Why Is The University Called Sul Ross?

Old map of Presidio/Brewster County areas

Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection Museum of the Big Bend

In January 1887, the largest county in Texas was Presidio County. When the Texas State Legislature met that year, there was strong lobbying to create a new county out of Presidio County. On February 2, 1887, Governor Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross signed a bill creating five new counties out of the original Presidio County: Presidio, Jeff Davis, Foley, Buchel and Brewster. This bill provided for the immediate organization of these counties, the selection of county seats and county officers. Buchel and Foley counties were not organized and were attached to Brewster County for judicial and administrative purposes.

The name of Brewster County was chosen in honor of Henry P. Brewster, secretary of war under David G. Burnet. Burnet served as the ad-interim President of the Republic of Texas from March 17 to October 22, 1836. By 1897, the counties of Buchel and Foley had still not organized and the Texas State Legislature then added them to Brewster County. This action made Brewster County the largest county in Texas. When Alpine was chosen to be the location of a Normal College in 1917, the citizens of Brewster County remembered how Governor Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross had helped establish their county and so named the college in his honor.