And I like it there. Blankets of snow on traditional scenes of landscapes, houses, and buildings are wonderful to see. They bring back memories of my youth when I lived for a while in such a place. Here in our semi-tropical location is where my life is now and I thoroughly enjoy being able to have outdoor activities through the winter. Snow is for the young to enjoy. I can only imagine what drudgery it would be having to deal with snow and ice when you must dig out and venture into it, sliding to work to make your living. Makes me extra glad to live here. There is an occasional time when we have had snow, but typically that taste of winter has been short-lived and our weather gets back to normal.
There have been a few winters in this region that were not so pleasant and made a formative impact on the community in the area. The winter of 1821-1822 was particularly harsh. Records tell us that it was so cold that Galveston Bay partially froze over. That’s mighty cold. Jane Wilkinson Long is one of the people who influenced Fort Bend County life in the early years. Her presence here is likely a result of that winter along with other factors. She was holding on to her residence at Morgan’s Point, on Galveston Bay, in that winter of 1821, waiting for the return of her husband. Nearly starved, she was able to survive on frozen fish that would accumulate just under the ice on the surface of the Bay. Following news in the Spring of the death of her husband, she left Morgan’s Point. In 1824, Jane received title to land grants in Fort Bend and Waller Counties. In 1837, at age 39, Jane Long moved to her land in Fort Bend County where she became part of the fabric of life, established a rooming house and small plantation on the Brazos River about where the new County Justice Center is located. She lived her remaining years in Fort Bend County until her death in 1880.
Another winter that made an impact on Fort Bend County was in 1894-1895. This one ties in to Missouri City history. In 1890, two real estate investors from Houston, R. M. Cash and L. E. Luckle, purchased land directly on the route of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway to Stafford’s Point. They advertised heavily in the St. Louis, Missouri, area to prospect for people to move to this “land of genial sunshine and eternal summer”. In 1893, W. R. McElroy purchased 80 acres in the vicinity and named it “Missouri City” to promote the area jointly with Cash and Luckle. And people did move here from Missouri. But then a blizzard arrived on February 14, 1895, dumping 24 inches of snow. This land of sunshine turned out to be just as harsh in the winter as the place these folks had left, and many abandoned this dream and returned to Missouri as a result.
One more I will mention, a harsh winter in 1900 destroyed most of the sugarcane crops. Many of the local farmers stopped producing sugar in favor of other crops. The Sugar Land refinery began to import raw sugar from offshore for processing. This was a significant change for business and the future of Fort Bend County.
Thankful that we don’t have regular icy snowy winters to deal with, there are still some recurring pleasant reminders of winter’s arrival here. One of my favorites is the sound and sight of geese formations traveling overhead on their escape from the wintry north. And we love our refreshing cool weather fronts that break the summer heat, giving us generally pleasant weather for months until the heat returns in June. There are numerous events around Fort Bend County that initiate our winter season leading up to Christmas to help with our spirit. Unfortunately they are mostly done by now, having been scheduled early in December. One of the places in our community that does continue with events during the season is Sugar Land Town Square. Check out their schedule and remember, ’tis the season to be jolly, gather with friends and family to share the joy and love for one another, and give some thoughts to those who came before us.