Cottonwood is a small rural community located near the junction of Farm roads 974 and 2038 about twelve miles northeast of Bryan in northern Brazos County. The settlement began in the late 1850s when pioneer J. W. Bickham came to the headwaters of Wickson Creek. The area was named after a large stand of cottonwood trees. By 1860 the Cottonwood Baptist Church had been built. Three cotton gins—the Bickham gin, Gallatin gin, and Kieffer gin—operated from about the 1860s to the 1880s. A store, constructed by J. W. Bickham, was also built. Cottonwood Cemetery was established sometime in the late 1800s, and the earliest marked grave dates to 1887. Residents built a new Baptist church in 1910, and the structure was also used for a school. The school still operated in the 1930s. By the late twentieth century the cemetery and church remained, but no population estimates were available.