State Antiquities Landmark in
Houston County, Texas

The first oil well in the United States was drilled in Texas in 1859. The discovery of oil transformed the economy of the state and helped to make Texas one of the wealthiest states in the nation.
Houston County, Texas, located in the eastern part of the state, has a rich and diverse history that dates back centuries. The area that is now Houston County was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Caddo and Atakapa, who lived off the lands and waterways. However, the first European settlers began arriving in the area in the early 19th century, sparking a new chapter in the region's history.

In 1838, Houston County was officially established and named after Sam Houston, a prominent figure in the Texas Revolution and later the Republic of Texas. The county became a focal point during this time, with numerous conflicts between settlers and Native American tribes, as well as various clashes involving Mexican troops.

During the mid-19th century, Houston County experienced rapid growth and development, as many settlers were attracted to the area's fertile soil and abundant natural resources. Immigrants from various European countries, such as Germany and Austria, arrived in large numbers, contributing to the cultural diversity of the county. Additionally, the construction of railroads in the late 1800s played a pivotal role in fostering economic growth and connecting Houston County to neighboring regions.

In the 20th century, Houston County faced several challenges, including the Great Depression and the decline of the timber industry. However, the discovery of oil in neighboring counties brought new economic opportunities to the region and provided a much-needed boost to Houston County's economy. Today, Houston County continues to thrive as a vibrant rural community, with a rich history that is celebrated through numerous historic sites, museums, and events that showcase its past.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Houston County, Texas.

  • 1837 - Houston County is created and organized from Nacogdoches County.
  • 1839 - The county seat, Crockett, is established and named after David Crockett.
  • 1854 - The Houston and Great Northern Railroad is built through the county, boosting economic development.
  • 1861-1865 - Houston County residents actively participate in the Civil War.
  • 1881 - The discovery of oil in the county leads to an oil boom.
  • 1893 - The Houston County courthouse is destroyed by fire.
  • 1936 - The Texas State Park Board establishes Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area.
  • 1968 - Hurricane Beulah causes significant damage to the county.
  • 2008 - Hurricane Ike causes widespread destruction and power outages in the area.
  • 2020 - Houston County celebrates its 183rd anniversary.