The Pinebox area in east Texas was first colonized under the Mexican Colonization Law passed in 1825. The Empresario contracted by the Mexican government to bring settlers to the area, Carter Greystone, had previously been a successful farmer and businessman in Virginia. After the death of his wife and son to pneumonia in 1823, Carter left his home to “explore the frontier”. According to his journal, he transported the bodies of his wife and son to Texas to be buried near his new home because he could not bear being separated.
After receiving his contract from the Mexican government in 1825, Carter quickly recruited 400 families. In late 1826, the first families arrived and settled around the lake now named Lake Greystone. By 1828 over 600 families had been attracted by the promise of grants and fertile land. Carter applied to the Mexican government for more land, but in September of 1829, after receiving no response, took matters into his own hands.
Taking a dozen families, he entered the Big Thicket with the intention of building another settlement upriver from Lake Greystone. His younger brother, William, who had come to Texas in 1827 with his wife and 3 daughters, assumed leadership of the settlement. As weeks turned to months with no word from the new settlement, William feared that Carter had been set upon the Karankawa Indians. He sent a request to Mexico for troops to protect the settlers and to locate his lost brother. His request went unanswered.
In spring of 1830 William formed a militia to search for the missing settlers. Traveling upriver, they found clothing scraps and some busted trunks. No other evidence was ever found of Carter or the families who traveled with him. The modern assumption is that the Greystone party was set upon by the Karankawas, but historical evidence in the form of journals and letters speaks of something darker inhabiting the woods, something the natives had known to avoid for decades.
With the war of Texas Independence in 1836, the Empresario contracts became void. William continued to play a leadership role, guiding the settlement as it grew into its official status as the town of Pinebox in 1855 and as Mayor until his death in 1875 at the age of 72.