In the late 1800s, Arthur Stillwell, owner of the Port Arthur Townsite Company, constructed a railroad from Kansas City to Lake Sabine and gave many of the towns along the way Dutch names because of financial backing in Holland. It was his hope that Nederland become a transplanted Dutch settlement. While many Dutch did settle here, people also came from other parts of Texas and the United States. On December 24, 1897, Robert Gilham, civil engineer, filed a certificate describing the finished survey for the Nederland townsite. Rice farming, truck farming, and dairy farming played an important role in the settlement. But growth began in earnest with discovery of the Spindletop Oil Field, just seven miles north, in 1901.