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In 1821 Andrew Millican took up residence along Holland Creek west of what is now Anderson. By the end of 1824 seven of Austin's original colonists (the so-called Old Three Hundred) had claimed land within what is now Grimes County. Early residents included the families of Francis Holland, Isaac Jackson, James Whiteside, Jesse Grimes, Caleb Wallace, Jared E. Groce, and Anthony Kennard.
In 1822 Jared E. Groce moved from Alabama with some ninety slaves and settled on the Brazos River near what is now Hempstead. There he planted what may have been one of the first cotton crops in the Austin colony. Soon he began cultivating the staple on a three-league tract in what is now southwestern Grimes County, where perhaps as early as 1825 he constructed what may have been the first cotton gin in Texas.
On April 6, 1846, the first state legislature accepted the petition of local residents and established Grimes County, named in honor of Jesse Grimes, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence who was then representing the area in the state Senate. A vigorously contested election later in the year resulted in the designation of Anderson-recently platted in the center of the county-as the seat of government. In 1853 Madison County was carved out of northern Grimes County, which assumed its present boundaries in 1873, when Waller County was formed from territory in its southern extremity.
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