Polley Mansion aka Whitehall
Joseph Henry Polley and his wife Mary Bailey Polley, the builders of this house, are Old 300’s, the first settlers under Stephen F. Austin’s colony in Texas during the 1820’s. Joseph H. Polley was born in Whitehall, New York, in 1795. After serving as a teamster in the War of 1812 he left home and headed west, with accordingly to family history, “a horse, a rifle, and 50 cents in his pocket.” Along the way west, he befriended Moses Austin and traveled with him to Texas in 1820. After Moses Austin died, Polley came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin as one of the first twenty-two immigrants to come to Austin's Colony in 1821. After living for a short time at San Felipe de Austin, Polley settled at Bell's Landing on the Brazos. In 1823 he married Mary Bailey, daughter of the celebrated James Britton “Brit” Bailey, another “Old 300.” It is worthy of note that the marriage ceremony was performed three times, first, by the local Alcalde, and second, by a visiting priest, in conformity with Mexican law. Thirty couples were married at the same time in the second ceremony. Just to make the knot secure a third ceremony was performed by a Protestant minister.
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