Jackson County (Edna)
Architect: F. Perry Johnston.
Year Built: 1954.
The Jackson County Courthouse is located in Edna, Texas. The courthouse is designed in the modern architectural style. It sits on an expansive lot that is surrounded by mature oak trees. There are many monuments on the grounds, including one that memorializes the death of Irwin Moore Laughter, who (according to the marker) was killed at Mazatlan Mexico “while fighting valiantly against Mexicans.”
Excerpts from the TSHA Handbook:
- Jackson County, on U.S. Highway 59 in the Coastal Prairies region southwest of Houston, borders both Lavaca Bay and Carancahua Bay. Jackson County comprises 844 square miles.
- One of the original counties of Texas, Jackson County was formed in 1836 from the old Mexican municipality of Jackson.
- Both the municipality and the county were named after President Andrew Jackson and were settled predominantly by American colonists.
- Karankawa Indians were the earliest occupants of the future county. Camping along a narrow strip of land along Matagorda Bay, they subsisted on a combination of hunting, gathering, and fishing.
- In 1528 Europeans made the first contact with Texas Indians when remnants of Pánfilo de Narváez‘s calamitous expedition washed ashore on an island they named Malhado. Local Indians held Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and a few other survivors in bondage for nearly six years. During his period of Indian captivity, Cabeza de Vaca probably spent some time in what is now Jackson County.
- In 1684 René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, explored the area and established a settlement called Fort St. Louis, which some claim, probably wrongly, was in the future Jackson County.
- Six of Stephen F. Austin‘s Old Three Hundred families settled in the future county. So many of the early colonists came from Alabama that for a time the municipality became known as the “Alabama Settlement.” During the early 1830s the area was also inhabited by Lipan Apache and Tonkawa Indians. Although they made no attacks upon the settlers, the Indians made numerous night raids to steal crucial supplies. In 1832 the thefts became so serious that the local militia mounted an offensive against the local Indians that culminated in a skirmish on Sandy Creek.
- The old Alabama Settlement continued to grow during the period of the Republic of Texas. In 1836 the municipality was organized into Jackson County.
- As national events brought about the unraveling of the Union, a strong majority of Jackson County voters stood with the South; the county voted 147 to 77 for secession. In all, more than 100 Jackson County soldiers served in Confederate gray.
- Although Jackson County was spared a great deal of the violence that much of Texas suffered during Reconstruction, the county nonetheless suffered an extended period of lawlessness. Violence and crime became widespread, and law-abiding travelers soon learned to avoid the lightly settled range country.