PaperCity Magazine

Round Top Summer 2024

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Page 38 of 67

She has also researched her husband's genealogy back to the time of William the Conqueror; lectured at the Strodes' former ancestral property, Barrington Court, in Great Britain; and has been a docent at Bayou Bend since 2012. Peggy says of the couple's first tour of the farmhouse: "It was December 2021. I knew instantly, having lived all over the world and having owned 14 homes, what we wanted in terms of a retreat away from our urban life. We knew we wanted trees and quiet. Somewhere the dogs could run, and where our young adult children could visit. We all have busy lives. I think it's important to have a place easily accessible, where friends can come up for one night or just for Sunday lunch. We do that a lot. So, the house fit the moment I saw it. I knew. And then, of course, when I saw that it was a true 1880s house — there was no question. I didn't want to have to redo something. And why would you here." T he handsome dogtrot-st yle farmhouse — bearing a New Ulm postal address, while also bordering Bellville — is a crisp white structure with its inviting porch seeming to float above an expanse of green grass. The house settles on a gentle rise along Mill Creek, originally known by its Spanish name, Palmetto Creek, after the many palmettos that thrived there. Its first owner, José Justo Liendo, deeded the land to Stephen F. Austin on January 15, 1830, a half- dozen years before Texas achieved independence. During my first farmhouse visit, Peggy narrated 194 years of the land's history, as well as shared historical ephemera she has discovered, including an 1895 Austin County map displaying the four leagues of land once held by Stephen F. Austin. It proudly hangs in the wide hall that runs through the heart of the home. The saga of the farmhouse itself is as enthralling as that of the land where it currently resides. First came the property: Houston photographers Blaine Hickey and Ogden Robertson purchased the 22-acre parcel from a larger cattle-ranch tract owned by the Schroeder family, in an area originally settled by the Jochetz family, Austrian/Czech settlers who arrived in the area in 1868. On July 17, 1975, Hickey and Robertson closed on the property that would occupy an important place in their lives for decades to come. The couple, partners in business and life, owned an art-centric photography firm An antique pine armoire in the dogtrot-style central hallway was from Houston antiquarian Brian Stringer. A painting by Wolf Kahn hangs above an antique gate-leg table. 37

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