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BRIGGS, TX

BRIGGS, TEXAS. Briggs is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 183 and Farm Road 2657 in northeastern Burnet County. The site is part of the Aaron F. Boyce survey patented to Boyce's heirs on September 30, 1850. The Boyce land is on the headwaters of Berry Creek, where a number of permanent springs provided constant water. Settlers first called the area Springs, then Gum Springs. The land on which Briggs stands was purchased by Stephen Taylor from W. T. (Bill) Gann, who came to Texas from Missouri in 1855. Taylor arrived from Tennessee around 1880. Between 1870 and 1890 many new settlers arrived from Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Alabama, and other states to establish homes and farms in this blackland section of Burnet County. Taylor built a cotton gin and sold it in 1882; he then erected the first general store in the area that became known as Taylors Gin.

In 1888 a petition was circulated among the citizens and sent to Washington, D.C., requesting a post office for Taylor's Gin; the request was granted on March 27, 1888. William Hazelwood, a physician who set up practice in the community, passed a petition to get the name changed to Briggs, in honor of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Henry D. Briggs. The community was renamed on June 21, 1898. By 1900 a site had been platted into lots and blocks, land had been donated for a new school, and the population had reached 100. Businesses thrived, cotton was king, and two gins operated in Briggs; the town had doctors, a drugstore, and two general stores. Telephones and electricity came in the early 1900s. A bank was chartered in 1909. From 1906 to 1928 business prospered. On April 12, 1906, a tornado demolished the school. A new building was built, and in 1915 a high school was organized. The population reached about 300 in the 1920s.

In 1928 devastating fires took their toll of homes and businesses, most of which were never rebuilt. The Great Depression brought on a farming decline; the remaining gin and businesses closed. With the arrival of U.S. Highway 183 many citizens began commuting to shop and to work in nearby communities, including Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Camp Hood (now Fort Hood). Briggs's population reached its height of 520, served by twenty business, in 1936. The population subsequently fluctuated between 250 and 300 until the late 1960s, when it declined to ninety-six. In 1969 the Briggs school was consolidated with the Burnet district. In the late 1980s Briggs had two churches, a post office, two service stations, and scattered residences. The population was ninety-two in 1990 and in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Estelle Bryson

Citation

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

Estelle Bryson, "BRIGGS, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnb77), accessed February 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.