FRIENDS IN FRIENDSWOOD
Fig orchards, Satsuma orange orchards, and rice fields once flourished where Friendswood homes now stand.
The last vestiges of them and the homes that the Quakers constructed are nearly gone, but the legacy left by those founders and early settlers remains. That legacy is the heritage of a way of life that did more to shape the character of the community than any brick and mortar buildings ever could.
In the spring of 1895, a Quaker named Frank Jacob Brown, who had been an adventuresome buffalo hunter, and a Quaker named Thomas Hadley Lewis, who was a college-educated man, felt directed to this area of the Gulf Coast to establish a community dedicated to God.
Starting Quaker colonies was a common practice of the religious sect called Quakers or Friends, as they were part of the westward movement across the nation in the middle-to-late 1800s. (The terms Quaker and Friends are synonymous and used interchangeably.)
When Brown and Lewis came upon this area in northern Galveston County, they found 1,538 acres of prairie, well-drained by Clear Creek, Coward’s Creek, Mary’s Creek and Chigger Creek, and beautifully framed with the dense woods along the creeks. Feeling this surely was their Promised Land,” they negotiated with the owner, Galveston banker J.C. League, for a deed of trust, and on July 15, 1895, they recorded the name of the colony at the Court House in Galveston. They named it Friendswood.