The Fort Bend County Historical Commission has announced the winners of the Texas History Essay Contests for fourth- and seventh-grade Texas history students.

In cooperation with the Lamar Consolidated ISD and Wharton County Junior College history professor Dr. Paul Spellman, the County Historical Commission hosted the Essay Contest to help observe the 200th anniversary of the origin of Fort County Bend.

Relevant topics chosen were “Stephen F. Austin: Texas’ First Successful Entrepreneur” for fourth graders and “The Life and Times of the Old Three Hundred” for seventh graders. The essays were reviewed and the winners were selected by Dr. Spelman’s WCJC Texas history students.

The winning fourth-grade essay was submitted by Kathleen Davin of Bentley Elementary School. The seventh grade winning essay was submitted by Riya Patel of Briscoe Junior High School.

Each winner received $125 provided by the Friends of Fort Bend County Historical Commission, and Dr. Spellman presented each of their schools with a copy of his landmark book, “Old 300: Gone To Texas.”

The competition subjects introduced contestants to the time when efforts were underway to create settlements in what was then northern Mexico, including present-day Fort Bend County.

In 1822, an exploration party established a settlement in the great bend of the Brazos River where Richmond now stands. Workers erected Fort Bend, the first permanent structure on the site and from which the county takes its name.

In addition to featuring topics focused on the colonial era of Texas, the essay contest served to help fulfill the Fort Bend County Historical Commission’s statutory educational role of “striving to create an awareness and a county-wide appreciation of historic preservation, its benefits and uses”.

The leadership of the Commission expressed special appreciation to Dr. Spellman and his students as well as Lamar CISD’s Director of Social Studies, Kevin McCune, who both played crucial roles in the completion of the dissertation project. They also applauded the participating students, their teachers and campus administrators.

The County Historical Commission is an all-volunteer organization whose members are appointed by the Fort Bend County Court of Commissioners.

For more information about the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, the Essay Contest, or planning future activities to commemorate the founding of Fort Settlement, interested parties may contact:

Ferrel Bonner, Vice President:

Claire Rogers, Secretary:

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