very high and strong so as to pen wild horses or Cattle—which can be driven into the lane and so through the bars

No. 2 Calf Lot and Cow pens to be divided so as to make it convenient for milking

No. 3 Gate or bars To go out and in with a carriage or on Horse back, so as not to interfere with the trees in front of the house

No. 4 Front Yard to be planted with orange trees etc

No. 5 In this back yard the pig styesLye gums and such things can be put up

No. 6 This is laid off North and East, and I think it will suit the course of the Creek and timber to place the house in that way and make all the fences to correspond

Note—The Garden fence ought to run down to the Creek, and also the calf lot fence— This would leave a space of upwards of an 100 feet wide from the garden fence to the calf lot fence extending back of the kitchen down to the Creek which would serve as back yard, poultry yard—and a place for washing and drying clothes, then there need be no cross fence back of kitchen for the back yard would reach all the way down to the creek which would be about 200 yards from the kitchen and about 150 yards of that distance would be through the woods-—

None of these woods must be cut down on any account as they will be a shade for the calf and poultry lots and break off the north winds from the gardin and orchard