The discovery of oil in 1901 near Beaumont, Texas, sparked an oil boom that transformed the state's economy and led to the rise of the modern petroleum industry.
Hays County, located in the central part of Texas, has a rich and diverse history that stretches back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various indigenous tribes, including the Tonkawa and Comanche peoples. However, the first recorded European arrival in the region occurred in 1690 when Spanish explorers made their way through the area.

In the early 1800s, Anglo-American settlers began to establish permanent settlements in what is now Hays County. One of the most notable figures in the county's history is Captain John Coffee "Jack" Hays, a Texas Ranger who played a significant role in fighting against Native American raids in the region. As a result of his contributions, the county was renamed in his honor in 1848.

During the mid-1800s, Hays County experienced rapid growth and development, fueled by the arrival of the railroad in the region. The county became an important hub for agriculture, with cotton and cattle as the main industries. The county seat, San Marcos, played a key role in the growth of education in the area, becoming home to Southwest Texas State Normal School (now Texas State University) in 1899.

In the 20th century, Hays County continued to evolve and modernize. The population increased steadily as more people were attracted to the area’s natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and proximity to Austin. Today, Hays County remains a vibrant and growing community, serving as a bridge between the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country and the urban amenities of nearby metropolitan areas.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Hays County, Texas.

  • 1837: Hays County is officially established as a county when the Republic of Texas is formed.
  • 1848: The county seat is established in the town of San Marcos.
  • 1856: A charter is granted to create the Hays County Agricultural, Manufacturing, and Mechanical Association.
  • 1861: With the outbreak of the Civil War, many men from Hays County volunteer for service in the Confederate Army.
  • 1881: The International-Great Northern Railroad is completed, connecting San Marcos to Austin and San Antonio.
  • 1903: Southwest Texas State Normal School (now known as Texas State University) is established in San Marcos.
  • 1938: The Blanco River floods, causing significant damage to homes and infrastructure in Hays County.
  • 1996: The Hays County Courthouse, built in 1909, is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2015: The county experiences widespread flooding from heavy rains, resulting in several deaths and extensive property damage.