The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

he Auddy Lrazos it early eras
NAN THOMPSON LEDBETTER
EL RiO DE LOS BRAZOS DE DIOS (the River of the Arms of
God) it was called; then, later, for brevity, merely the
Brazos. Draining a watershed 840 miles long, which covers
an estimated 41,700 square miles in sixty-five counties, the Brazos
is the longest river in Texas and the one with the greatest dis-
charge. It rises in three branches: the Double Mountain Fork,
the Clear Fork, and the Salt Fork. Stretching 1,21o river miles
from the New Mexico-Texas boundary area to the Gulf of Mexico,
the river cuts Texas in half and empties into the Gulf near the
town of Freeport. Other than the headwater streams, the impor-
tant tributaries are the Navasota, Yegua, Paluxy, Little Brazos,
Little, and Bosque rivers.
The Brazos has all the varied characteristics of a trans-state
stream, from the plains "draw" drainage, through canyons at the
breaks of the Staked Plains, the West Texas rolling plains, the
Grand Prairie hill region, to the meandering course through the
coastal plains.'
The Brazos is an eccentric river. In flood stage it sweeps its
precious water out to the Gulf, washing out crops and buildings
on the bottom lands; yet mostly, between these rampages, the
muddy Brazos winds slowly down its flat valley, a river without
much water.
The history of the Brazos basin has always been one of water
feast or famine. From 1891 to 1932 alone, its flood waters killed
542 persons and destroyed property worth $54,000,000. Between
flood years, then, would be stretches of drought, when farms along
'Handbook of Texas (2 vols.; Austin, 1952), I, 211; Facts for Agriculture, In-
dustry, Municipalities, Recreation-Seekers: An Extensive Program to Develop the
Water Resources of the Brazos River Valley, in the Heart of Texas (Publication
of the Brazos River Authority: Mineral Wells, Texas [1956]), 2. But for some six
hundred square miles of the Double Mountain Fork watershed, which lie in
Roosevelt, Curry, and Quay counties, New Mexico, the Brazos is completely a
Texas stream.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed October 1, 2014.