History in a Pecan ShellLiberty
once stood at the head of navigation on the Trinity River. Founded near a 1756
Spanish settlement called Atascosito American squatters began arriving around
1818. The new arrivals petitioned to be included in Stephen F. Austin's colony,
but were refused. Under Mexican law, land commissioner José Francisco Madero established
a new municipality, Villa de la Santísima Trinidad de la Libertad which the Americans
shortened to Liberty, some say after Liberty, Mississippi, the former residence
of some settlers. The town was granted a post office in 1836.
practiced law in Liberty and maintained two plantation homes in Liberty County
until his death. During the Texas Revolution, Andrew Briscoe's Liberty Volunteers
fought at the siege of Bexar and the battle of Concepción. After San Jacinto,
officers of the Mexican army were held for a time in Liberty at a location now
known as Mexican Hill.
Liberty was incorporated in 1837 and became the
county seat. The town became an important port, having steamship connections to
Galveston and providing access to stage routes across the Trinity.
school was founded in 1838. The town cemetery was marked off in 1848. In the 1850s,
as the community expanded, additional industry developed around its gristmills,
cattle shipping docks, and two sawmills. The Texas and New Orleans Railroad reached
Liberty in 858. The railroad suspended operations during the Civil War, but resumed
operations by 1875. Liberty was hit by smallpox and yellow fever epidemics in
1866 and 1867.
By 1900 the town was a sleepy river community where livestock
roamed the streets legally. The towns proximity to the Batson-Old oilfield made
it a boomtown for awhile after 1903 and a second boost came in 1925 when the the
South Liberty oilfield was discovered. The Trinity Valley and Northern Railway
Company arrived in 1907.
Attempts were made to make the Trinity navigable
- and some 236 miles of waterway had been completed, linking barge traffic to
the Houston Ship Channel.
Liberty's population for various years:
200 in 1845, 497 by 1880, 865 in 1900, 3,087 in 1940, 4,161 in 1950, 5,591 in
1970, and 7,733 in 1990.
War II, a camp for German POWs was constructed at the Liberty fairgrounds.
Highway 146 was completed in 1950 and the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research
Center opened in 1977.
Hotels - Book Here
Texas Landmarks / Attractions
D. Humphreys Cultural Center - 936-336-8901|
1710 Sam Houston St., downtown
Museum, library and performing arts theater.Historical
Sites - Historical monument and markers identifying historic sites, old homes
and structures. Visit Liberty-Dayton Chamber of Commerce for information. 1801
Trinity St. 936-336-5736
Liberty Bell Tower
- adjacent to Cultural Center aboveLiberty
Opry on the Square - Live shows. 936-336-5830 Sam
Houston Regional Library & Research Center -
936-336-8821. Free admission.
FM1011 off Hwy 146. Three miles north of LibertyLiberty
Liberty-Dayton Chamber of Commerce - 936-336-5736
P.O. Box 1270, Liberty, Texas 77575
Opry on the Square in the former Park Theater|
TE Photo, 9-04-04
TE photo, 9-04-04
theater in Liberty, east side of the square|
TE Photo, 9-04-04
Moving History by Bob Bowman ("All
The recent death of Bill Daniel of Liberty
removed from East Texas one of its most colorful personalities, a bigger-than-life
rancher and politician who, according to one of his eulogists, "squeezed a lot
out of life."
...Bill Daniel is best remembered by some admirers for one of
the strangest events in East Texas--the move of an entire town from Liberty to
Waco, a distance of more than 200 miles, in October of 1986 during the Texas sesquicentennial
D’Asile by Clay
If a few Frenchmen and their allies could have had their way, Texas
might have become part of a new Napoleonic empire. Two of Napoleon’s generals
seem to have had this in mind when they founded a colony called Champ D’Asile
(Place of Asylum) at a site about three miles up the Trinity River near the present-day
town of Liberty... Liberty
treated POWs well in 1830s and 1940s
by Wanda Orton
the Germans in the 1940s and Mexicans in the 1830s, the people of Liberty treated
the prisoners humanely and with dignity...
Connection by Wanda Orton
While watching a TV history program about
Napoleon’s exile on St. Helena, I kept thinking about Liberty County...
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic
photos, please contact
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