Texas | Gilliams of Virginia

The GILLIAMs of Texas
Updated March 24, 2016

The history of the state of Texas begins in 1519, when the first European explorers found the region was populated by various Native American tribes. During the period of 1519 to 1848, all or parts of Texas were claimed by six countries: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America—as well as the Confederate States of America in 1861-65.

The first European base was established until 1682, when René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle established a French colony, Fort Saint Louis, near Matagorda Bay. The colony was killed off after three years, but its presence motivated Spanish authorities to begin activity. Several missions were established in East Texas; they were abandoned in 1691. Twenty years later, concerned with the French presence in neighboring Louisiana, Spanish authorities again attempted to colonize Texas. Over the next 110 years, Spain established numerous villages, presidios, and missions in the province. A small number of Spanish settlers arrived, in addition to missionaries and soldiers. Spain signed agreements with colonizers from the United States. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Texas was part of the new nation. To encourage settlement, Mexican authorities allowed organized immigration from the United States, and by 1834, over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas, compared to only 7,800 Mexicans.

Angry at the government in Mexico City, Texans fought and won the Texas Revolution in 1835-36. Texas now became an independent nation, the Republic of Texas. Attracted by the rich cotton lands and ranch lands, tens of thousands of immigrants arrived from the U.S. (bringing slaves) and from Germany as well. In 1845, Texas joined the United States, becoming the 28th state.

For information on specific counties:

Fayette County, TX
Various records relating to Gilliams that settled in Fayette County, TX

Red River County, TX
Various records relating to Gilliams that settled in Red River County, TX

Smith County, TX
Various records relating to Gilliams that settled in Smith County, TX