Robertson County TX
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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
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
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.
Page Modified: 24 May 2012