Post by Diane Merkel on Jun 1, 2007 7:36:56 GMT -5
The house still serves as a private home for the Detering family, and the result of their time, work, money, and love restoring Liendo is evident everywhere. Tours are available only on the first Saturday of every month and begin at 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. There's a $7.00 fee; however, seniors, groups, and students only pay $5.00. That's not a bad price for a quick trip to the past, and docents will lead you through the home and pepper their tale-telling with the likes of Sam Houston, sculptress Elisabet Ney, General Custer and more. These volunteers love Liendo and their love for history is evident in their oral storytelling. One heartbreaking story about Elisabet Ney continues to roost in my memory to this day.
The father of its builder, Jarrod Groce, provided land on the plantation for Sam Houston's army to camp and train following the Alamo in March 1836 and before San Jacinto in April. The plantation was built in 1853 by Leonard Groce, and that date is embedded at the top of the front of the house.
During the Civil War the plantation provided land for Camp Groce, one of only two Conderate POW camps in Texas (i.e. for Yankee prisoners, the other being Camp Ford, near Tyler), and then GAC and his federal occupation troops camped at Liendo from September to December, 1865. The photo of GAC and Libbie on p. 76 of "The Custer Album," often identified as being taken "near Brenham" was more likely taken at Liendo.
After the war the house was owned from 1872 to 1911 by Texas' most famous sculptress, Elizbet Ney, who is said to have given the place the name "Liendo," in honor of Justo Liendo, the original grantee of 67,000 acres from the Kingdom of Spain which included the plantation. While living there, a young son of Ms. Ney and her husband, Dr. Edward Montgomery, died and they cremated his body in one of the plantation fireplaces. Ms. Ney and Dr. Montgomery are buried on the plantation grounds.
I had the good fortune to visit the place a few years after Carl and Phylis Detering purchased it, and while they were still in the process of restoring it. They were very welcoming and gracious, even allowing a relic-hunting friend and I to metal detect about the place, searching for the Custer campsites. We did not locate them, although we did find a minie ball or two, a federal button, and an antebellum period dime, which we left with the Deterings.
The plantation hosts an annual "Civil War Weekend," or at least there were such weekends in November in past years, and it may be visited online at www.liendoplantation.org or in person just outside of Hempstead, which is about 30 miles west and a little north of Houston. MA
"Driving across Texas is a job; waltzing across it would be a g*d**ned career."