OLD RIVER-WINFREE, TEXAS. Old River-Winfree, formerly known as Winfree and also referred to as Old River Winfree's, is at the junction of Farm roads 565 and 1409, thirty-five miles east of Houston in northwestern Chambers County. It derived its name from the Old River, which cuts through the community, and an early pioneer land grantee in the area. Robert Wiseman was among the first settlers of the hamlet in 1827. One letter indicates that the "Town of Archer" existed here during the 1830s. The river provided the main source of nineteenth and early twentieth century transportation, and local farmers raised cattle, hogs, sheep, cotton, corn, and rice. A brickyard operated at Winfree during the 1870s, and the Old River Rice Irrigation Company served area farmers during the early 1900s. The community had a post office named Straddle from 1880 to 1881, and the Winfree post office operated from 1885 to 1919. A Winfree school was consolidated with the Barbers Hill district in 1929. The development of Mont Belvieu as a petrochemical complex and the location of industries in southwestern Chambers County during the 1960s and 1970s were factors that influenced community voters to incorporate the town as Old River-Winfree in 1979. In 1980 Old River-Winfree had a population of 1,058 and several businesses. The Texas Historical Commissionqv set up a marker to commemorate the Old River waterway in 1982. In 1992 the community had 1,233 residents. By 2000 the population was 1,364.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981).