Robertson County TX

 

 

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Gale Gorman

 

The Brazos River 

Across the heart of Texas winds a river that has written its name deep in legend and history.  The Indians called it the Tokonohono.  The Frenchman LaSalle, who later died on its banks, named it the Maligne.  To the early Spanish explorers, who drank of its water after thirsty weeks at sea, it was el Rio de los Brazos de Dios - the River of the Arms of God.

Today we call this stream the Brazos River.  It stretches 1210 river miles from New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico, cutting Texas in half.  It drains a water shed 640 miles long, and covers 44,600 square miles in sixty-five counties.  In this watershed, a sixth of the state's area, live a sixth of the people of Texas. 

This is an eccentric river.  In flood stage it sweeps its precious water out to the Gulf, washing out crops and buildings on the bottom lands.  But mostly, between these rampages, the Brazos winds slowly down its flat valley, a river without too much water.

The Brazos basin has always been a victim of water feast or famine.  From 1891 to 1932 alone its flood waters killed 542 persons and destroyed property worth $54 millions.  Yet between its flood years there have been long stretches of drought, when farms along its banks turned brown under the sun and a boy could wade the stream.

As early as 1837, Sterling C. Robertson's colonists and other early settlers on the Brazos realized that they would remain victims of alternate flood and drought unless the river could be controlled.  But it took the great floods of 1913 and 1921, which destroyed all standing crops and much wealth from Waco to the Gulf, to fire the people to action.  The result, four years later, was the Conservation Amendment to the State Constitution.  Now, for the first time, there was a legal means by which people in an area could band to save themselves from the ravages of water or lack of it.

    It was on the banks of el Rio de los Brazos de Dios - the River of the Arms of God, the river that today we know as Big Brazos River, that Sterling C. Robertson's Colony was settled about four miles west of the present town of Hearne, Texas.  The cotton and other farm crops raised in the Brazos River Bottoms control the economy of Hearne today as it did in the days of long ago.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Page Modified: 24 May 2012

 


Copyright May 2012-present by Gale Gorman. This information may be used by individuals for their own personal use, libraries and genealogical societies. Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from Gale Gorman. If material is copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information and please email me and let me know. Neither the Site Coordinators nor the volunteers assume any responsibility for the information or material given by the contributors or for errors of fact or judgment in material that is published at this website.