Artifacts from as far as 10,000 B.C. reveal several Indian tribes used to inhabit Lavaca County. But by 1850, disease, fighting and migration had wiped out the populations. Meanwhile, Frenchman René Robert Cavelier landed on the coast and named the Lavaca River “Les Veches” – or “the cattle” – because of the amount of buffalo in the area. When Spanish settlers came more than 100 years later, the name translated to “La Baca.”
Empresario grants attracted others to the area, and in 1846, it was renamed Lavaca County, with about 140 taxpayers. Over the next few decades, the population grew to include nearly 6,000 people, who were mostly involved in cotton farming and cattle ranching. After the Civil War, an influx of immigrants – mostly German and Czech – moved to Lavaca County. Their European influence remains in the county, as does the area’s contribution to cattle, hog and poultry industries and its steady harvesting of hay, milo and corn.
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