Catherine Jane Patterson

b. circa 1795, d. 1 July 1875
Catherine Jane Patterson|b. c 1795\nd. 1 Jul 1875|p77.htm|John Patterson||p1579.htm||||||||||||||||

Great-grandmother of Louise Underwood.
3rd great-grandmother of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Underwood and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for Louise Underwood
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Catherine Patterson
     Catherine Jane Patterson was born circa 1795 in Nova Scotia. She was the daughter of John Patterson. She married first William Clark Carson, son of Charles Carson and Rachel Clark, on 17 December 1815 in Posey County, Indiana.1 She married second Gail Borden on 24 April 1842 in Brazoria County, Texas.2 She died on 1 July 1875 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas,3 (now East Columbia).3 Application for probate of her will was made on 14 July 1875 in Brazoria County, Texas.3
     Catherine moved with her family from Nova Scotia to Indiana Territory between 1807 and 1812. In 1815, she married William C. Carson in a ceremony performed by Samuel Jones. Although all of William's family lived in Posey County, he and Catherine, with their young son John, moved to Catahoula Parish, Louisiana about 1818 with some, or perhaps all, of Catherine's family. They remained in Catahoula Parish for about six years and had at least two, but probably three more children, before moving to Coahuila and Texas where William obtained a grant in Stephen F. Austin's first colony.

     Family tradition tells us that Catherine was the driving force behind the Carson's move to Texas. However, it has been proven that the story handed down through the generations is not totally accurate, for William did not die soon after their arrival in Austin's Colony. As with most family lore, though, there is surely some basis in fact. Catherine may very well have made the decision to migrate based on William's failing health. Although it is doubtful he was an invalid at that point, he did die young. Furthermore, she would later prove to be a capable woman, so perhaps the story of her driving the family to Texas in a covered wagon is accurate.

     Nothing is known of Catherine's life in Texas before she was widowed. William died after 8 December 1830, and before 1836, probably nearer the earlier date. Afterward, she and the children moved into town (Columbia), where she operated a boarding house catering mainly to children attending the Thomas J. Pilgrim school. Catherine Munson Foster wrote in a letter to Peachy Borden that the widow Catherine Carson, with her children, moved to Bell's Landing rather than (West) Columbia following the death of William. Several sources suggest that her move was to (West) Columbia, but it must be kept in mind that the towns are often confused. However, during the period in question - between about 1831-38 - Marion was called "Bell's Landing" and the prairie town, "Columbia." On a list of early private schools in the Anglo colonies, Pilgrim is reported to have had a school in Columbia between 1831 and 1836. Kate Underwood wrote in 1902 that before Columbia was founded, Josiah H. Bell built a school house "on the prairie," at which Pilgrim was the first teacher. It was common practice at that time for children to board near schools, the only way most families could secure an education for their children outside the home. Kate also wrote that Bell moved from the Landing in 1826 to his plantation on the prairie. Marie Beth Jones, in her history of Peach Point Plantation, wrote that in 1836, Pilgrim's school was within a mile of the Bell place at Bell's Landing. However, the Bells no longer lived there in 1836, but on their plantation near (West) Columbia.

     Texas declared independence March 2nd 1836. Four days later the Alamo fell, followed by the Goliad Massacre on the 27th. News in early April that Sam Houston's army was retreating toward the San Jacinto caused a general panic among the Anglo colonists. The unprotected families between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers began fleeing their homes. Most headed for Galveston or the Louisiana border in an exodus that became known as the "Runaway Scrape."

     Catherine Carson was reluctant to leave because of concern for her two sons who were with the Texas Army. Most of the residents of Columbia had gone by steamboat down the Brazos and on to Galveston by the time Catherine decided it was necessary to evacuate. She and sixteen year old Rachel went first to Damon's Mound. With the Damon family, they headed for Richmond where there was a company of Texian soldiers protecting families crossing the Brazos at Fort Bend. However, Mexican soldiers effected a crossing before them and they were fired upon. Catherine helped load the wagons as bullets flew overhead, and their group managed to escape unharmed. On April 21, they were about twelve miles from the Trinity River in what is now Montgomery County and heard the cannons firing at San Jacinto. It was a rainy day and they thought it was thunder.

