Neches River Settlement
Beaumont, the county seat of Jefferson County, is in the northeast part of the county, at 30°05' north latitude, and 94°06' west longitude, on the west bank of the Neches River and Interstate Highway 10, eighty-five miles east of Houston and twenty-five air miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. With nearby Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the Gulf Coast. Beaumont developed around the farm of Noah and Nancy Tevis, who settled on the Neches in 1824. The small community that grew up around the farm was known as Tevis Bluff or Neches River Settlement. Together with the nearby community of Santa Anna, it became the townsite for Beaumont when, in 1835, Henry Millard and partners Joseph Pulsifer and Thomas B. Huling began planning a town on land purchased from the Tevises. The most credible account of how the town was named is that Millard gave it his wife's maiden name, Beaumont. At Millard's urging, the First Congress of the Republic of Texas made Beaumont the seat of the newly formed Jefferson County and granted it a charter in 1838. Under a second charter municipal government was organized in 1840, but it was soon abandoned. Another attempt at municipal government in 1860 was short-lived. Continuous municipal government dates from incorporation under a general statute in 1881. Beaumont was a small center for cattle raisers and farmers in its early years, and, with an active riverport by the late 1800s, it became an important lumber and rice-milling town. The Beaumont Rice Mill, founded in 1892, was the first commercial rice mill in Texas. Beaumont's lumber boom, which reached its peak in the late 1800s, was due in large part to the rebuilding and expansion of the railroads after the Civil War. By the early 1900s the city was served by the Southern Pacific, Kansas City Southern, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, and Missouri Pacific railroad systems. The population grew from 3,296 in 1890 to 9,427 in 1900.
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