From Wilderness to Woodlawn

Elizabeth Whitlow of Texas History Research Services has compiled a brief history of Enfield in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the original plat of the neighborhood.

The Republic of Texas granted George W. Spear a league (Spanish land measure of 4,428 acres) in 1838, from the east bank of the Colorado River to Shoal Creek.  (Austin was founded between Shoal and Waller Creeks, the Colorado, and what is now 15th St.)  James B. Shaw, Comptroller in Gov. E. M. Pease’s administration, bought part of the surveyed Spear grant in 1846.   Shaw had Austin “Master Builder” Abner Cook construct a neoclassical two-story brick home with Ionic columns for the woman he wanted to marry, but she wed someone else.

Woodlawn with members of the Pease family. Courtesy Austin History Center.

Woodlawn with members of the Pease family. Courtesy Austin History Center.

He found another bride.  Their daughter died at age two, and Mrs. Shaw died shortly afterward.  He sold the property in 1859 for $17,000 (at a loss) to his friend Gov. Pease.  (The Shaw’s child was buried on the property, but the Peases had her remains reinterred in the City Cemetery once they owned the home.)  Gov. and Mrs. Pease named their home “Wood Lawn.”  The family is said to have owned 365 acres.  Their property was used in part for growing food and grazing, but it was never a plantation.  Much of the natural tree cover was never touched as long as Miss Julie Pease lived.  City streets were laid out so that Woodlawn centers on 3.844 acres bounded by Niles Rd. on the south, Pease Rd. on the east, and Northumberland Rd. on the north.  The house faces east but the address is 6 Niles Road.

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