"St. Mark Missionary has long served Bell Bottom community" By Johnnie M.Thomas and Mary B.Ingram

From the Matagorda County 
History & Genealogy page

   1. CONTEXT:      
   The rural community of Bell Bottom located in southeastern Matagorda County is in the Moses Morrison and William Cooper Leagues.  
   It is in this picturesque setting where the massive coastal live oak trees line the banks of historic Caney Creek and where St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1889 and later a burial ground was plotted.  
   Almost all of the founding members can trace their roots to the days of slavery and the plantation life that thrived along this navigable creek.  
   Before the first permanent Anglo settlers arrived in 1822, this area near the Gulf of Mexico was inhabited by the roaming Karankawa Indians.  
   The new settlers, twenty-two in all, part of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old 300” received land grants in 1824. Beside the winding Caney Creek, where this bottom land consists of sandy black-peach soil, they begin their daunting task of clearing the cane brakes to meet the obligations set by the grant contracts.  
   Not only did they have to deal with the elements they had constant skirmishes with the indigenous Indians.  
   After William Cooper’s son was killed in November 1830, Moses Morrison became commander of a scouting party composed of ten men to control the Karankawas. And in 1850, Moses Morrison sold his land to John Henry Jones, Sr. for $3,480. 
   The region was described by Stephen F. Austin “as good in every respect as man could wish for, land first rate, plenty of timber, fine water, beautifully rolling.”  
   The rich Caney Creek bottoms were perfectly suited to the American plantation economy, and by the 1850s, 75 percent of the population of Matagorda County consisted of slaves. 

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