Grimes County was created in 1846 from a portion of Montgomery County. The county was named for Jesse Grimes, one of Stephen F. Austin's Colonists, a Texas Declaration of Independence signer, and a State Senator. The county seat is the town of Anderson. The present court house was built in 1893. Four prior court houses had been destroyed; one by wind and three by fire. The first Grimes County Courthouse was constructed from cedar logs. Fire destroyed this structure in 1848 and in 1850 a ferocious wind destroyed the second courthouse. W. W. Arrington designed the third Courthouse and built it from stone in February 1850. This courthouse burned on May 15, 1890 and the fire of January 20, 1893 destroyed the fourth courthouse. The present courthouse was restored in 2002 with a grant from the Texas Historical Commission and is now a Registered Historic Landmark.
This area was inhabited by Indians as early as 5,000 B.C. One of the tribes was called the Bidai Indians. They traded with the French and the Spanish along with their allies the Lipan Apaches. During the 1600’s and 1700’s Spanish and French settlers began arriving in the area. Among those was the famous explorer Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieru de La Salle who was killed by his own men in 1687 near Navasota. By the early 1800’s only a handful of Indians remained in the territory. Anglo settlements began around the 1820’s with the founding of Stephen F. Austin’s colony.
Francis Holland, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was one of the first settlers in Grimes County arriving in 1822 with his own family, his brother William Holland and his family, and his sister Mrs. Mary (Holland) Peterson and her two sons. They settled on Ten Mile Creek (later called Holland Creek) in what is now Grimes County on property bought from Andrew Millican. Holland received title to his Grimes County league on August 10, 1824. Francis Holland was defeated by John P. Coles in the alcalde election in 1826 but was comisario in 1830 and represented Montgomery County (later Grimes County) in the Convention of 1833. Holland died in 1834. He is listed on a monument at the Grimes County Courthouse as a soldier in the revolutionary army, but in fact two of his sons, Francis and Tapley Holland were killed during the battle at the Alamo in 1836.
In 1833 Henry Fanthorp purchased the east quarter of Holland's league for twenty-five cents an acre and built a corn-storage building that served also as a dwelling and grain market. In 1834 he built a larger, dog-run house to live in. In order to take advantage of the stage lines, he enlarged this dwelling into a tavern known as the Fanthorp Inn. Mail was delivered here weekly, starting in 1835; the inn was thus the first post office in what was to be Grimes County.
In 1846 Grimes County was organized, and Henry Fanthorp offered land for the county seat. In the following election a site between Alto Mira and Randolph was chosen. It was named Anderson, in honor of Kenneth L. Anderson, last vice president of the Republic of Texas, who had recently died at the Fanthorp Inn. In time the community encompassed Alto Mira, Randolph, and the inn.
Grimes County History
Jesse Grimes Biography
Grimes County Genweb
Links for Online Research
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http://www.newspaperarchives.com (subscription required)
Grimes County Courthouse
100 Main Street
Anderson, Texas 77830
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