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Revised 27 December 2010


Texas includes some of the most inhospitable land in the union. The Llano Estacado, or staked plains, stretches across the panhandle of Texas to the north. The Indians rarely went onto these barren plains and it is said the explorers of the early Spanish expedition had to lay stakes along their path to make sure they could find their way back--hence the name "staked" plains.

The first white men to arrive in this area came here by accident. The group, under the leadership of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, were shipwrecked off the Texas Gulf Coast in 1528. All but four succumbed to starvation or Indian attack. They traveled half-naked for eight years across the Southwest, working as bearers for various Indian Tribes and through this experience, using their knowledge of Western medicine and astronomy to act as shamans. By the time they reached Mexico, they had attracted thousands of worshippers who sought to gain favor from the "children of the sun".

Fortune tellers followed these men into Texas hoping to find gold and pass through the area unharmed. Later, Spanish priests began to follow the fortune hunters into the costal plains hoping to garner converts along the way. The Caddo Indians were unimpressed and several failures occurred. A mission was established in Ysleta near El Paso in 1682. Finally, in 1716, at Nacogdoches the Spanish finally managed to establish a stable mission. In 1718, this was increased to include a mission at San Antonio and in 1749, Goliad was added to the list.

Stephen F. Austin and company arrived in Texas in 1821. They were there at the invitation of the Mexican government, which had just won their independence from Spain and wanted to encourage settlement of the wilderness area. Huge tracts of land were granted to American entrepreneurs and settlers moved swiftly into the area, bringing thousands of slaves with them. The problems began when the Anglos wanted to maintain American law, slavery, Protestantism and local autonomy. Mexico wanted to enforce the Mexican laws and way of life. By 1830, the Anglos outnumbered the Tejanos three to one. Mexico added to the friction by cutting off immigration to the United States. Troops were sent to garrison the border, occupy seaports and to collect taxes on all imported goods. The occupation ended two years later, but the Americans, by then, felt they could no longer trust their livelihood and their way of life to the Mexicans so Austin traveled to Mexico City to petition the government for greater autonomy and was thrown in jail for his efforts by Antonio López de Santa Anna, who had declared himself a dictator, suspended the Mexican constitution and banned slavery in all Mexican territories. In retaliation, the Texans formed their own legislature and started selling land, provoking further action by the Mexican troops.

Settlers poured into Mexico from the southern states, looking for a good fight, but the Texans couldn't decide whether they wanted to restore the Mexican republic or to form one of their own. Santa Anna answered the question for them when he showed up at San Antonio on February 1835 with an army of close to 5,000 men. The Texans, badly outnumbered, hid within the walls of the old Mission Alamo. On 6 March, after a 12-day siege, the Mexican army stormed the Alamo and over-ran the Texans. His treatment of the bodies rallied the remaining Texans to war and under the leadership of General Sam Houston, the Mexican army was cornered at San Jacinto and forced to surrender. Santa Anna traded his release in exchange for Texan independence.

At first, Texas declared itself to be an independent republic. It wanted to become a state in the Union. However, the issue of slavery once again raised its ugly head. Sam Houston wanted statehood for Texas. The southern states wanted Texas as a slave state. Texas was annexed on 29 December 1845 as a slave state and became our 28th state.

Under the orders of President James K. Polk, troops were sent into a disputed region near the Mexican border and the result of this skirmish, The Mexican War, split the country down the middle. Abolitionist felt that it was a war to extend slavery. At the end of the war, the United States had grown by a third, adding most of the present southwest area to its empire.

