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County
San Augustine
Region
Pineywoods
Population
2010 Census - 2,108
2000 Census - 2,475
Nearby
Towns
San Augustine, Texas
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San Augustine Texas History:
The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Ais tribe of the Hasinai Indians who settled on the Ayish Bayou. The first European visitors were probably members of the early 1540s Moscoso Expedition, a part of Hernando De Soto’s expedition to explore the southeastern United States. 150 years later French traders visited the Indians. In 1691, the Spaniards returned and cut a path later called the Old San Antonio Road. The Old San Antonio Road is also called the El Camino Real (road) de los Tejas, and the Kings Highway. In 1717, Spaniard Father Antonio Márgil de Jesús who established the Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Ais Mission near the Ais village on Ayish Bayou which runs through current day San Augustine. The mission was abandoned in 1719 due to the threat of a French invasion, and was reestablished on the site of current day San Augustine by the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo in 1721. Settlers called this area the Ayish Bayou District. Before 1800, Antonio Leal and his wife, Gertrudis de los Santos settled in the district and built a small house with corrals to accommodate the wild mustangs gathered by Leal and Philip Nolan for sale in Louisiana. Leal sold the property in 1800 to Pedro Buigas, who in turn sold it the following year to Edmund Quirk. In 1827, the Ayish Bayou residents elected municipal authorities even though the district was not recognized by the Mexican government. Residents fled when Mexican forces advanced during Fredonian Rebellion that beganthat year. They participated in the Battle of Nacogdoches, and they sent representatives to the Convention of 1832. San Augustine resident Sam Houston was one of the town’s delegates at the Convention of 1833. In 1832, residents under the leadership of William McFarland constructed a permanent settlement on the banks of the Ayish Bayou. They purchased townsite land from Edmund Quirk for ninety dollars. Thomas McFarland platted the town in grid fashion, creating forty-eight city blocks with forty feet wide streets. Squares were reserved for the school, churches, municipal buildings, a market and the jail. The following year when the town had over 2,500 residents, the municipality of San Augustine was established under Mexican law. Residents participated in the Texas Revolution. Houston was elected commander of the San Augustine forces, and later became leader of all the Texas forces. Citizens abandoned the town during the Runaway Scrape, and returned after the Battle of San Jacinto. San Augustine was elected the San Augustine County seat under the Republic of Texas. The town incorporated in 1837. Protestant churches, stores, a saloon, hotels, schools, a newspaper and other businesses were established. The Kendricks post office opened in 1847, and was renamed San Augustine in 1848. During the Republic of Texas era, the customs house collected duties on imports from the United States. By 1860, San Augustine was a shipping center for cotton. The Civil War interrupted the cotton business. After the Civil War, the town’s economy never reached its pre-war potential. In 1884, there were only 600 residents. The economy was based on cotton gins, a gristmill and two small sawmills. An 1890 fire destroyed most of the town; it rebuilt. In 1901 the Gulf, Beaumont and Great Northern Railway extended its tracks to San Augustine, opening the area to logging. The Santa Fe Railroad purchased the line to town in 1903. By 1910 the town had 1,200 residents. By the end of the Great Depression the timberland had been depleted and the sawmills closed. Today San Augustine is a popular tourist site and is known as the “Cradle of Texas. San Augustine is located on the Ayish Bayou on the western edge of the Sabine National Forest, at the junction of U.S. 96, SH 21, SH 147 and FM 3230, 45 miles northeast of Lufkin, 35 miles southeast of Nacogdoches, 48 miles southeast of Carthage, 20 miles southeast of Center, 36 miles southwest of Joaquin, 46 miles northwest of Jasper, 24 miles northwest of Pineland the Moore Plantation WMA, 19 miles northwest of Milam and the Toledo Bend Reservoir, 26.8 miles northeast of Etoile, and 19.5 miles northeast of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Broaddus, Texas.
 
San Augustine Civic and Tourism Center:
The chamber is located in a log cabin. The tourism center is located nearby. A bridge and boardwalk connects the chamber building with the Santa Fe Park and Nature Trail. An old Santa Fe caboose is located at the end of the boardwalk. Much of the debris from the Columbia Space Shuttle accident fell in San Augustine County. A monument dedicated to the seven astronauts who lost their lives is located in front the chamber building. San Augustine has over 65 Texas Historical Markers. Information and walking and driving tour maps are available from the visitor center.This center is open Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm; closed noon to 1pm for lunch. (936) 275-3610. 611 West Columbia Street. Email 
 
Historic McMahan's Chapel:
In 1831, Samuel Doak McMahan moved his family from Tennessee and settled approximately 11 miles south of San Augustine. In 1832, Rev. James P. Stevenson, a representative of the Mississippi conference of the Methodist Church, was posted to Natchitoches, Louisiana, across the Sabine River from Texas, and a few miles from McMahan’s farm. At this time, Texas was under the governance of Mexico and protestant services were forbidden in Texas. In 1833, McMahan and a group of Texans invited Stevenson to preach a sermon in Texas, and assured him of their protection. Stevenson agreed and held a two-day meeting in a private home near the site of present Milam. McMahan asked Stevenson to hold additional services at his farm. Stevenson did so and returned several more times during the year. In September of that year, the group formed a “religious society” which was technically not a church. The society had 48 members, and McMahan served as the "class leader." James Stephenson’s successor, Rev. Henry Stephenson, recognized the society in McMahan’s home, which became known as McMahan’s Chapel. In 1838, the Mississippi Conference created the Texas Mission District with Rev. Littleton Fowler as leader. Fowler lived near McMahan’s home and helped build a log church. In 1956, a small brick church was constructed. McMahan, Fowler and other early pioneers of Texas Methodism are buried in the church cemetery. From Milam take SH 21 west 9.8 miles to Spur 35 (McMahan's Chapel Road). Turn Left on Spur 35 and go 2 miles to the cemetery and Chapel on the Left. The chapel is located 12 miles northwest of Milam and approximately 12 miles southeast of San Augustine, Texas.  
 
