From the very beginning, the Pomeroy Homestead has been at the heart of the history of Early Pasadena. With two of the first "city" lots sold by Colonel John H. Burnett in his new town development located within the Homestead site, downtown Pasadena began developing around the corner of Main and Sixth (now Eagle) Streets. Jasper F. Hays bought one of those lots in 1893 and with his appointment as the Postmaster in Pasadena, he located the first Post Office in the front room of his new home.
Surviving the disastrous Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Edward Payson Pomeroy moved his wife Anna Louise and their son John Edward to the inland community of Pasadena early the next year. There they found another casualty of the storm; the old Hays house lay on its side, blown from its piers. They righted the house and called it home until the present house at 204 S. Main was built in 1908. The original structure was moved across the street and rented out to a succession of early settlers to the town. Although that house was torn down in the 1960s, its front door has been salvaged and still is in the Pomeroy family possession.
The Pomeroys bought the first parcel of what was to become their homestead at the corner of Main and Sixth Streets in April 1901. They immediately reopened their Metropolitan Milk Company and built a large barn for the dairy south of and adjacent to their home. Since there were no fencing laws at the time the dairy herd grazed freely on the open grasslands in the immediate area. Payson, who first introduced glass milk bottles into Texas through his Galveston dairy, quickly established a successful home delivery route along South Main street in neighboring Houston.
Payson and Anna chose Pasadena because they saw opportunities in the young community and quickly coupled their vision with action. They began a family history of commitment to the community, and its education and religious needs. At the time of his death in 1906, Payson was working to established a cemetery in Pasadena. Out of respect for Payson's efforts, his friends rushed the completion of the project so that his was the first burial in Crown Hill Cemetery (see historical marker at the cemetery). At that time Payson was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Pasadena Independent School District.
With the rest of the community the Pomeroys became more involved in production farming. As more acres were put to the till less time was available for the dairy business. After Paysons death, Anna and son John began reducing the dairy business to a small operation that only sold its production wholesale to Pilots Grocery in Houston. Five-gallon metal milk containers were loaded on the evening train in Pasadena, bound for downtown Houston. In 1921 hoof and mouth disease infected cattle in the area and both beef and dairy herds were ordered to be destroyed. The Pomeroys closed their milk business.
In 1908 John built a new home (204 S. Main) for his mother and himself. During construction two new school teachers visited in search of a room to rent while they taught at the newly school during the 1908-09 term. Gertrude Lucinda McMaster commented to her sister Myrtle that John Pomeroy might be attractive, but he talked too much. But in spite of Johns "affliction," the sisters agreed to rent a room from his mother and moved in that August. During the next two years of teaching in Pasadena Gertrude fell in love with John and they were married on June 6, 1911. They were blessed with four children: Anna Marguerite, John Edward, Jr., Bessie Evelyn and Clyde David. All of their children were born in the front bedroom of that house at 204 S. Main. In fact, John and Gertrude lived the rest of their lives in that house with John passing away January 6, 1980 and Gertrude following on April 9, 1985.
As Johns family grew the "big" house became too crowded and a second home (202 S. Main) was built next door for his mother. This small, two-bedroom cottage was built about 1923. In her new home Anna Pomeroy continued to board many of the early teachers in Pasadena. In addition to the McMaster sisters, the Smythe sisters and Jewel Jennings also roomed with her. Loise Williams meet Mrs. Pomeroys grandson Edward while taking meals at her house. Edward and Loise married a couple of years later.
Anna Pomeroy was a no-nonsense person who gave freely of her opinions over the front fence on Main Street. It was from here that she led the petition drive to prevent Houston from annexing Pasadena in the 1920s. As the official representative of the community she took the train to Houston and successfully presented Pasadenas case before the Houston City Council. But whether sharing community news over the fence, or simply visiting with neighbors, Anna always had a fresh cut rose for any of the young ladies strolling by. She lived in the house until her death in November 1946.
