Texas History, Genealogy, Old Photos, Postcards, Maps, and Information.
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Waco, Texas

Waco is in central McLennan County about seventy miles south of Dallas near the confluence of the Brazos and Bosque rivers.

History

On March 1, 1849, George B. Erath laid out the first block of the new town and divided it into numbered lots that were sold for five dollars each, with "farming lots" selling for two to three dollars each. The property owners had earlier chosen Lamartine as the name of the new town, but Erath was successful in persuading them to call it Waco Village. When McLennan County was organized in 1850, Waco Village was selected as the county seat after Jacob De Cordova and his partners in the Waco townsite donated free lots in the town for public purposes. The first courthouse was built later that year. De Cordova induced a number of important citizens to move to the new townsite, including Capt Shapley P. Ross, a ranger and Indian fighter, who established and operated a ferry across the Brazos. Ross also owned the town's first hotel and served as its first postmaster, frequently carrying the letters around inside his beaver hat. By 1852 the town had Methodist and Baptist churches, and in 1854, when the town was growing rapidly, George Lambdin began publishing the Waco Era, the town's first newspaper. In 1856 Waco Village was incorporated as the town of Waco, and a new county courthouse was built that year. The town continued to grow ascotton culture spread along the Brazos, and by 1859 there were 749 people living there. Read Waco History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>

Photos

Waco Postcards and Photographs >>

Resources

Waco-McLennan County Library

Location

Waco, TX 31° 32' 57.5988" N, 97° 8' 48.012" W