Polley Mansion aka Whitehall by Richard B. McCaslin
POLLEY, JOSEPH HENRY (1795–1869). Joseph Henry Polley, rancher, son of Jonathan Polley, was born in Whitehall, Washington County, New York, on December 28, 1795. He joined Capt. Samuel Brown's company of New York militia as a teamster in the War of 1812, then moved to Missouri. He traveled with Moses Austin to Texas in 1820 and, as a member of Stephen F. Austin's expedition the following year, settled on a headright in the Brazoria District. He married Mary Augusta Bailey in a civil ceremony in 1823, followed by a Protestant union on October 24, 1826, and a Catholic convalidation on July 12, 1831, which allowed the Polley children a headright. The couple moved to San Felipe but returned to the Brazoria District and settled on land purchased from Mrs. Polley's father, James Briton Bailey, in 1832. They opened their home, Whitehall, as one of the earliest public houses. Polley became the first sheriff of the Austin colony. Several early revolutionary councils met at Whitehall, and Polley was appointed to escort fugitives during the Runaway Scrape.