Sugar Mill Is The Oldest
Sam Houston was in his second term as president of the Republic of Texas. The Indians had become relatively quiet. Only minor skirmishes were developing with Mexico, and Texans were beginning to settle down to the job of building a life and economy for their fledgling nation.
The year was 1843. Along the banks of Oyster Creek about 20 miles southwest of the little town of Houston, hands on the S. M. Williams plantation were excited. They were going to start making sugar.
If General Santa Anna had "zigged instead of zagged" during his destructive march through southern Texas in 1836, the story of Imperial Sugar Company and Sugar Land might have been told in one line and only in the history books. The Mexican general marched through the territory and destroyed the William Stafford sugar mill, leaving the Williams' mill untouched. The Stafford mill was never rebuilt.
So it was, in 1843, that Texas's first sugar mill was established and began operation.
During the Civil War, the production of sugar declined, and most of the mills became badly run down.
Samuel May Williams died in the early 1850's.
The Oldest Business
The oldest known photograph of the refinery at Sugar Land was taken in the 1890's. Historians think it was 1894. At that time Sugar Land had a rooming house and a general store but not much more.