Colonization of the Brazos
Although the Brazos was well known to Spanish explorers and missionaries who described the Indians along its banks, the first permanent settlements on the river were made by Anglo-Americans.In 1821, Stephen F. Austin obtained permission from Spanish Governor of Texas and Coahuila to explore the country on the Brazos River. He concluded the land was fertile and a good place to begin a settlement. Austin then issue land grants to the “Old Three Hundred”, the first Anglo settlers in Texas. 297 grants were actually issued, including Austin’s, with the stipulation the all the lands granted should be occupied and improved within two years. The lands selected by the colonists ranged from present day Brenham down to the Gulf of Mexico. The Handbook of Texas says “According to the terms of the colonization agreement, each family engaged in farming was to receive one labor (about 177 acres) and each ranching family one sitio (about 4,428 acres). Because of the obvious advantages, a sizeable number of the colonists classified themselves as stock raisers, though they were technically planters. Each family’s sitio was to have a frontage on the river equal to about one-fourth of its length; thus the east bank of the Brazos was soon completely occupied from the Gulf to what is now Brazos County.”
Information courtesy of the Brazos River Authority and the Texas State Historical Association.
The photo is the 1836 Hooker Map of the State of Coahuila and Texas that shows the Brazos River and Austin’s colony on it courtesy of the University of Texas at Arlington. A bigger version of the map can be found at http://libguides.uta.edu/ccon.