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Leon County History 1940

Leon County History Written in 1940

LEON COUNTY Long before the white man came with his "land-stealer" Leon County lay across the paths between the village Indians of East Texas and the buffalo hunting grounds, and no less than three Indian trails were clearly enough marked to appear on the white man's land maps. The Keechi trace crossed the northern part of the county; two others led across the central portion, roughly parallel to the present Centerville-Robbins Road, through a country replete with springs. All three are thought to have converged in the vicinity of Sycamore Crossing on the Navasota River, a few miles northwest of Marquez.

The most famous, and most important of the ancient trails, now forms a part of the boundary between Leon and Madison Counties—the King's Highway, or "The Old San Antonio Road." It follows a series of prairies from the Trinity to near the Colorado Leon and Rogers Prairies in Leon and Madison Counties, Cobb and Wheelock Prairies in Robertson and Brazos, Cole Prairie in Brazos, and "String Prairie" through Burleson and Lee Counties. There is some reason to believe that Moscoso's remnant of De Soto's army traversed it in 1542, that De Leon's entrada (1689-90) and St. Denis (1713) followed the same route through the open, park-like strip of country from river to river.

Aside from the short-lived Bucareli settlement (in Madison County) in 1774, there seems to have been no permanent white settlers along this section of King's Highway for 150 years after white men began to travel it. Numerous grants of land were made to Mexican citizens between 1831 and 1835, but so far as is known none of the grantees ever lived on their huge grants.

The Kickapoo and Keechi Indians had permanent encampments along the west bank of Trinity, the former on the seven  league grant of Ramon de la Garza, near what is now known as Kickapoo Shoals. The Keechis were expelled in 1835, by a detachment of Texas Rangers under Colonel Robert Coleman, who pursued them to the headwaters of the Trinity. The Kickapoos retained their village until 1839, when the Cordova rebellion brought on a battle in which the Texan army administered a defeat to Cordova's followers and his Indian allies.

The Indians were quick to profess their friendship for the white man, but quicker in blaming other Indian tribes for the depredations which were committed so frequently. These tribes were not always armed with bows and arrows only, but also with firearms that had been supplied by traders.

The danger of Indian attacks continued, and settlers were in constant fear of massacres. Indian incursions for the purpose of stealing cattle occurred now and then. In 1841 the son of Stephen Rogers was killed while swimming in a pool of water near his home. In the same year, Captain Greer who was commander of Fort Boggy, was attacked and killed while he and some companions were exploring the Upper Keechi Creek. As far as is known, Captain Greer and young Rogers are the only residents of Leon County who suffered death at the hands of Indian invaders.



31° 15' 28.656" N, 95° 58' 41.844" W