Kneeland Britton was born around 1810 and his wife, Sylvia, was born about 1830 in Mississippi. They were the slaves of a family of settlers in Galveston County who arrived to the area around 1854.10 After the end of the Civil War, Kneeland and Sylvia became the first and largest landowners in the 1867 Settlement. The couple purchased three ten-acre tracts from Judge William J. Jones for $100 each in 1867.11 Their daughter, Priscilla, and her husband, Albert Phillips, also purchased a tract of land the same year. Their residence was the next house over from Kneeland and Sylvia.12 Together, they became the first families of the new 1867 Settlement.
Kneeland Britton's two sons, William and Thomas, worked with Kneeland on the Butler Ranch as cowboys on the Chisholm Trail cattle drives. Thomas Britton was considered one of the best cowboys on the ranch.13 In 1873, he married Butler Ranch cook, Mary Ann "Mollie" Whittington of London, England and they had five children together. Thomas' brother, William, was known on the ranch for breaking horses;14 he had one son who was raised by his parents, Kneeland and Sylvia.