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Stephen F. Austin State University

Jasper County

Jasper County, situated in the forests of southeast Texas. The county seat is Jasper. The county's namesake is in honor of William Jasper, a soldier killed in Savannah, Georgia during the American Revolution in 1779. The county formed through the Convention of 1836, which took land from neighboring counties and formed Jasper County the same year. Atakapa and Caddo Indians inhabited the territory until 1836, when the county officially formed. The first occasion of European migration was in 1542, with Spanish and French explorations coming into the area in the mid-1700s.

In 1829, the first Anglo to live in the area was John R. Bevil who received a land grant and established Bevilport. Indian Creek provided a means of river transport that helped establish river commerce, in addition to the production of corn, rice, and tobacco. In 1852, Jasper County began exporting lumber from Ford's Bluff via sawmills and the Angelina River.

Jasper County voted for secession from the Union and contributed several brigades of soldiers for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The county experienced relative calm after the war and in the 1870s and 1880s population increased moderately because of the increase of available land and the production of cotton. From 1890 through the 1910s, the county incorporated cattle production and railroads, which stabilized the economy and allowed for more shipping. The economy experienced a shock during the Great Depression and eventually recovered in the 1940s and 1950s using timber and logging, and oil.

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Text: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcj03 Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association.

To learn more about Jasper County's history check out our Local Voices' writer Melvin Johnson's column "A View from the Pines: Jasper, TX" on our Local Voices page.