Purchase of Kishi Colony

    ‘Early in 1907 Kishi selected Junzo Nagai, Isoshichi Onozuka and Kihei Kamata of Niigata Prefecture and Riichi Tachibana of Hyogo Prefecture as the advance party of the colony.  Nagai was chosen because of his command of English.’[2]  ‘A lease and purchase contract was signed in September 1907, although a final agreement was not made until October 1908[1,3].  Saburo Arai and C. L. Bradley witnessed the execution of the contract[2].  ‘In all, Kishi purchased 3,580 acres for $72,000.  He made a down payment of $15,000, which was raised by his father's business contacts.  The balance plus interest was due within nine years.  This transaction made Kichimatsu Kishi the owner of the largest Japanese-run farm in the state of Texas.’[1,3]  ‘This land was originally part of the huge estate of Lorenzo de Zavala, the first Vice-President of the Republic of Texas.  On 1/31/1835 it was granted by this Texan patriot to James Dyson.  It has since been referred to as the Dyson league survey.’[2]

    ‘When Kishi arrived in September 1907, he found 2,000 acres of land tillable for agriculture purposes and the balance covered with live oak, pine, hickory, and other trees.  The farm was fully provided with living quarters, irrigation facilities, agricultural machinery and implements.  A main house, tenant sheds, warehouses, and barns were located three quarters of a mile southeast of the Terry railroad station.  Two four-wheeled trucks were among them.  Several head of livestock were roaming on the farm.  (Orange County, Deed Records, Vol. IV, 141)’[2]

    ‘A pump station on Cow Bayou provided irrigation for the farm.  It was equipped with an Ivens centrifugal pump.  It had a 21-inch discharge pipe and was operated with a 125-horspower Atlas engine.  The engine claimed the capacity of 20,000 gallons per minute.  Oil was used as boiler fuel.  The main canal started at Cow Bayou, extended southwest and then turned to the west.  It was 3.5 miles long and 100 feet wide.  Branch canals were 4 miles long and varied in width from 20 to 50 feet.  Flumes were 200 feet long and 10 feet wide.  There were several wells to supply additional water for rice fields. (Taylor, Irrigation Systems, 97-98; Taylor, Rice Irrigation, 19)’[2]

    ‘Kishi was willing to share the hardships of his newly adopted country. The economic health of the U.S. became worse during 1907. Finally, on 10/22, the Banker’s Panic began with the declaration of a bank moratorium. Around that date Kishi got more than $30,000 in gold from Japan and went to deposit in the bank. James Ochiltree Sims, the vice president of the First National Bank of Orange, advised him to keep it. Sims explained that, if he deposited it, he could withdraw no more than $50 a day on an account. If he kept it in gold, he would be able to buy land, cattle, or horses at half the price. Kish thanked Sims, but did not follow his advice. Kishi put the money in the bank, saying that he had already been part of American citizenship and was willing to share economic hardships with his neighbors. This episode boosted his reputation with his neighbors. Sims became his close friend. (Kato, 136-137; BE, 10/3/1982; interview with Taro Kishi)’[2]

Pumping station on Cow Bayou