Fort Bend County, Texas

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Mirabeau Lamar.
  • Fort Bend County was formed 1837 from Austin County and organized in 1838.

The county seat is Richmond, Texas, yet Fort Bend County's largest city is Sugar Land. The county was founded in 1837 and organized 1838. It is named for a blockhousebuilt on a bend of the Brazos River; the fort was beginning for the settlement in the area early 1800's. [1]

Prior to Anglo settlement, the Karankawa native Americans lived in this region. Mostly the Mexican colonists had originally settled in south Texas and Bexar territory , thus there were few Mexican colonists here.[1]
1821 Mexico gained its independence from Spain.
1822 - group of Stephen F. Austin's "Old 300" colonists, headed by William Travis, built a fort at the present site of Richmond, "Fort Bend" (it was built in the bend of the Brazos River).[1][2]
1836: Area was evacuated during "The Runaway Scrape".
1837: The town is platted, promoted and named after Richmond, England.
May, 1837 Became the county seat after Fort Bend County was organized later in the year.[1][2]
1837 - Robert Eden Handy (Pennsylvania), William Lusk (Richmond, Virginia) arrived before war for independence-founded and named the town + 8 others such as Branch T. Archer, Thomas Freeman McKinney, and Samuel May Williams.
1839: First newspaper - the Richmond Telescope and Texas Literary Register, was published.


1837 - The city of Richmond was incorporated under the Republic of Texas. Named after Richmond, England. [1][2]
Fort Bend County was created from parts of Austin, Harris, and Brazoria counties in 1838.[1]

1830's, 1840's -Fort Bend had a cotton-based plantation system which relied on high number of African-American slaves for laborers.[1]

1850's - one of the 6 majority-black counties in the state.[1]
1860 - slave population totaled 4,127, (2 x that of the 2,016 white population). [1] Immigrants still settled in the county. The population was majority black during and after the reconstruction. [2]
1862-65 - Civil War county men volunteered for Confederate service; many joined the Eighth Texas Cavalry (Terry's Texas Rangers), a regiment organized by Benjamin Franklin Terry, a wealthy sugar planter from Sugar Land.
1866: Emancipation of slaves. Freedman's Bureau opens when freed slaves leave
Post Civil War - White Democrats, outnumbered by blacks more than two to one, were unable to regain control of local government until the late 1880.
Slavery Slavery movement
1867: Union occupied Richmond county with troops stationed at Richmond. [2]
1870's- 1880's -during and after Reconstruction, when Republicans were elected to office. [1]
1878: The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe RR by-passed 3 miles from, Richmond by 3 miles - Rosenburg, Texas is formed.[2]
1880s, white residents were Democrat.
1888: First bridge across the Brazos is built.[2]
1888-1889- Jaybird-Woodpecker War [1]High racial tension. People were killed. After martial law was declared, some "Woodpeckers" were thrown out of control of the government.[1]
Jaybirds represented whites struggled to gain control, but factional tensions were fierce. ::Woodpeckers were some whites elected to office by African Americans.
Jaybird - Woodpecker War - high racial tension resulted in Jaybird-Woodpecker War. Several people were killed, and Woodpeckers were ousted from government control. [1]
Martial law was declared by Gov. Lawrence Sullivan Ross sent in militia forces and declared martial law.[1][2]
With Sullivan's support, the Jaybirds ordered a list of certain blacks and Woodpecker officials out of the county. [1]The Jaybirds took over county offices and established a "white-only pre-primary," disfranchising the African Americans from the voting or running for office in the county. [1]
1893: First steel bridge was built. [2]
1899: Brazos floods [2]
1920's: Population is 1,273. Oil discoveries boost economy - rice, sugar and cotton are main crops.[3]
1919Gulf Oil Company brought in first oil well in 1919 at Blue Ridge.[3]
1922 - Oil field at Big Creek. Thompsons had a major oilfield in 1921. [3]
1926 Gulf discovered a major sulfur and gas deposit in Orchard[3]
1928 - Sugar Land was the most important Texas oil development.[4]
1935 - Humble Oil Company (now ExxonMobil Corporation) gas field near Katy.[3]
1940's - Post WWII, people moved to Houston for better jobs. County population was stagnant until people started commuting from Houston in the 1970s. [2]
1950's - , Fort Bend and Galveston counties were plagued by organized crime, gambling, and brothels.[2][3]
1950- Melton and Arizona Fleming won a lawsuit (Terry v Adams ).[1]
1954-1957 oil production averaged 30,000 barrels / day
mid 1980's ExxonMobil built major gas plant that produced 450 million cubic feet of gas daily


