There is a rich history in Fort Bend County that we can see every day as we drive down a street, or simply go to school. Fort Settlement, Hodge’s Bend, Sartartia, are names of Middle Schools in Fort Bend ISD. As I read through various histories of Fort Bend, these names keep popping up. Let me tell you a little about these three so the next time you see the school names you will have a thought about our history.
This land around us was all part of land grants chartered from the Mexican government to Stephen F. Austin to bring settlers and civilization into the region. At that time, the best mode of transportation was on water. The story goes that in 1822 the first group of settlers had mistaken the mouth of the Brazos River for the Colorado River, which is a bit west of here along the Gulf Coast. They were supposed to meet Austin on the Colorado River to plan a settlement. Up the Brazos after some days of exploration these folks found a clearing on a bend of the Brazos and began building. As the area around the Fort on the Bend accumulated population, the name associated with this collection of settlers was Fort Settlement.
Alexander Hodge was born in Pennsylvania in 1760. Before his 18th birthday he and his brother William moved to the Edgefield District of South Carolina where they served with one of my favorite American Revolution veterans, Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox”. After the war Alexander studied law, moved about to Georgia, Kentucky, and Arkansas. He met Stephen F. Austin and by 1824 Alexander Hodge and his family were moving to Texas. Austin granted one of the leagues of land he had reserved for himself by the Brazos River and Oyster Creek to Alexander Hodge. This plantation took on the name Hodge’s Bend and was a favorite stopping place for others we know from history, like William Travis, James Bonham, Erastus Smith. Today, Hodge’s Bend Cemetery still exists on part of the original land grant off Highway 6 and Voss, and contains some of the oldest graves in Texas.
West of Sugar Land along the road to Richmond, Littleberry Ambrose Ellis had acquired a few thousand acres to develop the Ellis Plantation. In 1883, in a partnership with Edward Cunningham, a new raw sugar mill was built on Ellis land about a mile west of the Cunningham mill near what is now Highway 6. They named this mill the “Imperial Mill”, a name that would endure in sugar history. The Ellis farmland south of the Railroad tracks and U.S. 90A, known as Clayton Farms, was renamed Sartartia after the name of one of his daughters. In later years the Sartartia Plantation was known as the best dairy farm in the county. This land has since become the housing development of New Territory.
Now when you see the name Fort Settlement, Hodge’s Bend, or Sartartia, think about the families of pioneers that made their way to this area and continued the foundation for what we have today.