The Second Owners of the Bluebonnet House: Bluebonnet House Part 4

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Tony Maples Photography


(Read part 1 of our series here)

It is highly unlikely Logan Vandeveer ever intended the Bluebonnet House to be for his family to live in. It was known as his ranch headquarters. His 1,000-plus herd of cattle were kept near the house, which was 10 miles south of Burnet.

With his young wife deceased, having to take care of four young daughters, ages 5, 7, 12, and 14 at the time, the house was built far from town and also on an area where Indians were still a possible threat. Plus, he was educating his daughters at the new school that he established in Burnet, running a mercantile store in another rock building he had built, as well as managing his livestock.

As stated previously, before Logan Vandeveer left Burnet in 1855 to sell a large herd of his cattle, he sold 212 acres of his land, which included the property the Bluebonnet House sits on today, to Christian Dorbondt and Theodore Winkle. Very little is known about Winkle, but Dorbandt was among the original group of pioneers settling in what is now Burnet in the 1850s. Born in Denmark, he came to American in 1834 at the age of 16. He fought in the U.S. Army during the Mexican war in 1846-47. He was later sent to Fort Croghan, where he served as a Quartermaster Sergeant until the fort was shut down.

It was possible that Dorbandt may have worked for Logan after Fort Croghan was abandoned in 1853. With his cattle 10 miles from town, Logan would have needed some ranch hands who knew how to ride and shoot, as Indians were still a threat in and around the area and Dorbandt’s military service would have provided those skill sets. In 1854, an $800 title for bond was drawn up for him to purchase the 212 acres which included the Bluebonnet House from Logan. Later in the year, it was for some reason replaced with a new title for bond for $1,000 adding Theodore Winkle to the agreement. The sale was completed, and the ownership passed from Logan to Dorbandt and Winkle in February 1855.

The Second Owners of the Bluebonnet House: Bluebonnet House Part 4
No Will, Means a Mess

To backtrack a bit—on September 10, 1855, a letter was sent by Josiah Brantley to a friend in Burnet informing him of the deaths of the Vandeveer brothers. The news must have startled and dismayed their families, friends, and a good many others. Logan was an extremely busy man, but unfortunately, he had not left a will before he died. A month after learning of his demise, things went from bad to worse when a local attorney filed a Partnership Agreement mode with Lt. Newton C. Givens of Fort Croghan, signed by Logan. For advancing the sum of $6,000. Logan was to buy and sell cattle and establish a ranch, and their partnership was to run for five years. The collateral was the majority of the land from a survey done for Logan (identified as Survey 207), except for the 212-acre tract which he had sold to Darbandt and Winkle earlier in the year. Additionally, Logan mortgaged three slaves to Givens. It was also then learned that Logan had borrowed an additional $12,000 from George Hancock of Austin. Of course, no money had arrived in Burnet from the sale of any of the Vandeveer cattle in Louisiana, and when it finally did, it would turn out to be a fraction of what was expected, something in the amount of $9,000. Givens’ attorney filed suit for the recovery of the monies lent, and his heirs, all minor girls, were summoned to court for the December 1855 session.

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