Fort Bend county courthouses were:

1842- First courthouse built. (no image or information,
1871-72 New courthouse (no image)
1887 see below,
2011 Justice Center.[5]
1887 courthouse .
1887 Fort Bend Courthouse - resembles Bandera county courthouse. The clock tower was removed shortly after the picture was taken. Building burned down 1930.-- Terry Jeanson, [5]
1897 County Jail.
1897 Fort Bend County Jail was the 3rd jail building. The goal was to symbolize strength and justice, style is Romanesque revival style building and is with terra cotta built in 1897, this structure was the third jail building in Fort Bend County. This even had included living quarters for the sheriff and a 3rd floor gallows. It was used until 1955. [5]
1908 courthoiuse
1908 5th Fort Bend courthouse - Texas renaissance style is similar to the Hays county courthouse. [6] [7]

[8]This courthouse is over 105 years old. The interior of building has been restored. Partly renovated in 1935, this addition is closely compatible.. An addition added in 1955 has now been demolished.[5]

2011 Justice center.
2011 Justice Center- for county offices.[5]


Fort Bend can be found in the coastal plains of SE Texas, 22 miles SW of Houston, Texas[3]. Total area -885 square miles (2,290 km2), of which 861 square miles (2,230 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (2.7%) is water.

Longitude/Latitude: 29°35' north latitude and 95°45' west longitude.
Altitude - 80 to 250 feet
Rolling terrain.
Temperatures - high- 94° F in July to an average low of 44° in January.
Rainfall - 45 inches/year,
Growing season - a 296 days.
Rivers- Brazos River flows diagonally NW to SE
San Bernard River (west boundary, draining west1/4 of county
Big Creek flows east to Brasos, Oyster Creek - parallel to Brazos River
Buffalo Bayou - rises in N tip of county, flows into Harris County.
Soils- Soils alluvial - in the Brazos valley to sandy loams and clay on the prairies.
Trees:- pecan, oak, ash, and cottonwood
Minerals: salt domes hold concentrated deposits of natural gas, oil, sulfur, sand, clay and salt [3]
1919 -Gulf Oil Company brought in first oil well in 1919 at Blue Ridge[3]
1922 - Oil field at Big Creek. Thompsons had a major oilfield in 1921. [3]
1926 Gulf discovered a major sulfur and gas deposit in Orchard[3]
1935 - Humble Oil Company (now ExxonMobil Corporation) gas field near Katy.[3]
mid 1980's ExxonMobil built major gas plant that produced 450 million cubic feet of gas daily
1954-1957 oil production averaged 30,000 barrels / day[3]
1940 map.

Adjacent counties

  • Waller County (north)
  • Harris County (northeast)
  • Austin County (northwest)
  • Brazoria County (southeast)
  • Wharton County (southwest)

Formed From

  • Austin, Harris, and Brazoria counties in 1838.

