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Fort Bend History

Fort Bend History…

Begins way before settlement by the English. The Fort Bend area was home to the Karankawa Indians, a coastal group that included several smaller tribes such as the Capoque, Kohani, and Kopane Indians. The natives lived as far east as Galveston Bay and as far west as Corpus Christi. Very little is known about them today, but historians have preserved a handful of words from their language and know that they raised and kept dogs that were similar in appearance to coyotes and foxes. They made crafts such as baskets and pottery, and they did use bows and arrows. The Karnkawas spent part of the year on the islands and part of the year on the main coast. They were hunter/gatherers, and they used dugout canoes to transport themselves, their families, and all their belongings from place to place. They were, of course, also expert fishermen.

Fort Bend’s original inhabitants are distinguished as the first Indians from Texas to make contact with Europeans. First the Spanish and then the French visited and sent missionaries to the Fort Bend area, but the area was finally settled in the 1820s, by Anglo-Americans under the leadership of Stephen Fuller Austin.

Fort Bend County itself was named for the tiny fort built on the headlands above the bend in the Brazos River (thus “Fort Bend”). The first city in Fort Bend—Richmond—was named after the town of Richmond in England. Later designated as Fort Bend’s county seat, Richmond has the distinction of being one of the first 19 cities established in Texas, all of them incorporated at the same time by a legislative act in May 1837. As for Fort Bend County, it was created from surrounding counties a year later, and its unique shape results from the fact that its boundaries conform in many areas to natural bodies of water.

The Fort Bend area has some colorful history. In 1819, the famous French pirate Jean Lafitte engaged in battle with the Karankawa Indians. Santa Anna’s fierce Mexican army marched through the county during the Texas Revolution, pillaging farms, before facing defeat in the battle of San Jacinto. And in the 1950s, Galveston’s famous mafia vice businesses sometimes overflowed into the area. Modern Fort Bend may tend more toward vibrant, safe town centers and spacious single-family homes, but its residents look back on its wild history with great fondness.

 

Cities in Fort Bend County:

Arcola Orchard
Beasley Richmond
Fulshear Rosenberg
Katy Simonton
Meadows Place Stafford
Missouri City Sugar Land
Needville Weston Lakes