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STAFFORD, TX

STAFFORD, TEXAS. Stafford is on Farm Road 1092 and the boundary between Fort Bend and Harris counties, just north of the junction of U.S. highways 90A and 59. In 1830 William Stafford installed a cane mill and opened a horse-powered cotton gin, reported to have been the first in Stephen F. Austin's colony. Antonio López de Santa Anna and a detachment of his army halted at Stafford's plantation on April 15, 1836, during the march to Harrisburg. The famished Mexican troops feasted on Stafford's corn, sheep, and hogs. Before they departed Santa Anna ordered the plantation's buildings burned. After the Texas Revolution Stafford rebuilt the plantation and lived there until his death in 1840. Paschal Pavolo Borden was a resident of the settlement called Stafford Point that grew up around the plantation, but no genuine townsite developed until August 1853, when it became a stop on the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway. The event was celebrated by a barbecue at which Francis Richard Lubbock was one of the many speakers. The Galveston News reported in September 1853 that the train would run between Harrisburg and Stafford's Point each Wednesday and Saturday; on August 11, 1855, the Texas Sun reported a daily run between Harrisburg and Stafford Point. By December 1855 the line had been extended to Richmond, which replaced Stafford as the terminus. The evolution of the community's various names may be traced through its post offices. Stafford's Point had a post office from 1854 to 1869. Staffordville had a short-lived post office from January 5 until February 26, 1869. Thereafter, the settlement, now known as Stafford, maintained a post office from 1869 to 1918; the facility reopened in 1929 and has remained in continuous operation under that name. In 1884 Stafford had two general stores, one grocer, and a population of fifty; by 1896 it had a corn mill and gin, a physician, two grocers, two general stores, a hotel, a lawyer, a livestock raiser, a saloon, and a population of 300. By 1914 the population had dropped to 100 and the businesses to a general store, a blacksmith, and a telephone connection. In 1931 an estimated 320 residents and eight businesses were registered. In 1946 the population had risen to 400 and the businesses to nine. Stafford incorporated in 1956. By 1961 the town had a population of 1,485 and twenty-two businesses. It had 5,582 residents and 197 businesses by 1980 and 8,397 inhabitants in 1990. Stafford schools were a part of the Fort Bend Independent School District until 1977. That year residents voted to form the Stafford Municipal School District, the only municipal school district in the state. Efforts were made to block this action, but in 1981, following several rounds of federal litigation, the courts declared the Stafford Municipal School District to be constitutional. The rapid growth of Stafford since the 1960s may be partly attributed to expansion in Houston. By the 1980s the town was a suburb, and many Stafford residents commuted to jobs in the city. In 2000 the community had 1,923 businesses and 15,681 inhabitants.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Pedro Delgado, Mexican Account of the Battle of San Jacinto (Austin: Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, 1878; rpt., Deer Park, Texas: Day, 1919). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).

Stephen L. Hardin

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Stephen L. Hardin, "STAFFORD, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgs15), accessed December 27, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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