The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 3, July 1899 - April, 1900

The Old Town of Huntsville.

THE OLD 'TOWN OF HUNTSVILLE.*
H-ARRY F. ESTILL.
In the history of the development of our institutions, towns have
always played an important part. The "tunes man," or towns-
man, of the forests of northern Germany, laid the foundation of that
capacity for self-government, which is a distinguishing characteristic
of the Anglo-Saxon race. The towns of old England have ever been
centers of English life and moulders of English character. In
American history, Boston and Philadelphia, Williamsburg and
Charleston, Chicago and New Orleans, represent essential and typi-
cal features of American life. 'To the student of the varied and
romantic history of our own State of Texas, the story of our older
towns possesses incalculable interest. San Antonio, Nacogdoches,
San Felipe, -Columbia, are names interwoven with the history of our
people. 'Though not dating its origin so far into the past as the
places just mentioned, yet Huntsville is properly classed among the
old towns -of 'Texas, in whose annals men and events are recorded
whose influence extended far beyond the limits of the town and
county.
In the year 1836, soon after the battle of San Jacinto, two
brothers, Pleasant and Ephraim Gray, came from the State of Ala-
bama to make their home in the new-born republic -of Texas. They
had previously secured from the Mexican government a head-right
league of land a few miles southwest of the Trinity river, in what
was then the municipality of Washington. iOn this tract they
pitched their camp, near a bold spring of pure water, a few yards
distant from the edge of a small prairie that lay like an oasis in
the vast forest around it. Attracted' by the beauty of the spot and
influenced by the fact that the spring was a favorite rendezvous
of the peaceful Indians of the neighborhood, the Grays decided to
establish here a trading post and build their home. Two cabins
*,Read at the Midwinter 'Meeting of the Association at Huntsville, Jan-
uary 9, 1900.

265

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 3, July 1899 - April, 1900. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101015/. Accessed July 30, 2015.