Name Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Anderson 1846 Houston Palestine
Andrews 1875 Bexar Andrews
Angelina 1846 Nacogdoches Lufkin
Aransas 1871 Refugio Rockport
Archer 1858 Fannin Archer City
Armstrong 1876 Bexar Claude
Atascosa 1856 Bexar Jourdanton
Austin 1837 Old Mexican Municipality Bellville
Bailey 1876 Bexar Muleshoe
Bandera 1856 Uvalde, Bexter Bandera
Bastrop 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Bastrop
Baylor 1858 Fannin Seymour
Bee 1857 Goliad, Refugio, Live Oak, San Patricio Beeville
Bell 1850 Milam Belton
Bexar 1836 Old Mexican Municipality San Antonio
Blanco 1858 Gillespie, Comal, Burnet, Hays Johnson City
Bordon 1876 Bexar Gail
Bosque 1854 McLennan, Milam District Meridian
Bowie 1840 Red River Texarkana
Brazoria 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Angelton
Brazos 1841 Washington, Robertson Bryan
Brewster 1887 Presidio Alpine
Briscoe 1876 Bexar Silverton
Brooks 1911 Starr, Zapata, Hidalgo Falfurrias
Brown 1856 Travis, Comanche Brownwood
Buchanan 1860 Became part of Stephens County in 1861  
Burleson 1846 Milam, Washington Caldwell
Burnet 1852 Travis, Bell, Williamson Burnet
Caldwell 1848 Gonzales Lockhart
Calhoun 1846 Victoria, Matagorda, Jackson Port Lavaca
Callahan 1858 Bexar, Travis, Bosque Baird
Cameron 1848 Nueces Brownsville
Camp 1874 Upshur Pittsburg
Carson 1876 Bexar Panhandle
Cass 1846 Bowie (Name changed to Davis in 1861 - Renamed Cass in 1871) Linden
Castro 1876 Bexar Dimmitt
Chambers 1858 Jefferson, Liberty Anahuac
Cherokee 1846 Nacogdoches Rusk
Childress 1876 Bexar, Youngland District Childress
Clay 1857 Cooke Henrietta
Cochran 1876 Bexar Morton
Coke 1889 Tom Green Robert Lee
Coleman 1868 Travis, Brown Coleman
Collin 1846 Fannin McKinney
Collingsworth 1876 Bexar, Youngland District Wellington
Colorado 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Columbus
Comal 1846 Bexar, Gonzales, Travis New Braunfels
Comanche 1856 Bosque, Coryell Comanche
Concho 1858 Bexar Paint Rock
Cooke 1848 Fannin Gainesville
Coryell 1854 Bell Gatesville
Cottle 1876 Fannin Paducah
Crane 1887 Tom Green Crane
Crockett 1875 Bexar Ozona
Crosby 1876 Bexar District (Org. 1886) Crosbyton
Culberson 1911 El Paso Van Horn
Dallam 1876 Bexar Dalhart
Dallas 1846 Nacogdoches, Robertson Dallas
Davis 1846 Reamed Cass in 1871  
Dawson 1876 Bexar (Or. 1905) Lamesa
Deaf Smith 1876 Bexar Hereford
Delta 1870 Hopkins, Lamar Cooper
Denton 1846 Fannin Denton
Dewitt 1846 Goliad, Gonzales, Victoria Cuero
Dickens 1875 Bexar Dickens
Dimmit 1858 Uvalde, Bexar, Maverick, Webb Carrizo Springs
Donley 1875 Jack, Bexar Clarendon
Duval 1858 Live Oak, Starr, Neuces San Diego
Eastland 1858 Bosque, Coryell, Travis Eastland
Ector 1887 Tom Green Odessa
Edwards 1858 Bexar Rocksprings
Ellis 1849 Navarro Waxahachie
El Paso 1850 Bexar Rocksprings
Encinal prior to 1860 Dissolved some time after 1870  
Erath 1856 Bosque, Coryell Stephenville
Falls 1850 Limestone, Milam Marlin
Fannin 1837 Red River Bonham
Fayette 1837 Bastrop, Colorado La Grange
Fisher 1876 Bexar  Roby
Floyd 1876 Bexar (Org. 1890) Floydada
Foard 1891 Hardman, Knox, King, Cottle Crowell
Fort Bend 1837 Austin Richmond
Franklin 1875 Titus Mt. Vernon
Freestone 1850 Limestone Fairfield
