EAST FORK OF THE SAN JACINTO RIVER
EAST FORK OF THE SAN JACINTO RIVER. The East Fork of the San Jacinto River rises near Dodge in extreme eastern Walker County (at 30°45' N, 95°24' W) and flows southeast for sixty-nine miles through western San Jacinto, northwestern Liberty, and southeastern Montgomery counties to northeastern Harris County, where it joins the West Fork of the San Jacinto River in Lake Houston (at 30°03' N, 95°08' W). Its upper course is in Sam Houston National Forest. The river traverses gently rolling to nearly level terrain surfaced by sandy, loamy, and clayey soils. Loblolly pine, sweet gum, shortleaf pine, water oak, elm, pecan, willow oak, black gum, post oak, and black hickory trees mantle the riverbanks. Tributaries of the fork include Mill, McCombs, Johnson, Negro, Sand, and Miller creeks.
The San Jacinto River formed the eastern boundary of Stephen F. Austin's colony. Settlement on the lower East Fork began in the mid-1820s and on the upper course in the mid-1830s. In 1844 Sam Houston constructed a plantation home known as Raven Hill on the east bank of the upper river in San Jacinto County. Coldspring, originally called Coonskin, was founded on the east bank of the river's middle course in the late 1840s and became the seat of San Jacinto County in 1870. After the Civil War, Dodge was established near the headwaters of the East Fork in Walker County. In 1880 Cleveland, on the east bank of the lower river in Liberty County, was founded as a station on a new line of the Houston, East and West Texas Railway; Cleveland soon became a lumber-shipping center. Williams and Plum Grove are long-established communities on the west bank of the river's lower course in Liberty County. The San Jacinto County communities of Laurel Hill, Spring Hill, and Magnolia are situated on the west bank of the middle course of the river; New Hope is on the east bank. East River lies on the west bank of the lower river in Harris County; River Terrace is on the east bank near the mouth. Limited flow in the East Fork renders it significantly narrower and shallower than the West Fork and restrict its recreational uses.
An Analysis of Texas Waterways (Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 1974). Gene Kirkley, A Guide to Texas Rivers and Streams (Houston: Lone Star, 1983). Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin: Pemberton, 1974).