The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 1883, is one of the largest universities in the United States and has produced many notable alumni, including several U.S. presidents.
Bell County, located in central Texas, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Tonkawa, Lipan Apache, and Comanche. European settlers began arriving in the early 19th century, with the first permanent settlement established in 1850 by Thomas M. Bigham, who built a log cabin near the Lampasas River.

The county was officially established in 1850 and named after Governor Peter H. Bell. It quickly grew as more settlers arrived to take advantage of the fertile land and abundant natural resources. Agriculture, particularly cotton farming, became the primary industry in the region, with the first cotton gin built in 1853. The county also became an important shipping point due to its proximity to the Chisholm Trail, which was used to drive cattle to markets in the north.

During the Civil War, Bell County played a significant role in supporting the Confederate cause. Several Confederate camps were established in the area, and the county experienced some military action, including the Battle of Stampede Valley in 1863. After the war, the county began to recover and diversify its economy. The railroad arrived in the late 19th century, bringing further growth and development.

In the 20th century, Bell County continued to experience growth and modernization. Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the country, was established in 1942. The presence of the military base provided a significant economic boost to the county and continues to be a major employer and contributor to the local economy. Today, Bell County is a thriving community with a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and military-related industries.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Bell County, Texas.

  • 1834 - Bell County is established by the Republic of Texas
  • 1850 - The first permanent settlement, known as Nolanville, is established
  • 1851 - A post office is established in the town of Belton
  • 1852 - The county seat is moved from Nolanville to Belton
  • 1858 - The Belton Female College is founded
  • 1861-1865 - Bell County is heavily impacted by the American Civil War
  • 1870 - The Houston and Texas Central Railway arrives in Bell County, boosting economic growth
  • 1881 - The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is founded in Belton
  • 1892 - The town of Temple is established as a railroad town
  • 1913 - The Santa Fe Railroad builds a major railroad station in Temple
  • 1920s - Bell County experiences an oil boom
  • 1957 - Construction begins on the Fort Hood military base
  • 1980s - Bell County's economy diversifies with the growth of healthcare and technology industries
  • 2005 - The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery is established in Killeen