OYSTER CREEK (FORT BEND COUNTY)
OYSTER CREEK (Fort Bend County). Oyster Creek rises (at 29°39' N, 95°46' W) just north of Richmond in north central Fort Bend County and runs southeast through Brazoria County for about fifty-two miles before reaching its mouth (at 28°58' N, 95°16' W) on the Gulf of Mexico. The stream is intermittent in its upper reaches. Some believe that in 1528 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was blown ashore at the mouth of Oyster Creek. At that time, and until they were driven out by Anglo and Tejano settlers in the 1820s, Karankawa Indians inhabited the banks of the stream. The fertile soil along Oyster Creek attracted many of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred families. There they established thriving plantations. Small boats navigated the waterway, stopping at plantation landings to take aboard cotton and sugarcane. Because the soil along the creek was so suited to farming, in the 1880s the state bought much of the area for use as prison farms. In 1989 the state prison system maintained four of these facilities-Jester, Central (in Fort Bend County), Ramsey, and Retrieve (in Brazoria County). Oyster shells, which give the creek its name, are common along its banks. During the 1950s mining these shells became a local industry. Tons were shipped annually for use in road construction and for making such products as buttons. The vegetation along the creek consists mostly of water-tolerant hardwoods and conifers, as well as a variety of prairie grasses. The area is flat with local shallow depressions and is surfaced by expansive clays. In the 1990s the upper reaches of the stream above Sugar Land were used as a water canal. Water was pumped from the Brazos River into the channel and then removed just southeast of Sugar Land, where it was pumped into aboveground canals and used for agricultural and industrial purposes.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article."OYSTER CREEK (FORT BEND COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rbo37), accessed May 19, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.