‘A Shining Example of All That’s Great’

By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The oldest county in the Lone Star State celebrated its 181st birthday Tuesday, June 12, and the milestone was an event that Trent Ashby of the Texas House of Representatives looked forward to.

“Texans are proud of their rich heritage, and nowhere is that more evident than in Houston County,” Rep. Ashby said Friday afternoon. “As the first county established under the Republic of Texas, Houston County and its citizens played a lead role in shaping what our beloved state has become.”

Houston County and those who call it home, Ashby said, serve today as “a shining example of all that’s great about Texas.

“It’s a real honor to represent Texas’s oldest county in the Texas Legislature,” Rep. Ashby continued. “I’m proud to join with all of its citizens as we celebrate this special occasion.”

As a lifelong Houston County resident, County Judge Jim Lovell pointed out, the county possesses a rich historical background, evidence of which can be seen in many locations.

“At Mission Tejas State Park, visitors can walk the El Camino Real and travel the same trail as Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Davy Crockett,” he said. “Houston County has an abundance of beautiful outdoors, rich history and the friendliest people anywhere.

“I can tell you that Houston County is the best place to be,” Judge Lovell continued. “I am blessed that this is my home.”

According to the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), Houston County was given its name in honor of President Sam Houston, who signed the order establishing the county on June 12, 1837.

At the time it was formed, Houston County encompassed the land that later became Anderson and Trinity counties. Andrew E. Gossett donated land for the county seat, naming it after David Crockett, who was a friend and former neighbor of his father’s in Tennessee. According to the TSHA, the city was officially established in December of 1839.

The TSHA lists the county’s first elected officials as Chief Justice Collin Aldrich, County Surveyor George Aldrich, Sheriff James Madden and District Court Clerk Stephen White.

Popular legend maintains that the very gentleman for whom the county seat was named camped in in the area – near the El Camino Real – during his journey to the Alamo in 1836.