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HISTORICAL – Mostyn-Tillis Prairie

The picture of the three men on horseback are (l-r) Thornton Emmitt Mostyn, Grover Cleveland Mostyn and Joe Shook, circa 1912.

The picture of the three men on horseback are (l-r) Thornton Emmitt Mostyn, Grover Cleveland Mostyn and Joe Shook, circa 1912.


The ranch circa 1896. Priscilla Mostyn is on the porch holding Grover as a baby.

Just west of The Woodlands on FM 1488 is a subdivision called Mostyn Manor Estates. This is not a name the developer made up – it belongs to a ranching family on whose land it is built.

Henry Thornton Mostyn was born in Sligo, Ireland on Dec. 26, 1808 and came to the Republic of Texas in October 1837. He came to the Tillis Prairie area of Montgomery County in 1849 and purchased his ranch land with monies received from the sale of his Republic of Texas land grants.

The Tillis Prairie area is located along FM 1488 and is bound generally by Lake Creek, Karen Switch, Superior Road and Mill Creek. Tillis Prairie Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the original settlers of this area of Montgomery County, including important figures in county government, and their descendents.

Henry and his Irish-born wife, Alice, were married in New York City in 1836 and had six children, Henry, Isabela, Martha, Fanny, Margaret Jane and Thornton Emmett. Henry Mostyn died April 30, 1854 and is buried in the Tillis Prairie Cemetery. Alice continued in the cattle business and expanded the ranch with the aid of her sons until she died on Oct. 2, 1886.

Thornton Emmitt and his wife, Priscilla Roberts, had two children, Grover Cleveland and Thornton Preston. Grover was the third generation to farm and raise cattle on the Mostyn Ranch. Back in these early days, people only fenced the land they used for farming. The remaining lands were known as free range upon which all the ranchers’ cattle grazed. The Mostyn family was proud that they had such good cattle that none had to be put to slaughter during an infestation of tick fever.

Grover Mostyn was constable of Precinct 3 from 1922 to 1926. He won election as commissioner of Precinct 3 in 1926 and held that office until 1932. After leaving office, Grover worked as a deputy for Sheriff Guy Hooper during the oil boom. He was sheriff from 1936 to 1942; he had to deal with many characters including the rowdy oil field hands. The majority of his time he handled beer joint fights, bootleggers and family fights. One man barricaded himself in a building and was shooting at everyone in sight. Grover knew him and called to him to hold his fire — he was coming in to talk. He went in and took the gun from the man, unloaded it and brought the man out. The onlookers taunted the man until he begged Grover to let him have his gun. Grover, having a great sense of humor, handed the unloaded gun to the man who started pointing it at the onlookers, who ran over each other as they scattered to get out of his way.

Grover Mostyn died on Sept. 24, 1947 and is buried in the Tillis Prairie Cemetery. Many other pioneering families are buried with him. Other families from Tillis Prairie that served as county officials in Montgomery County were Mostyn, Goodson, Damuth and Winslow.



The Montgomery County Historical Commission provides the content for this page.
For information on the commission and its efforts, visit montgomerycountyhistoricalcommission.com.

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