Frio 1871 Atascosa, Bexar, Uvalde Pearsall
Gaines 1876 Bexar Seminole
Galveston 1838 Brazoria Galveston
Garza 1876 Bexar Post
Gillespie 1848 Bexar, Travis Fredericksburg
Glasscock 1887 Tom Green Garden City
Goliad 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Goliad
Gonzales 1837 Old Mexican Municipality Gonzales
Gray 1876 Bexar Pampa
Grayson 1846 Fannin Sherman
Gregg 1873 Rusk, Upshur Longview
Grimes 1846 Montgomery Anderson
Guadalupe 1846 Bexar, Gonzales Seguin
Hale 1876 Bexar Plainview
Hall 1876 Bexar, Young Memphis
Hamilton 1842 Bosque, Comanche, Lampasas, Coryell Hamilton
Hansford 1876 Bexar, Young Spearman
Hardin 1858 Fannin Quanah
Harris 1836 Formerly Harrisburg Municipality (Original County) Houston
Harrison 1839 Shelby Marshall
Hartley 1876 Bexar, Young Channing
Haskell 1868 Fannin, Milam Haskell
Hays 1848 Travis San Marcos
Hemphill 1876 Bexar, Young Canadian
Henderson 1846 Houston, Nacogdoches Athena
Hidalgo 1852 Cameron Edinburg
Hill 1853 Navarro Hillsboro
Hockley 1876 Bexar, Young (Org. 1921) Levelland
Hood 1866 Johnson Granbury
Hopkins 1846 Lamar, Nacogdoches Sulphur Springs
Houston 1837 Nacogdoches Crockett
Howard 1876 Bexar, Young Big Spring
Hudspeth 1917 El Paso Sierra Blanca
Hunt 1846 Fannin, Nacogdoches Greenville
Hutchinson 1876 Bexar District Stinnett
Irion 1889 Tom Green Mertzon
Jack 1856 Cooke Jacksboro
Jackson 1835 Old Mexican Municipality Edna
Jasper 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Jasper
Jeff Davis 1887 Presidio Ford Davis
Jefferson 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Beaumont
Jim Hogg 1913 Brooks, Duval Hebbronville
Jim Wells 1911 Nueces Alice
Jones 1858-61 Bexar, Bosque (Org. 1881) Anson
Johnson 1854 Ellis, Hill, Navarro Cleburne
Karnes 1854 Bexar Karnes City
Kaufman 1848 Henderson Kaufman
Kendall 1862 Kerr, Blanco Boerne
Kenedy 1921 Willacy, Hidalgo, Cameron Sarita
Kent 1876 Bexar, Young Jayton
Kerr 1856 Bexar Kerrville
Kimble 1858 Bexar Junction
King 1876 Bexar Guthrie
Kinney 1850 Bexar Brackettville
Kleberg 1913 Nueces Kingsville
Knox 1858 Young, Bexar Benjamin
Lamar 1840 Red River Paris
Lamb 1876 Bexar Littlefield
Lampasas 1856 Bell, Travis Lampasas
La Salle 1858 Bexar Cotulla
Lavaca 1846 Colorado, Victoria, Jackson, Gonzales Hallettsville
Lee 1874 Bastrop, Burleson, Washington, Fayette Giddings
Leon 1846 Robertson Centerville
Liberty 1836 Old Spanish Municipality Liberty
Limestone 1846 Robertson Groesbeck
Lipscomb 1876 Bexar Lipscomb
Live Oak 1856 Nueces, San Patricio George West
Llano 1856 Bexar Llano
Loving 1887 Tom Green Mentone
Lubbock 1876 Bexar, Crosby Lubbock
Lynn 1876 Bexar Tahoka
McCulloch 1856 Bexar Brady
McLennan 1850 Milam Waco
McMullen 1858 Bexar, Live Oak, Atascosa Tilden
Madison 1853 Leon, Grimes, Walker Madisonville
Marion 1860 Cass Jefferson
Martin 1876 Bexar Stanton
Mason 1858 Gillespie Mason
Matagorda 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Bay City
Maverick 1856 Kenedy Eagle Pass
Medina 1848 Bexar Hondo
Menard 1858 Bexar Menard
Midland 1885 Tom Green Midland
Milam 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Cameron
Mills 1887 Comanche, Brown, Hamilton, Lampasas Goldthwaite
Mitchell 1876 Bexar Colorado City
Montague 1857 Cooke Montague
