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Located near the confluence of the Chupaderas and Calaveras much of Jaques Rancho these days is submerged beneath the waves of Calaveras Lake in southeast Bexar County. After having survived fires, Indian attacks and banditry the old structure finally succumbed to the relentless march of a growing San Antonio.
The Jaques (pronounced Jakes) trace their connection to Texas in its infancy. They were friends of Stephen F. Austin, Cornelius Vanderbilt and a pantheon of Texas legends. William Budd Jaques (1799 – 1870) was born in New Jersey. He twice served as San Antonio alderman in 1845 and 1865.
Below is an extract from an article written for the San Antonio Express Sunday, July 13, 1930. It is offered without changes.
…Stephen F. Austin is universally accorded the honor of being called the Father of Texas. His unselfish devotion to the colony well deserves this appellation, and it must be conceded that anyone rendering him aid when his life was threatened would be assisting to secure the public welfare of the Republic of Texas.
When Austin was in prison in Mexico, 1834–35 he probably would have perished had it not been for help he received from two sources: Father Muldoon, a priest, of the prison, and a secret friend, Mrs. William B. Jaques. It is with the latter and her family that this article deals.
Before her marriage to Wm. B. Jaques, in 1821, Mrs. Jaques was Miss Katherine L. Browne, and was the granddaughter of General Daniel Morgan of the Revolutionary fame. She was the great grand daughter of General Provost, whose successful speculations in 1755 won him the title of “Ready Money Provost.”
Mr. Jaques was engaged, at the time of their marriage, in the ferry business with Cornelius Vanderbilt. At first they used sloops and schooners, but, realized the value of steam propulsion as demonstrated by Fulton a few years previously, they sold their sailing vessels and opened a line between New York and New Brunswick, with Vanderbilt as captain, The project developed immensely and both were soon on the way to wealth. Mrs. Jaques and Mrs. Vanderbilt cooked on this vessel and served “flapjacks” to the passengers.
Soon after 1830, Mr. Jaques was compelled to sell his interests to Vanderbilt on account of ill health, and, with his family, went to Mexico City. Here his health greatly improved and he established a stage line between that place and Vera Cruz. Mr. Vanderbilt continues his shipping interests and developed a fleet so large that he was called “Commodore,” and became one of the wealthiest men in the world.