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Agriculture and Natural Resources
We appreciate your interest in the Washington County office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
Washington County has played a major role in the history of Texas. The county was established in 1836 from a Mexican municipality and named after George Washington. This county lies in the center of Stephen F. Austin?s first colony. The area was previously opened to settlement in 1821 under the Spanish and was one of the earliest, settled up, areas in Texas. Pioneers from all parts of the old union and immigrants from Western Europe flocked to Austin?s Colony and it?s liberal land grants.
The early city of Washington was started in 1821 and developed and flourished with the steamboat navigation of the Brazos River until the coming of the railroads in 1860-1880. Washington, the birthplace of the Republic of Texas, was the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836.
Brenham, the county seat, was established in 1844 and named for Richard Fox Brenham, a member of the Mier Expedition. The city was incorporated in 1858. It was occupied by Federal troops during the Civil War, who partially burned the city in 1867 following a confrontation with local citizens.
Among many other historical places is Washington-on-the-Brazos, the birthplace of Texas independence. The “Star of the Republic of Texas” museum is located in the park at Washington. Another historical site is Independence, where the remains of the first Baylor University stands. Sam Houston lived at Independence and his wife is buried there.
Washington County is principally an agricultural county, located in South Central Texas. It is also near the center of the most highly industrialized and populous portion of the state. Brenham, the County Seat of Washington County, is the County’s major market and transportation center. Brenham is located near the center of a triangle formed by three cities; Houston, (72 miles southeast), Waco, (114 miles north), and San Antonio, (186 miles southwest). Other towns in the County are Burton, Chappell Hill, and Washington.
The county includes an area of 621 square miles or 391,040 acres, which are rolling, partly timbered, and partly prairie. The eastern two-thirds of the county is in the Gulf Coast Plain and the remaining western one-third in the Post Oak geographic regions of Texas. The surface topography of the county is dominantly rolling to gently-rolling. In the eastern and northeastern section the upland gives way to the Brazos River bottoms, which vary in width from narrow strips to about four miles.