There is no single person more misunderstood in the history of our community than our town founder, Pleasant Humble. Most people view Humble as some kind of wandering fisherman from England that set himself up as postmaster and justice of the peace, back before there were laws in this part of Harris County. This couldn't be further from the truth.
First of all, Humble wasn't English. His parents were married in Mississippi in 1827 but made their home in Louisiana. Humble was born in 1834 while they lived in Louisiana. When he was 17, he was living in Tyler, Texas. Humble eventually made his way back to Louisiana and worked as a clerk in a store owned by L. N. Markham, a plantation owner who operated a store and was also an active Baptist preacher. 
Humble and Markham's daughter, Jane Elizabeth, were soon attracted to one another. Markham didn't like this. He didn't think Humble was good enough for his daughter. So, Markham decided that his daughter would go to Shreveport, where she would attend a female academy. The day before her boat was to sail, she and Humble made a break for it. They eloped and got married in Caldwell County, La. on Oct. 1, 1860, and kept running.  The outraged Reverend Markham and his five sons rode in pursuit. 
Now, that story has been told over and over again. It's a romantic story … two lovers get together despite insurmountable odds. But, some important facts tend to get left out when people tell that story: No. 1: Humble was 25 years old at the time, while Jane Elizabeth was only 17 … so, you can understand the father being a little upset, and No. 2: She was six months pregnant when they eloped. Their son, William Smith Humble, was born in January 1861. Now we see why he was upset. Markham eventually forgave her. 
Humble served in the Confederate Army as a member of the Louisiana infantry in 1861 and later in Ragsdale's Battalion Texas Cavalry in 1864. By 1866, he and his family had moved to Texas and purchased land here in Harris County. In 1869, Humble purchased 100 acres near the San Jacinto River, where he operated a ferry across the San Jacinto River and ran a small grocery store. In late 1876, he helped create and served on the school board for Harris County School Community No. 13, the Durdin School Community, which was located near present-day Lee Road and FM 1960.
Most people don't realize that Humble was a politician and a very successful one. Harris County was not the “Wild, Wild West.” You couldn't just appoint yourself as postmaster or sheriff. Harris County had rules. In 1876, Humble was elected as a Harris County commissioner. That was a powerful position. The commissioners' court was responsible for making decisions for Harris County, including which roads were built, overseeing public education, and much more. After serving as a commissioner for two years, he went on to work as an attorney.
By February 1886, the local community of Lord was falling apart, and their U. S. post office was closed down. Humble took over responsibility for the local mail, most likely out of his store or home. In August 1886, he worked with the postmaster in Houston to apply for a new U. S. post office for the community. The name of the town that he listed on the application was "Humble, Texas." The word Humble was pronounced with a silent "H," because that was the way he pronounced his name. The application was granted and Humble was appointed the town's U. S. postmaster. He was later elected and served as the local justice of the peace for Harris County Precinct 4, serving from 1887 through 1895. 
His wife died in January 1906, and their son, William, also died later that same year. By 1910, Humble was becoming feeble and went to live with his sister in Hardin County. It is suspected that he died between 1910 and 1912. We have no way of knowing, because there are no more records of him after that time … no death certificate, no more census records, no tombstone … nothing. 
His son did not have any children, so there are no more descendants of Humble. But we, the townfolk of Humble, are the true descendants of the brilliant Civil War veteran.

Dr. Robert Meaux is a lifelong educator and local historian. Got questions or comments about Humble’s fascinating history? Email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location