Montgomery 1837 Washington Conroe
Moore 1876 Bexar Dumas
Morris 1875 Titus Daingerfield
Motley 1876 Bexar (Org. 1891) Matador
Nacogdoches 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches
Navarro 1846 Robertson Corsicana
Navasota 1841 Renamed Brazos in 1842)  
Newton 1846 Jasper Newton
Nolan 1876 Young, Bexar  Sweetwater
Nueces 1846 San Patricio Corpus Christi
Ochiltree 1876 Bexar Perryton
Oldham 1865 Bexar (Org. 1880) Vega
Orange 1852 Jefferson Orange
Palo Pinto 1856 Navarro, Bosque Palo Pinto
Panola 1846 Harrison, Shelby Carthage
Parker 1855 Bosque, Navarro Weatherford
Parmer 1876 Bexar Farwell
Pecos 1871 Presidio Port Stockton
Polk 1846 Liberty Livingston
Potter 1876 Bexar Amarillo
Presidio 1850 Bexar Marfa
Rains 1870 Hopkins, Hunt, Wood Emory
Randall 1876 Bexar Canyon
Reagan 1903 Tom Green Big Lake
Real 1913 Bandera, Kerr, Edwards Leakey
Red River 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Clarksville
Reeves 1883 Pecos Pecos
Refugio 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Refugio
Roberts 1876 Bexar Miami
Robertson 1837 Milam Franklin
Rockwall 1873 Kaufman Rockwall
Runnells 1868 Bexar, Travis (Org. 1880) Ballinger
Rusk 1843 Nacogdoches Henderson
Sabine 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Hemphill
San Augustine 1836 Old Mexican Municipality San Augustine
San Jacinto 1869 Liberty, Polk, Montgomery, Walker Coldspring
San Patricio 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Sinton
San Saba 1856 Bexar San Saba
Schleicher 1887 Crockett El Dorado
Scurry 1876 Bexar Snyder
Shackelford 1858 Bosque Albany
Shelby 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Center
Sherman 1876 Bexar Stratford
Smith 1846 Nacogdoches Tyler
Somervell 1875 Hood, Johnson Glen Rose
Start 1848 Nueces Rio Grande City
Stephens 1858 Bosque (Originally named Buchanan.  Name changed in 1861) Breckenridge
Sterling 1891 Tom Green Sterling City
Stonewall 1876 Bexar Aspermont
Sutton 1887 Crockett Sonora
Swisher 1876 Bexar, Young Tulia
Tarrant 1849 Navarro  Fort Worth
Taylor 1858 Bexar, Travis Abilene
Terrell 1905 Pecos Sanderson
Terry 1876 Martin, Bexar Brownfield
Throckmorton 1858 Fannin  Throckmorton
Titus 1846 Red River, Bowie Mt. Pleasant
Tom Green 1874 Bexar San Angelo
Travis 1840 Bastrop Austin
Trinity 1850 Houston Groveton
Tyler 1846 Liberty Woodville
Upshur 1846 Harrison, Nacogdoches Gilmer
Upton 1867 Tom Green (Org. 1910) Ranklin
Uvalde 1850 Bexar Uvalde
Val Verde 1855 Crockett, Kinney, Pecos Del Rio
Van Zandt 1848 Henderson Canton
Victoria 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Victoria
Walker 1846 Montgomery Huntsville
Waller 1873 Austin, Grimes Hempstead
Ward 1887 Tom Green Monohans
Washington 1836 Texas Municipality Brenham
Webb 1848 Bexar Laredo
Wharton 1846 Matagorda, Jackson Wharton
Wheeler 1876 Bexar, Young Wheeler
Wichita 1858 Youngland District Wichita Falls
Wilbarger 1858 Bexar (Orig. 1881)  Vernon
Willacy 1911 Hidalgo, Cameron Raymondville
Williamson 1848 Milam Georgetown
Wilson 1860 Bexar, Karnes Floresville
Winkler 1887 Tom Green Kermit
Wise 1856 Cooke Decatur
Wood 1850 Van Zandt Quitman
Yoakum 1876 Bexar Plains
Young 1856 Bosque, Fannin Graham
Zapata 1858 Starr, Webb Zapata
Zavala 1858 Uvalde, Maverick Crystal City