“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Huntsville in Walker County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Walker County

Walker County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Gustafson, September 19, 2009
1. Walker County Marker
Inscription.  The earliest known inhabitants of this area were the Cenis and Bidai (Bedias) Indians. Spanish explorers began to arrive in 1542, followed by the French in 1687. The area was thinly populated by Spanish and Mexican settlers until the early 1830s when colonists came from the United States. Brothers Pleasant and Ephraim Gray established a trading post near this site about 1835 or 1836, naming it for their home in Huntsville, Alabama. The region was included in neighboring counties until Walker County was created by the First Legislature of the State of Texas in 1846; it was named for U.S. Senator Robert J. Walker, who introduced legislation for Texas' annexation. The state penitentiary was established at Huntsville in 1849.

Agricultural products, primarily cotton, were shipped out by steamboat from the late 1840s. When the Civil War began, R.J. Walker declined to support the Confederacy. The Texas Legislature renamed the county in 1863 for Texas Ranger Samuel H. Walker. Martial law was declared in the county for 60 days in 1871 because of Reconstruction-era racial violence.

With the arrival of the railroads in the 1870s, depot
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towns flourished. Huntsville narrowly avoided the fate of other towns bypassed by the railroads when residents hurriedly raised funds to build funds to build a spur. Cotton never regained its pre-Civil War stature, and lumber and livestock became important businesses in the 20th Century.

The heritage of Walker County, from Native Americans to frontier settlers and U.S. citizens, is one of independent spirit and determination.
Erected 1999 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 12282.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1542.
Location. 30° 43.401′ N, 95° 33.039′ W. Marker is in Huntsville, Texas, in Walker County. Marker is on University Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located on the east side of the courthouse grounds. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1000 University Avenue, Huntsville TX 77342, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Five Courthouses of Walker County (here, next to this marker); Memorial Gazebo (a few steps from this marker); Cornerstone of the Fourth Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Pleasant Gray's Trading Post
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Sam Houston Whittling Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Henry Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker); First Meeting Site of Huntsville's Masonic Lodge (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Walker County (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Huntsville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 5, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 24, 2010, by Steve Gustafson of Lufkin, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,017 times since then and 21 times this year. Last updated on December 24, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo   1. submitted on March 24, 2010, by Steve Gustafson of Lufkin, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 20, 2024