La Bahia

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Promotion: Nearby Map of Washington County

Washington-on-the-Brazos, officially named Washington, in the upper northeastern corner of what is now Washington County, was a major political and commercial center in early Texas. The town was originally named Washington and began to be called Washington-on-the-Brazos or Old Washington only after the Civil War. Washington was one mile southwest of the junction of the Brazos and Navasota rivers, where the La Bahía Road crossed the Brazos River, seventy miles northwest of Houston and nearly 200 miles up the Brazos from the coast. The major part of the original townsite is at the intersection of Farm Road 912 and Park Road 12 within Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Site. Washington's historic townsite also includes the section of Washington that borders Washington-on-the-Brazos at the intersection of State Highway 105 and Farm Road 1155. In 1821 Andrew Robinson's family and other members of the Old Three Hundred settled near the future townsite. By 1822 Robinson was operating a ferry at the La Bahía crossing; in 1824 he obtained a grant of a half league from the Mexican government. A settlement named La Bahía developed at the much-traveled ferry crossing. In 1831 Robinson gave one-quarter league to his daughter Patsy and son-in-law John W. Hall. Recognizing the site's commercial potential, Hall surveyed and laid out a town in December 1833, when Methodist leader John W. Kenney built its first residence. After Captain Hall bought the remainder of Robinson's grant, he established the Washington Town Company in 1835 with Dr. Asa Hoxey, Thomas Gay, and the Miller and Somervell Company to promote sales of town lots. Hoxey, a former resident of Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia, named the new town after his hometown.

By 1835 Washington had become a supply point. Attracted by its location on the river and on or near major roads, merchants and tradesmen from neighboring communities settled in the new town. Washington's commercial growth resulted from provisioning emigrants to the interior and from the surrounding area's increasing agricultural development and population. The town was elevated on bluffs above the river and had a plentiful water supply from nearby springs; its location was therefore more healthful and less flood-prone than that of settlements at the river's edge. In December 1835 Washington became Gen. Sam Houston's headquarters and the concentration point for Texas army volunteers and supplies. By 1836 the residents numbered approximately 100. To stimulate further growth, Washington businessmen offered an assembly hall without charge to attract the Convention of 1836 to their town. These town promoters rented the only structure large enough for deliberations, an unfinished building, from entrepreneur Noah T. Byars. Although the town had an inn, most delegates could not find lodging. At Washington between March 1 and March 17, 1836, delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, wrote the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, and established the ad interim government. To escape Antonio López de Santa Anna's army, the Texas government and the inhabitants of Washington evacuated the town.

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Carole E. Christian | © 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

La Bahia is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists

No

Place type

La Bahia is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [2]
  • (Washington)

Has Post Office

No

Is Incorporated

No