SAN ANGELO, Texas — For some Tom Green is simply a county in Texas however its origin has deep roots in Texas history and it began with a man called Thomas Green.

What we know of today as Tom Green County makes up only a small fraction of the size of the county during its conception by the state legislature on March 13, 1874, which covered an area of over 60,000 square miles and included land that now makes up 66 Texas counties. In 1885 Midland County was created and by 1887 settlers began petitioning for new counties officially creating Crane, Loving, Upton, Ward, Winkler, Coke and Irion Counties by the end of 1889. Sterling and Ector made their way in 1891 with Glasscock and Reagan coming in last by 1903.

Tom Green County present day versus 1874
Thomas Green, CC TSHA

Today Tom Green County spans 1,540.5 square miles in west-central Texas and was named after Thomas Green, a Confederate Brigadier General. Green was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on June 8, 1814, eventually moving to Tennessee in 1817 where he inevitably received a degree from the University of Tennessee in 1834. He used his education to study law until the Texas Revolution began when he enrolled in military service becoming a part of Isaac Morelands company, which operated the Twin Sister cannons in the Battle of San Jacinto. Shortly after Green was commissioned as a Lieutenant and then to Major but resigned to continue studying law.

The Twin Sisters cannons today, CC Jeff Hunt Director at the Texas Military Forces Museum 

He made a mark on Texas soil in 1837 upon being granted land in reward for his service in the Army and became county surveyor at La Grange, Fayette County. When the United States went to war with Mexico, Green commanded a company of Texas Rangers in La Grange as part of the First Texas Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.

Grave of Thomas Green. Courtesy of Geoff Walden and TSHA

By 1861 Green was elected colonel of the Fifth Texas Volunteer Cavalry, leading a Confederate victory at the Battle of Valverde during the invasion of New Mexico and by May of 1863 Green had become a Brigadier General. His success continued until April 12, 1864, when he was fatally wounded leading an attack on federal gunboats patrolling the Red River at Blair’s Landing. His grave can be found at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas buried in a family plot.