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Bolivar, Texas

Bolivar, located on the east bank of the Brazos River at the northwest corner of Harris Reservoir, is in northwestern Brazoria County.

History

Bolivar was the site of the plantation of Henry Austin, first cousin of Stephen F. Austin. Soon after his arrival in the county in 1830 Austin established a cotton plantation on the Brazos River twenty-five miles south of San Felipe, named it Bolivar, and set up one of the first gins in the county. In 1837 he began promoting the community of Bolivar, which had already had a population of fifty by 1835. According to a contemporary account, "the land around Bolivar is the best in the colony; clothed with heavy timber, with peach and cane undergrowth to the distance of six miles from the river. The bank of the river in front of the town is a high bluff of stiff red clay. At Bolivar, the timber tract is five or six miles wide and the road to the prairie is walled in with tall cane filling all the space between the trees." A Bolivar post office was established by 1838 and discontinued by 1843. The town failed to develop after preliminary sales because of continued pressure for money. Plans to make Bolivar the western terminus of the proposed Galveston Bay and Brazos Railroad were never completed. In April 1839 Austin sold his plantation home for conversion to a public house, and the town was abandoned. Source: Handbook of Texas Online

Bolivar 1935. Bolivar is at the head of tide water on the Bra­zos, sixty miles from the river’s mouth by water and forty-five by land. It is an important point, as any vessel that can pass the bar can ascend to this place in the lowest stage of water, but not farther. The road via Bolivar to San Felipe is fifteen miles nearer than the road from Brazoria to San Felipe direct, and is much better. The distance from Bolivar to the navigable waters of Galveston bay, is but fifteen miles over a high, dry prairie, with the exception of six miles through timber land, where the road is good. The land in and about Bolivar is the best in the colony; clothed with heavy timber, with peach and cane undergrowth, to the distance of six miles from the river. The bank of the river in front of the town, is a high bluff of stiff red clay. About fifty acres are cleared and under cultivation.

Bolivar, though selected as an advantageous lo­cation for a commercial town, and laid off for that purpose before Brazoria, is as yet a town only in name. Its location, for purposes of trade as well as on account of the fertility of the adjacent country, has doubtless many advantages. But it was neglected for that which was regarded, upon the whole, as a more eligible position, on account of its easier access from the sea. At some future day however it will, in all probability, become one of the most flourishing emporiums in Texas. We are warranted in this belief by the fact, that it is, even now, the great point for the embarkation of cotton, from the rich plantations which every where surround it. There is not a wealthier or better settled district in the colony, than that which surrounds Bolivar, in the raising and sale of cotton, particularly. It possesses, likewise, all the other advantages, which one of the best posi­tions on a large and commercial river can bestow. - Texas by Holley, Mary Austin; Austin, Texas, 1935, pages 116-117