Gonzales listed among 10 oldest towns in Texas


Gonzales is a diverse, unique and historical city, that hometown citizens rightly are proud to call home. Many may be unaware that the city is actually among the oldest cities in Texas. In a recent story online, the city was named as No. 9 on the Top 10 oldest cities in the state.

The city of Gonzales predates Texas, which was admitted to the United States of America in 1845, as the twenty-eighth state coming into the Union. The history of Texas goes all the way back to the 16th century with the Lone Star State being one of the most historically rich states. The beginning of history in the Lone Star State ranges from the first European settlers in 1528 and on through the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

Gonzales, of course, has its own history of spearheading the Texas battle cry for independence, of which it is proud. There was also, and remains, a rich cultural Native American tribal history in the state.

Other Texas cities on the list include:

• Georgetown, which though having human inhabitants as early as 11,500 BC, did not become the city of Georgetown until 1840. The town land was provided by George Washington Glasscock, who was honored, in turn, by the naming of the town. Georgetown is known for clean, pure water, and Southwestern University, which is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the state, deriving from charters dating back to 1840.

• Gonzales, ninth on the list, was established in 1825 with the colorful and interesting history of being the birthplace of the “Come and Take It” flag during the war for independence between Mexico and Texas. After being given, and asked to return, a cannon from the Mexican army, the residents of Gonzales did not surrender it. Instead, they recruited 140 Texans, forming a militia.

To show their rebellion, intent and refusal to back down, they created a custom flag: a cannon drawing with “Come and Take It” scrawled below. In that showdown of wills, Gonzales residents became the first victors in what would become the Texas Revolution.

• Port Isabel, established in the 1770s as a small seaside community, was first a US Army fort, becoming a town after the Revolutionary War. A lighthouse in the small community would become center stage and play a role in the Civil War when the Confederacy sought to blind the Union troops by extinguishing the light that was intended to guide them through the water to land.

• Goliad, established in 1749, was named after Father Miguel Hidalgo, a key player in the War of Independence, with the name being an anagram of the patriotic priest’s name, with the silent H removed. The most significant event occurring in this town historically was the Goliad massacre, when the Mexican army slaughtered prisoners of war from the Army of the Republic of Texas, with the numbers estimated at nearly 400 men killed during the event.

• Many things lend to the intrigue of Austin, from world famous brisket to the Texas state capitol, as well as being one of the oldest communities in Texas history, founded in 1730. Austin likes to consider itself the “weird” small town, but is actually a large city now, although when first founded, it was originally the home to the first Spanish mission, constructed in 1730.

Austin became settled and established by Europeans in the 1830s. The village of Waterloo, established in 1837, was selected as the capital in 1839, with the name changing to Austin (named for Stephen F. Austin) after that time. As the state capital, Austin saw swift expansion, becoming an officially designated city by the 1880s.

• San Antonio is one of the better-known cities in Texas, with the Riverwalk and an active tourist industry. While being among the most populous cities in the United States, San Antonio is also one of the oldest in Texas, having been established in 1718. Originally a Spanish mission, the city transformed into a metropolitan city; the city is, of course, known for the Mission San Antonio de Valero, commonly known as the Alamo Mission.

• San Augustine, located near Nacogdoches, was established in 1717 and is home to a Spanish mission that has become a museum: the Mission Dolores state historic site. Constructed in 1721, the Spanish mission-turned-museum highlights the ongoing relationships between the Native Americans and some of the very earliest immigrants to the state of Texas.

• Nacogdoches, settled in 1716, is often referred to as the oldest town in Texas; however, according to available data, there are older settlements, with this being heavily contested by residents who claim the city goes back for more than 10,000 years, dating back to the Caddo Indians.

Although Nacogdoches frequently claims to be the oldest town in Texas, European settlers did not arrive there until the Spanish established a mission in the region in 1716. Either way, this town holds a firm grip on Texas history.

• Ysleta claims to be the very oldest settlement in Texas, though records indicate it was established 150 years after the oldest settlement on this list. Established in 1680 and now a part of El Paso, the village claims its ancestral history as being the long-term refugee camp for Native Americans, and not just a stop along the trail.

• In 1535, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, traveling from Spain, brought the first Europeans to the town that is now known as Presidio, settling the first European colonies in the region, and now, the oldest known town in Texas. It is noteworthy, however, that the municipality lists the founding date claim as 1683 — three years after Ysleta’s founding date.