San Augustine County Courthouse, 1927:
The county’s third courthouse was designed Shirley Simons in Classical revival style and built of limestone and concrete. A bronze statue of J. Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas, is located on the courthouse lawn. The 2010 Augustine County census was 8,865. (936) 275-2762. 100 West Columbia Street.
 
San Augustine County Old Jail, 1884:
The jail was built of local native clay brick. The first floor walls are 17 inches thick. The second floor walls are 13 inches thick. The 106 year old metal roof has never leaked. The ground floor housed the sheriff and justice of the peace offices. The building is visible from the public alley off Montgomery Street. 
 
San Augustine Historical Records Research Center:
The San Augustine County Historical Foundation was established in the early 1960s to preserve the history of the county. Their preserved records date back to the 1830s. The records are computerized and are available for public use. (936) 275-0989. 106 Courthouse Drive.

Old Town Well, 1860, Stripling Drug Store, 1904:

The well was dug in 1860 as a community water source. The 27 foot deep well is lined with circular brick. In 1891, when residents had their own wells, a saloon owner purchased the well and built a frame saloon building over it. The owner kept the beer cool by putting it in sacks and lowering them into the well. After saloons were voted out in 1902, a soft drink bottling company purchased the building and well. In 1917, the First National Bank purchased the property. They tore down the frame building, filled in the well, and erected a bank building on the site. When the bank closed a few years later, Mr. Stripling, who established his drug store across the street from the well in 1904, purchased the building and operated his drugstore from the site for over 70 years. In later years, Mr. Stripling cut a hole in the floor over the old well site and hired men to restore the well to its previous function. The store houses many of its original furnishings and fixtures. In 2003, the San Augustine County Historical Foundation purchased the building to house their gift shop. The building is located at 107 Columbia Street, two doors down from the Angus Theatre. (936) 275-0989.
 
Angus Theatre & Museum, 1920s:
This building was constructed by E.H. Blount. It originally housed three businesses. The Angus Theatre operated in the building from 1927 to 1972. The building was renovated in the 1990s and currently houses the San Augustine County Historical Society. It is located on the downtown square at 110 East Columbia Street. The Foundation is working to restore the Lewis Railroad Hotel for use as an African American museum. During the 1920s, it was the only place in town where African Americans could spend the night.
 
Ezekiel Cullen House:
This house was built in 1839 by noted architect Augustus Phelps. It eventually became the home of Judge Ezekiel Cullen, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas, and a member of the 3rd Congress. The house contains a collection of paintings by the renowned portrait artist, S. Seymour Thomas, a native of San Augustine. Antiques and historical furnishings are on display in the home. The home now houses the Ezekiel Cullen Chapter, DRT. The house is open for tours February through mid-December, Thu-Sat, 1pm-4pm, and by special appointment. Email    
San Augustine Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. It also lends audio books and video movies; a research aid person is available in the genealogical section of the library. Open Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm; Sat, 9am-2pm; closed Sunday. (936) 275-5049. 413 E. Columbia Street.
 
San Augustine Farmer's Market:
This seasonal market is open on Saturdays, May through August on the south side of the downtown square. (936) 275-3610.
 
Annual Events:
San Augustine hosts several annual events including the annual Spring Crafts Fair, the annual Tour of Medallion (historical) homes, a Christmas Parade, the Miss Merry Christmas Pageant, and the El Camino Christmas Festival.
 
Annual Sassafras Festival, Last Friday & Saturday in Oct:
Activities include a 5K run, 1950s dance, arts & crafts and food vendors, an antique and classic car show, a BBQ cook-off, a wheelchair race, a historical reenactment, and children’s activities. (936) 275-3610. This event is held at the downtown courthouse square at Broadway and Main Streets.
 
Mary Kay's Country Diner
They serve good breakfast foods, chicken fried steak and other menu items. (936) 275-0121. The restaurant is located at 806 North El Camino Crossing. Reviews
 
Mission Dolores (1717) Visitor Center & RV Park:
The Mission Nuestra Senora de los Delores de los Ais was first established in 1717 along the Ayish Bayou, west of the current visitor center site. The former mission site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a State Archeological Landmark. The San Augustine County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center features an interactive and interpretive display, and artifacts from the old Spanish mission. The 17 acre RV park amenities include 32 RV sites with full hookups, restrooms and showers, picnic areas, group pavilions, and walking trails. The pay station is monitored daily by the Chamber of Commerce. (936) 275-3815. The park and visitor center are located 701 S. Broadway, San Augustine, TX 75972.