This city was originally known as Highlands, probably for its location near Highland Creek. It was renamed in the 1890s when residents learned of another mainland community of the same name. Madam St. Ambrose, postmistress, chose the name, which means "the mark" in French. During the Civil War, the town was known as Buttermilk Station after the soldiers' practice of purchasing buttermilk there on the trip between Galveston and Houston. In 1867, the town had six families and its residents raised cattle or grew rice. By 1914, four railroads reached the community—the International and Great Northern; the Galveston, Houston and Henderson; the Missouri, Kansas and Texas; and the Interurban.
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