Sugar Land is on Oyster Creek and U.S. Highway 90A, east of the Brazos River and seven miles northeast of Richmond in northeastern Fort Bend County. The area was originally granted to Samuel M. Williams in 1828 for his service as secretary to Stephen F. Austin. Nathaniel F. Williams purchased the land from his brother in 1838, and there he and a third brother, Matthew R. Williams, operated Oakland Plantation, which grew cotton, corn, and sugarcane. The Williams brothers established their raw-sugar mill in 1843. In 1853 Oakland Plantation was purchased by Benjamin F. Terry and William J. Kyle, who were instrumental in extending the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway through the property. A post office was established in Sugar Land in 1858. After the deaths of Terry in 1861 and Kyle in 1864 the plantation began to languish. The post office was closed in 1886. E. H. Cunningham of San Antonio accumulated more than 12,000 acres of the property over time and invested more than $1 million in a sugar refinery, a new raw-sugar mill, a paper mill, and the fourteen-mile Sugar Land Railroad in the 1890s. Sugar Land was one of the rail stations. In 1890 a second post office opened. At that time much of the labor force was leased from the nearby state prison farms. The inmates worked in the wet sugarcane fields, many falling victim to the periodic epidemics of fevers. The brutal working conditions caused bitter convicts to call Sugar Land the "Hell hole on the Brazos."
At a Glance
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Sugar Land by the Numbers
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|129,423||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|78,817||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|63,328||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|33,712||1990||Texas Demographic Center|
|8,826||1980||Texas Demographic Center|
|3,318||1970||Texas Demographic Center|
|2,802||1960||Texas Demographic Center|
|2,285||1950||Texas Demographic Center|