The Brazos County area has been the site of human habitation for more than 12,000 years. Evidence of Paleo-Indian inhabitants in the area has turned up in the form of spear points, and the remains of a butchered mammoth have been found at the Duewall-Newberry Site on the Brazos River. Archaic hunters and gatherers in the future county lived on deer, bison, roots, and nuts. Within the historic period, Spanish explorers reported Bidai and Tonkawa Indians in the area, and there is evidence that groups related to the Apache and Comanche occasionally hunted buffalo as far east as Brazos County. Spanish travelers on the Old San Antonio Road passed along the northwest boundary of the future county, but there was no Spanish settlement in the area.
Several different native cultures became indigenous to the area that is now Texas. These cultures were broken up into a Southwest Culture, a Pre-horse Plains Culture, a Western Gulf Coast Culture, a Southeast Culture and the Attacapan. The local area of the Brazos Valley existed within the Western Gulf Coast Culture, which spoke the Coahuiltecan Language and very near the Attacapan who spoke Tunican. Culture boundaries were made up of tribal practice, methods of gathering or hunting food, spiritual deviation and language. Within each culture existed separate tribes. The Coca and Kohani exist on the Brazos River near the coast while the Emet and Cavas existed near the Guadalupe River. Northeast of the local area, within the Attacapan culture, existed the tribes of the Deacose, the Bidai and the Patiri. Along the coast to the Southeast within the Attacapan culture were the Akokisa and the Attacapa. Before any European influence these cultures of indigenous people were the only ones existing within the local area. These people primarily were hunter/gatherers and fishermen and very few adopted any sort of farming to supplement their diet.
It was not until 1716 that, again motivated by concerns of French encroachment, the Spanish government decided to attempt another push to eastern Texas. The Spanish reestablished Mission Tejas and founded three new missions. Although the hostilities between Spain and France forced the missionaries to evacuate eastern Texas between 1719 and 1721, they returned to the area under the escort of the Marquis de Aguayo. Aguayo reestablished the six missions and two presidios that protected the eastern province. Although the westernmost presidio and missions were abandoned after 20 years due to Indian conflict, Presidio de los Adaes and the remaining missions survived on the borderland frontier until the New Regulations ordered the abandonment of eastern Texas in 1773.
Although the Spanish would reoccupy eastern Texas by 1780, it would be on different terms. Rather that a state-supported, Church-sanctioned endeavor, the people who returned to Nacogdoches in 1779 did so because it was their home. The movement of Spanish influence in and out of East Texas was directly related to French and Indian activity and presence in the area. In 1718, the French founded the city of New Orleans, at the mouth ...