Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Site, Washington, Washington County, Texas- Part 1

Entrance sign

What is the importance of Washington on the Brazos? Well let’s tell this tale! In 1835 Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana became the President of Mexico and he voided the constitution of 1824. This angered the settlers of Texas which was still a Mexican territory. At San Felipe de Austin, the people held the “Consultation” in which they agreed to elect a representative from each municipality to discuss whether Texas should declare its independence from Mexico. All the large cities and towns either wanted to be paid for the allowance of the meeting or refused out of fear.

Entrance Road

At the time Washington was a very small and destitute town, really only a ferry crossing on the Brazos River along the La Bahia, a spur road off the Camino Real de los Tejas.

Washington invited the delegates to hold their meeting here. The only place in town big enough to hold the representatives was an unfinished store in which the window glass had not even been installed. It was a rainy cold day. So the delegates covered the windows with cloth to keep out the rain and let in the light.

At the time of the convention Washington had a dozen cabins and one hotel. But they managed to house and care for the delegation. As the delegates met the battle of the Alamo was raging and they received word of the loss of the entire garrison. A constitution was hammered out and Texas declared it’s independence and elected it’s first formal government officials. Sam Houston left to collect an army and reports of Mexican troops nearby caused the residents and delegates to flee the town in what is known as “the Runaway Scrape”.

inside the meeting hall

One might think that Washington was named for Washington D C or the President. But it wasn’t. It was named Washington because most of the residents had come west from Washington Georgia, so they named their new town the same.

The Mexican Army never came to Washington as they were in pursuit of Houston and his Army. What caused the demise of Washington was first, the railroad bypassed it and the ferry was no longer needed so the people started to leave, then in 1912 a fire destroyed whatever was left of the town.

All that is left of the original town of Washington Texas

The only sign that the town ever existed is the brick cistern from the hotel.

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