Brazoria was established in 1828, when John Austin laid out the town on land granted by Stephen F. Austin. Austin chose the name "for the single reason that I know of none like it in the world." Six Masons met in March 1835 under a giant oak in the town, the "Masonic Oak," to organize what was reportedly the first Masonic lodge in Texas. Brazoria was virtually deserted in the Runaway Scrape. H. M. Shaw opened a school at the community in April 1838. A post office was established there in 1846, and by 1884 Brazoria was described as a "stirring village" of 800. It had several steam cotton gins and grist and sugar mills, twelve general stores, three hotels, five churches, and "excellent schools." Area farmers shipped crops on the river. By 1890 Brazoria had 900 residents and was the county seat of Brazoria County. By 1892 the Velasco World, a weekly newspaper, had been established there, and by 1914, the Banner. After the railroad bypassed Brazoria, it began to decline as its neighbor, Angleton, grew. Angleton became county seat in 1897. The local school at Brazoria had three teachers and an enrollment of 142 in 1906. The population was 633 in 1904 and 1,050 in 1929. By 1939 the discovery of oil and a sulfur field nearby and the building of a traffic bridge began to revive the town. Its population reached 1,291 by 1962 and 3,025 by 1987, when Brazoria had some fifty businesses. The Clemens Unit, a prison where inmates raise livestock and crops, is on 8,116 acres of land just south of the townsite. Each October Brazoria hosts a Bluegrass and Gospel Fall Festival, and its old town area is of historic interest. In 1990 the community reported a population of 2,717. In 2000 the population was 2,787. Source: Handbook of Texas Online.
Brazoria 1935. Brazoria is thirty miles from the mouth of the Brazos by the meanders of the river, and fifteen by land. It is not located in a prairie, where nothing was to be done to prepare the foundation of the rising city, but to mark off its lines with compass and chain; but upon a wooded elevation of peach land, as it is called. This spot was chosen as the most commanding and healthful, be sides combining other advantages. It has therefore to dispute empire with the lords of the forest. One street stretches along the banks of the Brazos, and there is one parallel with it further back, while other streets are laid out to intersect these at right angles.
In 1831, Brazoria gave promise of being a large and populous town. From several causes, however, it has not fulfilled the expectations of its sanguine inhabitants. In 1833, that scourge, the cholera, took off some of its most enterprising population, and since that time other towns have sprung up to direct the channel of trade. Columbia, one mile and a half back from Bell’s landing was made the seat of the new courts, thereby drawing off the lawyers and others from Brazoria. It was found however to be a bad arrangement, and they are now returned to their first location. A regular mail route is established between it and San Felipe, once a week.
Brazoria, besides being well situated, will always be important as the first stopping place for emigrants. To them it is no inconvenience that vacant houses can sometimes be obtained. Here may be found those necessaries which the newly arrived, and those wishing to penetrate into the interior, have need of. Such persons having heard of Brazoria as a considerable place, will feel disappointment at the sight of it. It contained, in 1831, fifty families, and now, 1836, it has not many more, though it numbers more houses. Nor have any of the then existing towns in Texas increased much. Most people, mechanics and all, choose to settle on their own estates, or are attracted by some boasted advantage to some new settlement. It is however looking up; business is increasing, and its favorable situation, being easy of access and convenient to the sea, combined with other advantages, will inevitably render it one of the most important towns in Texas. - Texas by Holley, Mary Austin; Austin, Texas, 1935, pages 110-111