Protected areas


Fort Bend County is part of the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area. Since the 1970s Fort Bend County has been one of the fastest-growing counties. [3]

In 2000 Fort Bend county had a population 354,452 people, 110,915 households, and 93,057 families residing in the county. [3]

The density of people were 405/sq mile

The racial breakdown for the county:

56.96% White (46.21% White Non-Hispanic),
19.85% African American
0.30% Native American
11.20% Asian
23.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Ancestry identified:
8.8% of German ancestry, 6.3% American and 5.8% English [3]


Brazos Independent School District
Fort Bend Independent School District
Katy Independent School District
Lamar Consolidated Independent School District
Needville Independent School District
Stafford Municipal School District
Houston Community College System
Wharton County Junior College
University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch
University of Houston System at Sugar Land

Hospitals- Memorial Hermann Hospital and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

Prisons -Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the following facilities in Fort Bend County, all at the Jester State Prison Farm site:

Prisons for men:
Jester III Unit (Unincorporated area)[29] (Co-located with the Jester units) and the Vance Unit
Jester I Unit – Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility , and Jester IV Unit – Psychiatric Facility


  • Fort Bend County, for years as other Texas counties was strongly Democrat. 1889 resulted in

disfranchisement of blacks at the county level with the infamous upheaval of Jaybird-Woodpecker War. This was declared unconstitutional in 1944. Republican votes changed this by 1960's as middle class inhabited the north and eastern parts of the county.

Precinct 1 also votes heavily Republican, but Rosenburg is Democrat.
Precinct 2 votes Democrat

Due to the growing ethnic diversity, the county since 2008 keeps changing.

alligator in Fort Bend County


I-10 Interstate 10
I-69 Interstate 69
U.S. Highway 59
U.S. Highway 90
Texas State Highway 6
Texas State Highway 36
Toll Texas State Highway 99 - Grand Parkway
Fort Bend Toll Road. -Fort Bend Parkway"'
Westpark Tollway
Texas Farm to Market Road 359
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 442
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 521
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 762
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 1092
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 1093
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 1464
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 1876
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 2234
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 2759
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 2977
Texas FM Farm to Market Road 3345

Airports - Happy Landings Airport ( east of Beasley).Houston Southwest Airport in Arcola, Westheimer Air Park


Weston LakesBeasleyFulshear
KendletonMeadows PlaceNeedville
Missouri CityOrchardRosenberg
SimontonStaffordSugar Land
Pearland (part Brazoria County & Harris Co.Richmond (county seat)Arcola
Houston (most- Harris Co.)Katy (part -Harris Co. & Waller Co.)

PleakSienna PlantationCummings
Cinco Ranch Fifth StreetGreatwood
Four Corners Mission Bend New Territory
Pecan GroveBooth communityCrabb community
Clodine communityLong Point communityTavener community
Foster communityPowell Point communityGuy community
Juliff communityPittsville community


Public transportation- commuter buses to Uptown, Greenway Plaza, and Texas Medical Center. It also provides Demand and Response Buses for Senior Citizens and the General Public that travel only in Fort Bend County to anywhere in Fort Bend County.[3]

Windmill, Brazos Nature Center.


1850 -- 2,533 —
1860 -- 6,143 142.5%
1870 -- 7,114 15.8%
1880 -- 9,380 31.9%
1890 -- 10,586 12.9%
1900 -- 16,538 56.2%
1910 -- 18,168 9.9%
1920 -- 22,931 26.2%
1930 -- 29,718 29.6%
1940 -- 32,963 10.9%
1950 -- 31,056 −5.8%
1960 -- 40,527 30.5%
1970 -- 52,314 29.1%
1980 -- 130,846 150.1%
1990 -- 225,421 72.3%
2000 -- 354,452 57.2%
2010 -- 585,375 65.1%
Est. 2015 -- 716,087


  • Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar
  • Branch T. Archer early settler
  • Thomas Freeman McKinney
  • Samuel May Williams
  • Benjamin Franklin Terry wealthy sugar plantation owner, + (Terry's Rangers of Civil war)

WikiTree Profiles

Land Grants



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  7. Architecture in Texas 1895-1945, By Jay C. Henry

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