Dairy

Alief, a residential suburb of Houston originally known as Dairy and Dairy Station, is on Bray's Bayou in western Harris County. The site was first settled in 1861, when Reynolds Reynolds claimed 1,250 acres of land at the bayou headwaters. Jacamiah Seaman Daugherty purchased Reynolds's land in 1888 and in 1889 granted the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway a right-of-way. Daugherty's plans failed, however, and in 1893 Francis I. Meston of Colorado purchased the land. Meston hired W. D. Twitchell (perhaps Willis D. Twichell) to plat the town in 1895 and retained Daugherty to oversee land sales at his Houston land office. Meston granted a free lot in town for the purchase of every forty acres of farmland and in 1900 donated land for the Alief cemetery. In 1894 county surveyors named the community Dairy, but application for a post office in 1895 resulted in changing the name to Alief in honor of the first postmistress, Alief Ozella Magee. The population was twenty-five in 1896, when the community had a two-room schoolhouse for White children and a one-room schoolhouse for black children.

Alief suffered heavy damage from the flood of 1899 and the Galveston hurricane of 1900, which destroyed the Methodist Episcopal church and cotton and corn crops ready for harvest. When the International–Great Northern Railroad Company offered free transportation to anyone who wanted to leave, many residents left for Ellis County, where they had previously resided. The town reverted to prairie; only six of its thirty families and the Bassinger General Mercantile Store remained, and wolves were seen during the daytime. In 1900 Daugherty convinced local farmers that rice was particularly suited to Alief's easily flooded land and spent large sums of money to raise the first crops. His effort made rice a prominent cash crop until 1915, when cotton production resumed. Daugherty also acquired and distributed free Egyptian cottonseed.

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Claudia Hazlewood | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Dairy is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists

No

Place type

Dairy is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-Station]
  • (Alief)

Has Post Office

No

Is Incorporated

No