Not all of Anna Pomeroys boarders were teachers. In 1910 a young Tom Tellepsen (founder of Tellepsen Construction Company) stayed with the Pomeroys while he worked as foreman for the construction of the new school (today known as Kruse Elementary). In his autobiography, Tom Tellepsen, he compliments Mrs. Pomeroys good cooking and her generous servings. Tellepsen felt as if he had been adopted by the family and formed a lifelong friendship with Annas son John. Once John confided to Tellepsen that someday he would like to be mayor of the town that would surely develop at Pasadena. However, it was John's brother-in-law, Clyde McMaster, that eventually became mayor. Many years later John would serve on the Board of Directors of First Pasadena State Bank (now Bank One) with Toms son, Howard. Subsequently Johns son, Clyde, would also serve on that bank board with Howard.
When John Pomeroy married Gertrude McMaster in 1911 he got Clyde McMaster as a brother-in-law. In 1912 the two men formed McMaster and Pomeroy Water Well Drilling Company. The business was operated from the Pomeroy property and its successors Pomeroy Drilling Company and Pomeroy Energy Company continued to office at that address until it was donated in December 1986 to the City of Pasadena for historical purposes. Pomeroy Drilling is the oldest private business in Pasadena. In fact, only the Pasadena Independent School District has been in operation longer. The company hired many people from the area over they years and there was always a job for male schoolteachers during the summer months. Carroll Teague and "Stoney" Phillips both worked for McMaster and Pomeroy.
On April 13, 1925 John Pomeroy received a franchise from the County Commissioners Court to provide public water to the residents of unincorporated Pasadena. The city well was located in the back yard on the Pomeroy home and the cypress water tower and tank could easily be seen from the La Porte Road (now State Highway 225). Later a larger metal tank was erected on the ground and was enclosed in a barn. When the city incorporated for the second and final time in 1929, a bond issue was approved for water and sewer purposes and the Pomeroy water system was purchased by the city. The Pomeroys continued to drill city water wells for many years.
The company also drilled over 2,000 water wells from East to South Texas. Most of the Ship Channel industries, including Crown Refinery, Shell Refinery and Champion (now Pasadena) Paper Mill used Pomeroy wells as did the concrete companies that built the Astrodome and Loop 610 freeway. The Pomeroys had a contract with one railroad line to drill water wells along its tracks to provide water for their steam locomotives.
The Pomeroys have always been closely related to education in the community. Four generations have gone through the school system and three generations have been teachers. Payson Pomeroy served on the School Board from1905 until his death and his son served from 1921 to 1934. While serving as President of the School Board, John cast the deciding vote for the construction of the controversial Pasadena High School. Also during his term he was involved in the acquisition of land from the first junior (intermediate) high school. Pomeroy Elementary was named jointly for Payson and John in recognition of their contribution to the school system. However, education is a commitment of the whole family and many of the Pomeroy descendants have served as teachers
When First Baptist Church was organized on October 28, 1901 Payson and Anna Pomeroy were among the 17 charter members. As the church evolved and the congregation grew the Pomeroys became charter members of the competing Memorial Baptist Church on August 2, 1936. The two churches attempted to merge shortly after that and the Pomeroys returned to First Baptist Church membership. In 1954 when First Baptist Church decided to move their facility into the southern part of the community, the Pomeroys became charter members of the new South Main Baptist Church and bought the old First Baptist property. John Pomeroy not only served on the building program committee of South Main, but donated additional land to the new Church. In addition to helping organize the religious education in the community, the Pomeroys were very active in their church's programs. John served as Deacon and Superintendent of the Sunday School as well as functioned in various other capacities. Anna and Gertrude taught Sunday School classes and donated many hours of their time to the church as did their children and grandchildren.
When the Pomeroys arrived in Pasadena there were a few scattered houses and a small grocery. They settled in the middle of a prairie, across the road from the only water well in town (an artesian well for the railroad). They installed the first plumbed bathtub and had one of the last remaining outhouses. From their vantage point they witnessed the transition of the settlement into a mighty city. They believed so much in the community that they got involved and helped shape its future. Being the center for a broad diversity of activities, the Homestead and the houses have a unique position in the history of Pasadena.