Bailey's Prairie is on State Highway 35 and Farm Road 521 between Angleton and West Columbia in southwest Brazoria County. The town was named for James Britton Bailey, a veteran of the War of 1812 who came to the area in 1818 with his wife and six children to occupy 4,587 acres of rich, flat land granted by the Spanish government. Stephen F. Austin disputed Bailey's right but ultimately recognized his claim, and Bailey took new title to the land on July 7, 1824, thereby becoming one of the Old Three Hundred. The town grew up around Bailey's plantation and the league of land granted by the Mexican government to M. S. Munson. Settlers established large sugar plantations, and some plantation owners also ran cattle. A local Methodist church was organized in 1839 by Rev. Jesse Hord. By 1936 the community had a church, a cemetery, scattered dwellings, and Bailey's Prairie oilfield nearby, but most of the surrounding land remained part of several large family ranches. Bailey's Prairie had a population of 228 in 1972, 410 in 1988, and 634 in 1990. In 2000 the population grew to 694.