Single sheet, folded. 20 cm., 3 1/2 pages of text, approx. 460 words, in a neat hand. Sidney Sweet writes to George W. O'Bryan regarding division of an estate, and apologizes for not being able to attend the court in Beaumont. He notes that he received some $4000 in Confederate money, and spent about $2000 of it, but has no specific records for the transactions. He asks that O'Bryan "make the most equitable divide you can under the circumstances." He would like to see that most of the estate go to George [Hawley, his brother-in-law] as they may have a chance to sell some of the property to benefit their business. He also mentions that he has no objections to O'Bryan's administration of Mrs. Hawley's estate [Sweet's mother-in-law] but he asks that J.C. Craig have nothing to do with either estate. Sweet also reports on activity in Sabine Pass. The Harris & Morgan steamer arrived in port at last and was scheduled to make trips to the area once a week for a while, increasing to twice a week soon. He hoped that the rail road would also soon be in operation "which will liven us up so that we will not be such a dead and alive place." Item #67064
Sidney J. Sweet (ca.1822-1875) was the nephew of Major Sidney Sweet (?-1849), one of the founders of the town of Sabine in 1846. Maj. Sweet built a sash and door millwork plant, a shipyard, and a sawmill. The elder Sweet sold both the shipyard and the sawmill, and the businesses changed hands a few times. Sidney Sweet and his future mother-in-law Mary Hawley acquired the shipyard in about 1849 and sold it in 1854. Before the Civil War, Sabine Pass and Sabine City businesses were booming as cotton, commerce, and settlers flowed in to the area. "With the outbreak of war, however, the town's export commerce, except blockade-running, ceased abruptly, and most of the merchants had closed their doors and moved away by September, 1862." [see: "The History of Jefferson County,Texas," by W.T. Block (Nederland, TX: 1976), Chap. IX, Early Industry and Businesses] The 1870 Census lists both Sidney J. Sweet and G.W. Hawley in Sabine Pass, employed as "tinners."
George W. O'Bryan (1833-1909), who later changed the spelling of his name to O'Brien, arrived in Beaumont, Texas in 1849. He first found employment as a mail rider between Galveston and Beaumont. By the 1850s he had won elections as county and district clerk, and justice of the peace. He was admitted to the bar in May 1861, but did not establish his law practice until after the Civil War. He served in several different Texas units during the war, including Hood's 5thBrigade, Likens' 6th Battalion at Sabine Pass, and Spaight's 11th. Following the war, in addition to his law practice, O'Bryan engaged in a number of other businesses to make ends meet, including newspaper publishing and land speculation. He and several other businessmen founded the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company in 1892, drilling on Spindletop, later the site of a major oil strike.