Marianna, on the eastern banks of the Trinity River sixty-five miles north of Houston in southern Polk County, was originally named Drew's Landing, in honor of early entrepreneur Monroe Drew, who traded with a group of Coushatta Indians living on the opposite bank of the river. Drew also attracted a large share of Trinity riverboat traffic. In addition to operating a store, he opened a boat landing, ran a ferry, and established a small sawmill with a partner, Joseph Baird. By the time of the Civil War, Drew's Landing had become a bustling community of about fifty persons and was an important center for the Polk County cotton trade. A post office was opened in 1860 with Drew as postmaster. During the Civil War, Drew's Landing continued to be an important storage and shipping point for Polk County farmers. Flatboats were also constructed there. The post office, which closed in 1867, reopened in 1871. This time, however, Charles Fitze named it Marianna, in honor of Mary and Annie Goodrich, daughters of William Goodrich. As riverboat traffic decreased with the expansion of the Houston, East and West Texas Railway into Polk County, most of the population around Marianna moved to Livingston or Goodrich. The post office again closed in 1896. During the town's heyday most residents, including Alexander Hamilton Washington, had lived on the western bank of the Trinity in what later became San Jacinto County, since the land there was more suitable for farming.
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