History of Texas Farm House
By Carol Davis
Driving along one day on the shortcut from Cat Spring to my family ranch in Fayette County, just a few miles from Ellinger, I glanced at a hay field and noticed an old dilapidated farmhouse, abandoned and porches falling down from neglect, shingled roof falling in. Intrigued by the sight, I went from neighbor to neighbor, trying to find out the owner. I finally found someone who knew, a Gene Ruhmann, living in Clute, Texas, at the time.
Sparing you the boring details, I ended up buying the house for $10 and had it moved to this present site, amongst these liveoaks. As I was searching for the perfect spot, I walked into the woods in this area that was covered thickly with yupon bushes, and said, "This is it," then clearing the land completely of the yupon. Not a tree was cut down to maneuver it into its perfect spot. The house was moved in two pieces, having to cut the back "kitchen" area off to get it down the road. I took the house back to its original state, and finished out the unfinished attic. The beadboard upstairs is from an old church they were tearing down in Taylor, Texas, and it has all the original paints on it. The floors are exactly as I found them. Porches are new, as they were in disrepair.
Enjoy A Piece Of History!
Carol L. Davis
History of Ranch & Houses
Dog Trot, Lehmann House & Writer's Cabin
"Richard Albert Cornelius and family left Prussia in 1850 over dissatisfaction with the government in that country. They cam e to Texas and after living in Industry for a while, they cast their lot with the early settlers of the Cat Spring area about 1860. Here he entered upon farming and also pursued a freighting business. The Cornelius family had seven children. One of these children was Julius Cornelius. (Quoted from the book "THE CAT SPRING STORY") The acreage where the Dog Trot is located, and surrounding acreage, is the property that was owned by Julius Cornelius. The Cozy Loft Suite of the Dog Trot (so-called because the dogs trotted in the breezeway) was the house that Julius Cornelius built. I have no history other than that, and you can see the house with Julius and his wife sitting in front yard of the house in the photo hanging by the front door of the Loft Suite. Also note the framed copy of the registration of their brand in 1872 by Cornelius in Austin County.
John Cornelius (who remained a bachelor), son of Julius Cornelius, owned the property when it was sold sometime in the late 1970's to John Blocker, owner of Blocker Energy in Houston, Aggie Alumni, who has now a building name after him at A↦M. Blocker and his wife Jean cleared and developed the land into a thriving Brangus Ranch, and he would show and sell his cattle in the "Show Barn." He purportedly paid a million dollars for one of his bulls, and there is a photo of the bull in the Gift Shop at the Show Barn.
The Enchanted Lake and gazebo with bridges was purportedly made for the wedding of Jean's daughter. Blocker also made Needle Lake & Lehmann Lake and stocked them with bass. Today the Enchanted Lake with the gazebo is the scene of many wonderful weddings held here at BlissWood.
The Lehmann House (so named after my family name Lehmann) was moved by the Blockers from Hall Road in Cat Spring, and it was built and owned by Bernita Dittmar's parents sometime around the turn of the century 1900. Bernita, a native of Cat Spring, was born in the bedroom to the right as you enter. Bernita worked at CrossRoads in Cat Spring for 40 years, and she retired in 2005, sold her family land, and I bought the house that she and her husband built in the "50's, the Dittmar House, now located at BlissWood.
Many of the furnishings in the Lehmann House are my family's furniture that I grew up with. The dining farm table was built by my grandfather, and I ate many family meals at that table, as we always shared breakfast, dinner and supper together as a family. Mother always had the table covered in "oilcloth."
The Writer's Cabin (so named in honor of John Bradshaw), was a hunter's shack, as the Cornelius family allowed deer hunting many moons ago, and Jean Blocker renovated it and converted it into a weekend guest cabin. The desk is an old Confederate desk that the Army carried with them on their maneuvers. It is two pieces, so it was easier to transport.
In 1985 John Blocker sold the ranch to John Bradshaw, author/lecturer, who loved to catch big bass in the lakes and would come here for respite and to write.
In 2000 I became the delighted owner of John Bradshaw's property, thus becoming only the fourth owner of the property since its development in the 1830's. This acreage adjoined the original 85 acres (where the Texas Farmhouse, Log Cabin & Main Ranch House are located) that I purchased in 1995 from the widow of Randall Barclay, who founded Randall's Grocery Store, beginning with one store, and the rest is history. He took on a partner, his best friend, Onstad, and when Onstad had a son, he named him Randall Onstad, who was the last owner of Randall's before it was sold to Safeway.