     When news of the victory at San Jacinto reached the refugees, they began their return home. On July 23, 1836, President David G. Burnet named Columbia (now West Columbia) as the location of an October 3rd meeting of Congress, thus earning that town the distinction of "First Capitol of the Republic of Texas." He chose Columbia because it had the most adequate housing accommodations and there was a newspaper located there. Catherine Carson pledged a room and stove, but the pledge was never redeemed. Incidentally, this pledge is further proof that Catherine moved to (West) Columbia rather than Bell's Landing after William's death. There is nothing to indicate that accommodations for the Congress were sought at Bell's Landing.

     In 1838, Catherine entered into a business partnership with Ammon Underwood, a young man who came to Texas from Massachusetts in 1834. They became friends, and together they decided to open a boarding house to serve the thriving community of Bell's Landing (Marion). Ammon bought a log house on the Brazos River, enlarged it, and made improvements. Catherine was in charge of its operation until her daughter, Rachel Jane, married Ammon the following year. It then became their private residence, though they did continue to accept boarders on a limited basis.

     In 1842, Catherine married Gail Borden Sr.. He was a widower whose son would later invent the canned milk process. Two other sons fought at San Jacinto, and all were prominent in the affairs of early Texas. Following their marriage, Gail moved into the Underwood home. He died in 1863, probably in Columbia. Catherine died in Columbia in 1875. Rachel, her only surviving child, was heir to her estate after bequests to the three children of her deceased son John. It is not known where she is buried.

Additional Data

838C     Joseph A. Patterson for himself and his sisters Jane Carson, Hannah A. McDaniel and Harriett H. Patterson, Mary Markham for herself and her husband, Hosea Markham, acknowledges that for $80 paid by John Brown, sells 50 acres of land lying in Catahoula Prairie and being part of William Mocks tract of land... /s/ J.A. Patterson, Cathey Jane Carson by J.A. Patterson, Hannah A. McDaniel, Harriet H. Patterson - Witness: John Doyal. (Record is undated; nearest dated records, both before and after, are 1833).4

On 20 July 1836, Catherine Jane Patterson sold to John Duncan for $2,222 "one quarter league of land it being off the upper side of league No. 2[1], which was granted by the Mexican Government to William C. Carson by title bearing date the 15th day of May 1827 the said league being bounded on the southwest by a league of land granted by said Government to Isaac Foster. The said league of land of which a part is hereby sold being situated on Linville Bayou in Austin's old colony, and the said quarter of a league hereby sold to the said Duncan contains eleven hundred and eleven acres, and when the land shall be divided the foresaid quantity shall be considered the property of the said Duncan from the part which ought to belong to the said Catherine J. Carson by law as being the widow of the late William C. Carson..." The deed was written in Columbia, and there being no qualified Notary available, it was witnessed by six persons, one of whom was Gail Borden.5

On 1 February 1838, Catherine J. Carson "...made oath that she has been a resident citizen ever since the year 1824 and that she has received one league of land and that she conceives her self justly in titled yet to a labor of land more under the constitution and laws of this Republic and there fore she now applyes for her aditional quanity of land whic is one labor." (The league of land referred to is that which was granted to William C. Carson by the Mexican Government). Under the Headright system, Catharine, a widow, was entitled to an additional labor. She signed her name, "Catharin J. Carson."6

On 20 May 1847, Gail Borden, Catherine J. Borden, John P. Carson and William J. Carson, all of Brazoria County, Texas, sold to Ammon Underwood for $2,214, "one third of a certain undivided half league of land say siven hundred and thirty eight acres more or less, out of league number twenty one granted to William C Carson as a colonist of Texas, situated between the river Bernard and Bay Prairie."7

