2000 Census - 5,105
Giddings Texas History:
Giddings is located on land that was once part of Stephen F. Austin’s land grant. After area land owner Dewitt Clinton Giddings was killed in the Battle of San Jacinto, his brother Jabez Deming Giddings came from Pennsylvania to claim the land. Jabez was instrumental in getting the Texas Central Railway to build a rail line through the area. The railroad began serving the Giddings area in 1871. William Marsh Rice headed a syndicate who owned the new townsite, established the Giddings post office, and sold land to settlers. Rice Institute, now Rice University, was named after William Rice. Later, Rice Institute controlled the land and sold the lots. Some of the earliest settlers were Wends (Lutherans) who also settled in Serbin, Texas. Many of these early settlers were farmers who raised cotton and other agricultural crops. In 1874, Giddings became the county seat of the newly established Lee County. The Schubert-Fletcher house was built in 1879 by August W. Schubert. In 1894, it was sold to the Lutheran Church to house Concordia Lutheran College. It now houses the Lee County Heritage Center museum. By 1890 this cotton center town has several cotton gins, an opera house, newspapers and approximately 1,000 residents. Giddings incorporated in 1913 and had a population of 2,000 by 1914. In the early 1980s oil was discovered and area experienced an oil boom. Giddings was home to almost 300 oil-related businesses, and many oil rigs were operating in the area. The oil boom lasted until late 1980s. Giddings is located at the intersection of U.S. 77 (Main Street) U.S.290 (Austin Street), FM 448 and FM 2440 (Manheim Road), 55 miles southeast of Austin, 34.5 miles southeast of Elgin, 35 miles south of Rockdale, 59 miles southwest of Navasota, 55 miles southwest of Bryan and College Station, 32 miles southwest of Caldwell, 40.5 miles southwest of Somerville, 34 miles west of Brenham, 17.7 miles northwest of Round Top, 35 miles northwest of Fayetteville, 20.5 miles northwest of La Grange, 7 miles northeast of Serbin, 26 miles northeast of Smithville, and 26 miles northeast of Bastrop, Texas.
Historic Giddings, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“(Giddings is the) county seat of Lee County. (Giddings was) named for Jabez D. Giddings (1814-78), of Washington County, one of four brothers from Pennsylvania who were Texas transportation pioneers and business leaders. The town was established as a shipping point when Houston & Texas Central Railroad (in which J. D. Giddings was a stockholder) reached here in 1871. A second and third railroad (San Antonio & Aransas Pass, 1889, and Hearne & Brazos Valley, 1913) increased city's prestige. Commission form government was adopted in 1913. A diversified economy developed.”
Historic William "Wild Bill" Longley (1851-1878):
Outlaw Longley killed his first man at age 15. Two years later he was caught by a group of vigilantes and lynched for the murder of a few other people. He survived because as the vigilantes rode away, one turned around and fired two shots at Longley. One hit him in the face, and the other cut the rope causing him to drop to the ground. Constantly on the run, he managed to kill more than 30 others before he was caught in Louisiana and returned to Giddings and tried for the 1875 murder of Wilson Anderson. He was found guilty and on October 11, 1878, he was hung in front of a crowd of thousands. He was buried outside the gates of the Giddings City Cemetery which is located west of town on U.S. 290.
Lee County Courthouse: 1897:
The courthouse was designed in Romanesque Revival style by famous courthouse architect J. Riely Gordon. It is built of red brick and is one of the most beautiful courthouses in Texas. It has been fully restored to its original architecture. This courthouse is a Texas Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 2010 Lee County census was 16,612. Open Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm. (979) 542-3178. 200 South Main Street.