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SEALY, TEXAS. Sealy is a market and manufacturing center at the junction of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads, on State Highway 36 and Interstate 10 four miles southwest of San Felipe in southeastern Austin County. Anglo-American settlement in the vicinity began in the early 1820s, when San Felipe de Austin, soon to become the capital of Stephen F. Austin's colony, was founded on the west bank of the Brazos River a few miles to the northeast. In 1875 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe line purchased three leagues of land from the San Felipe de Austin Town Corporation and began surveying a townsite south of Bullinger's Creek along the projected line of its new Galveston-Brenham spur. When the railroad reached the site not long thereafter, railroad yards and a roundhouse were constructed, and the settlement became a shipping center for the produce of local farmers and ranchers. In 1880 a post office was established in the community, which was named in honor of George Sealy, a director of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas extended a spur through the town in 1895, and the Cane Belt Railroad completed a third road six years later. Around 1900 the town experienced a series of misfortunes, including a disastrous Brazos River flood in 1899, the relocation of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe division headquarters to Bellville in January of the next year, and the devastating hurricane of 1900, which struck in September. The establishment, however, of such manufacturing enterprises as the Sealy Mattress Factory, the Engleking Brothers Broom Factory, and the Sealy National Bank helped to build the commercial reputation of the growing community. In 1918 there were 200 pupils enrolled in the Sealy School. In 1931 the town had an estimated 2,000 residents and ninety businesses. Its population declined to an estimated 1,850 in 1943, but began to rise steadily thereafter, reaching an estimated 2,328 in 1961 and an estimated 3,875 by 1982. By the early 1980s the town had ten churches, several manufacturing concerns, four motels, three schools, a hospital, a public library, a livestock auction center, and a weekly newspaper, the Sealy News. In the early 1990s Sealy had an estimated 4,794 residents and 113 rated businesses. The population reached 5,248 in 2000.
John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Burleson County Historical Society, Astride the Old San Antonio Road: A History of Burleson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). Sallie Glasscock, Dreams of an Empire: The Story of Stephen Fuller Austin and His Colony in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1951). Ruby Grote Ratliff, A History of Austin County, Texas, in the World War (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1931). S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Charles Christopher Jackson, "SEALY, TX," accessed April 19, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgs06.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 25, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.