At the site of an Indian village called Montezuma, Columbus was settled in 1823 by members of the Stephen F. Austin Colony. The seat of Colorado County, the city bills itself as "The City of Live Oaks." An historical marker downtown identifies the trunk of one such landmark, under whose branches the first court of the Third Judicial District of the Republic of Texas convened in 1837.
Columbus is a treasure-trove of Victorian and turn-of-the-century homes. While most are private residences not open to the public except during the Live Oak Festival held the third weekend in May, drive-by views are rewarding. The United Daughters of the Confederacy Museum, once known as the Old Water Tower, and The Preston Kyle Shatto Wildlife Museum are interesting places to visit.
Benjamin Beeson, one of Stephen F. Austin's original 300 colonists, settled here in 1822. His residence and business operations and a scattering of homesteads formed a settlement known as Beeson's Crossing.
In the early spring of 1836, the settlers found themselves in the perilous position in between Sam Houston's Army, camped on the east bank of the Colorado River opposite Beeson's crossing, and the Mexican Army led by General Juaquin Ramirez Y Sesma, fast approaching from the west.
Houston had chosen this site to camp because of its strategic location at the edge of the most populous part of Texas.
With his 1500 troops in position, Houston is said to have declared, "on the Colorado I make my stand." Notwithstanding this bold declaration, Houston unexpectedly removed his Army to the Brazos River on March 26th. Beeson's Crossing was subsequently burned to the ground by a detachment of Houston's Army scarcely hours before the arrival of Sesma's Army. The settlers fled during what is now known as The Runaway Scrape. The Texas Army went on to defeat Santa Anna and the Mexican Army at San Jacinto in a decisive battle for Texas Independence.