Boonville, the first county seat of Brazos County, was on Farm Road 158, which is also known as Boonville Road, two miles northeast of the site of what is now Bryan. The Republic of Texas Congress appointed a committee–made up of J. H. Jones, Eli Seale, William T. Millican, Joseph Ferguson, and Mordecai Boon, Sr.–that selected for the county seat a tract of 150 acres from the John Austin league. The committee purchased the land, which was originally an unbroken post oak forest, from Elizabeth and William Pierpont for $150 and conveyed it in a deed to Brazos County on July 30, 1841. The town was built around a public square, with space in the square reserved for a courthouse. In 1841 Boonville was the county seat of Navasota County, but the county name was changed to Brazos in 1842. The town was probably named in honor of Mordecai Boon, Sr., whose uncle was Daniel Boone. In 1843 Boonville residents built a jail, and in 1846 they acquired a post office and built a courthouse. The Boonville courthouse, known as the "board shanty," served many purposes: there Gen. Sam Houston and other prominent statesmen made speeches, and circuit preachers such as William Tryon and Robert Alexander gave sermons. A stage line went from Houston through Boonville in 1850; its drivers and passengers would stop at the Boonville hotel overnight. The town enjoyed prosperity from 1842 to 1866. However, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway was extended from Millican to Bryan in 1866, Boonville residents elected, on October 15, 1866, to make Bryan the county seat. In December 1866 the Boonville mail was rerouted through the Bryan post office. In the 1990s all that remained of Boonville was the cemetery on Boonville Road. The townsite is marked by a Texas Centennial monument.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Christina L. Gray | © Texas State Historical Association
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