Varner-Hogg Plantation’s history began in 1824 when Virginia native Martin Varner became one of 297 grantees who purchased 307 parcels of land from
Stephen F. Austin and established a colony in present-day Brazoria County. The Varners received 4,428 acres and they brought at least two
enslaved men to farm and raise livestock on a small scale and establish a rum distillery.
In 1834, Martin Varner sold the property to Columbus R. Patton of Kentucky. That same year the Patton clan moved to Brazoria County
with a large slave labor force. Between 40 and 60 slaves lived and worked on the plantation, known then as Patton Place.
With bricks they made by hand, the slaves constructed the plantation house, smokehouse, sugar mill and their own quarters.
With their labor, Columbus Patton built a successful and larger than average sugarcane enterprise complete with a two-story mill.
After the abolition of slavery, owners used convicts through a leasing program as laborers. In 1875, however, state investigators found “particular cruelty”
toward convicts at Patton Place. This unfavorable attention combined with the rising cost of convict labor ended the use of prisoners
and the plantation turned to a sharecropping system.
Looking for sources of income that required less labor than sugar production led owners to try growing cotton on Patton Place with little success.
In 1876, the Texas Land Company purchased the plantation and gradually switched the site’s focus to ranching.
The majority of the laborers, now cowboys, were African Americans.
The plantation sustained major damage in the 1900 hurricane. Many of the original buildings, including the sugar mill, were destroyed.