Catharine J. Borden appeared on the 1 June 1850 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of Ammon and Rachel J. Underwood, her son-in-law and daughter, with her husband Gail Borden.8 Click to view image

In regard to a Republic of Texas claim by Mrs. C.J. Borden for pay due William J. Carson for his service in the Vasquez Campaign in 1842, on 18 April 1853 in Travis County, Texas, William Simpson and Gail Borden signed a sworn affidavit that Mrs. C.J. Borden "is the Mother of William J. Carson now decd _ and we do further solemnly Swear that the said Mrs. C.J. Borden is the only living heir of the said William J. Carson decd..."9 Click to view image The claim in the amount of $31.50 was paid, and a receipt was signed by "C.J. Borden."10 Click to view image

C.J. Borden appeared on the 1 June 1860 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of A. and Rachel Underwood, her son-in-law and daughter, with her husband Gale Borden.11 Click to view image

Catherine Borden appeared on the 1 June 1870 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of Ammon and Rachel Underwood, her son and daughter-in-law.12 Click to view image

Catherine J. Borden made a will on 9 January 1872 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas. Named in the will were Sarah Jane Copes, granddaughter, $500; James Carson and John Carson, grandsons, $100 each; Rachel Jane Underwood, daughter, the remainder of the estate. Her son-in-law, Ammon Underwood was named executor, and in the event of his death, she appointed her daughter Rachel Jane Underwood executor, and her grandson, Joseph Patterson Underwood, assistant executor.13

On 2 August 1872, Catharine J. Borden appointed Ammon Underwood,
. . .my agent and attorney for me and in my absence to make any and all business transactions for me, and in my place and Stead, that he, in his Judgment may deem important and necessary, and to Sign my waver as agent or attorney in all Cases hereby aproving, recognizing, acknowledging and binding myself intirely as fully and as legally as though done by myself in person, hereby binding myself my heirs Administrators and assigns firmly by these presents, to whatever my said agent and attorney may do in all matters, excepting only the Signing my waver as Security in any and every Case.14

Children of Catherine Jane Patterson and William Clark Carson


  1. [S233] Indiana State Library Genealogy Division Database of Indiana Marriages Through 1850, online <…>.
  2. [S2] Brazoria County Marriage Book A: 99-100, no. 87, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  3. [S217] C.J. Borden, Probate file no. Unknown file number, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  4. [S218] First Settlers of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana: 1808-1839, online <…>, link to "Pages: 121-135."
  5. [S92] Brazoria County Deeds, Book E: 300-301, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  6. [S9] Personal recollection of the writer, Laura M. Cooper (1804 Holm Oak St., Arlington, Texas).
  7. [S74] Brazoria County Deeds, Book E: 162, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  8. [S55] Ammon Underwood household, 1850 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, page 396, dwelling 225, family 225; National Archives micropublication M432, roll 908.
  9. [S243] Public Debt, William J. Carson; Republic of Texas Claims; 1303 (Austin: Texas State Library and Archives Commission), roll 155, frame 657.
  10. [S243] Public Debt; Republic of Texas Claims, roll 155, frame 658-659.
  11. [S54] A. Underwood household, 1860 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Columbia, page 19/63A, dwelling 163, family 150; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 1289.
  12. [S53] Ammon Underwood household, 1870 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, town of Columbia, post office Columbia, page 186, dwelling 1674, family 1674; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 1576.
  13. [S97] Catherine J. Borden will (1872), Brazoria County Will Book, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  14. [S80] Brazoria County Deeds (Power of Attorney), O: 481-482, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  15. [S64] Austin's Colony Records (Austin's Register), (MS, 1824-1836; Austin's Colony, Coahuila and Texas), 5-6, Texas General Land Office (TGLO); Austin.