BROWNWOOD, TEXAS. Brownwood is on Pecan Bayou at the intersection of U.S. highways 67, 84, and 377, Farm Road 2524, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in south central Brown County. The city and the county are named for Henry Stevenson Brown.
The area was settled by farmers and cattle ranchers like Welcome W. Chandlerqv and J. H. Fowler. When the sparsely populated county was organized in 1857, the hamlet of Brownwood was chosen as county seat. A post office was opened in the town the following year. The town was originally located on the east side of Pecan Bayou, but in the late 1860s a land-title dispute and problems with an inadequate water supply induced the residents to move to a sixty-acre site on the west side of the bayou donated by Greenleaf Fisk.
Because Brownwood lay on a feeder line of the Western Trail, stores and saloons served the needs of the cowboys who drove the herds through town. A cotton gin was built in town in 1877 as the state of Texas began to offer the land to farmers. The 1880s and 1890s were decades of dramatic growth for the community, as the population increased from 725 in 1880 to 2,176 in 1890 and 3,965 in 1900. The town became a center of the Farmers' Alliance with the building of the West Texas District Alliance Cotton Yard and the establishment of an alliance paper, the weekly Freemans Journal
In 1884, when Brownwood incorporated, the town had two banks, nine general stores, five saloons, two hotels, and steam cotton and grist mills. The following year the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad built through Brownwood, and in 1886 the town built its first waterworks.
A second railroad, the Fort Worth and Rio Grande, built through
Brownwood in 1891. A third railroad, the Brownwood North and South,
was built in 1912 to connect Brownwood with the Brown County community
of May, but the short-lived railroad lost money and was abandoned
Text from the Handbook of Texas Online