The Waller County Page
Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca was the first white man in Texas. After his ship wrecked and he wandered South Texas
French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de la Salle explored the area.
The hostile Comanche indians made Spain break a 300 year tradition and allowed foreigners to settle in Texas
Moses Austin received a land grant from Spain to bring in settlers. Moses died before he could do it and his son Stephin F. Austin brought in the original 300 settlers.
Edwin Waller for whom the county was named, shipped the first cotton crop to Mexico. It went down the Brazos, by schooner, to Matamoras.
"On March 11, 1834 a stagecoach was robbed near Six Shooter Junction." Money and valuables were taken, but the mail got through to Washington and Austin." This was the first place in print where Hempstead was referred to as "Six Shooter Junction."
Texans fought a revolution against Mexico and won the war, beside the San Jacinto River on April 21, 1836.
The Houston and Texas Central Railroad was completed between Houston and Hempstead. By 1859 the railroad was completed to Navasota.
In 1858 a petition was filed to incorporate the community of Hempstead. Hempstead was incorporated as the City of Hempstead on March 13, 1871. It was to be governed by a mayor and 9 aldermen.
The "Hempstead Courier" was the first newspaper in Waller County, in 1859
The South lost the Civil War and Federal troops under General George A. Custer arrived at Camp Groce. After the end of the war a second migration of defeated southerners begin leaving for Texas.
The first brick two story courthouse and jail was built in Hempstead. It burned in 1892 and was replaced by another brick courthouse in 1894
The City of Hempstead was unincorporated in 1899. 286 citizens voted to abolish, against 68 who voted to remain an incorporated city.
The city of Hempstead was reincorpated in 1935 after unsuccessful tries in 1928, 1930, and 1933.
The community of Pine Island was incorporated as a city in 1984, with T.W. Wren as the Mayor.
A Short History Of Waller County
The land, as you approach Waller County from the east, begins the slow change from the flat coastal lowlands to the rolling planes that slowly grow until 100 miles to the west they become the beautiful central Texas hill country. There is just the hint of hills and shallow valleys formed over the centuries by the spring fed creeks of the area.
The land, far back into pre-history, was shared and used mainly by the Tonkawa and sometime the Karankawa Indians. They hunted and lived in the area for hundreds, maybe thousands of years before thefirst white men appeared. The near by river bottom was full of small game and the prairies abounded with all types of foul, deer, antelope and buffalo.
The Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca was apparently the first white man to come through Pine Island area of Texas. In 1528, after his ship wrecked on Galveston Island (which he named "Misfortune Island"), he became a trader among the indians. He worked the southern part of east Texas for about six years, trading with the indian tribes, before he made the overland journey back to Mexico.
Spain took no further interest in Texas for nearly one hundred and fifty years when the first few spanish settlements started appearing north of the Rio Grande around 1660. But, even then the Waller County area missed the invasion of outsiders for another hundred and fifty years.
The Spanish began operating missions in the San Antonio area and in east Texas at Nacogdoches. Although the "Old San Antonio Road" between the two areas crossed the Brazos river, their route was further north near the current Bryan-College Station area.
Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle attempted to found a french settlement called Fort St. Louis in 1665. It was located possibly on Garcitas Creek. It was located a considerable distance inland from Matagorda Bay, presumably to fool the Spanish into thinking they had left. La Salle made a number of exploratory trips through southeast Texas and some of the maps show a route that appears to go through the Pine Island area. There is a statue of la Salle in Navasota, Texas showing his presence in that part of Texas. la Salle was killed on the last trip and Fort Saint Louis was wiped out by indians Other than a few more exploration trips by the Spanish explorers like Coronado, Moscoso and Onate. After Mexico won it's independence from Spain in 1821, it still lacked interest in Texas and decided to let colonists from the United States settle the far away wilderness of their new land.
The first permanent outsiders did not arrive and settle in the Pine Island area until the early 1820's when Spain broke a 300 year old tradition of not allowing foreigners to live within it's boundaries. By then Spain was grasping at straws for a way to help control the Comanche Indians. The Comanches were regularly raiding San Antonio and making life in Spanish Texas very difficult.
At the same time Moses Austin, a victim of the first United States depression, lost his money in a Saint Louis bank failure. Moses went to Mexico and secured a grant to colonize Texas as a means to recoup his losses. After returning home in 1821 Moses died and his son Stephen F. Austin was recognized by Spain as the heir to the contract with the Spanish Government. Stephen F. Austin brought the first foreign group of colonists, called "The Old Three Hundred", to Texas and settled them in the area between the Brazos and Colorado rivers.
After Texas gained it's freedom from Mexico in 1836, Austin County included the land on both sides of the Brazos River. It was however, a very long trip to the county courthouse in Bellville from the farms and towns on the east side of the river. And, when the river was in flood stage the trip was almost impossible. So on May 1, 1873 the Texas Legislature passed an act that took all of Austin County, on the east side of the Brazos river, part of Montgomery County and part of Harris County and created Waller County.
The new county was named for Edwin Waller who was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Waller County Statistics
The area of the county is 507 square miles; altitude, 250 feet; average annual rainfall, 40.2 inches; and mean annual temperature, 68.9 degrees. The county, situated in Southeast Texas has a topography varying from a rolling post oak region in the north to prairies in the south. The area is well drained by the Brazos River, which forms the western boundary. Soils range from sandy loams and heavy clays in the upland to rich alluvials in the bottoms and black waxy in the central part. Native timber includes post oak, pine, cottonwood, and elm. Principal industries are ranching, agriculture, and dairying. Cotton, corn, peanuts, grains, watermelons, and rice are grown commercially. Beef cattle, hogs, and sheep are raised for market. Mineral resources include oil, gas, gravel, and brick clay. Transportation is provided by the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe and the Texas and New Orleans Railroads.
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