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Industry sets growth pace, identity for county
Brazoria County's historical significance is often overshadowed by its industrial development. But the county has one of the richest pasts in the state.
It was here that Stephen F. Austin brought colonists from New Orleans to settle along the Brazos River in the 1820s. And Sam Houston took his oath of office as president of the new Republic of Texas in 1836 in Columbia, now West Columbia. Columbia served as the seat of government for the republic, and a replica of the capitol stands in West Columbia.
Later, plantations that produced cotton and sugar cane flourished until Reconstruction, when the county's history entered a dismal post-war period.
The county remained as agricultural and fishing community, with the first commercial shipping operations using the port in 1890.
In 1901, Spindletop oilfield wildcatter Captain F.A. Lucas drilled for oil in the Freeport area and came up with sulphur. Test wells in 1910 through 1912 led to the start of the Freeport Sulphur Co.'s mining …