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Ask 2: How did Alief get its name?

Mail at an old post office (KPRC 2)

At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

The question: How did Alief get its name?

Most of the Lone Star State’s cities and communities sport names with pretty obvious origins (e.g., Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Lubbock, Sugar Land, The Woodlands). Not Alief. The Bayou City burb bears the name of an unlikely figure: The community’s first settler and postmistress, Alief Ozelda Magee.

In 1893, a man named Francis I. Meston purchased 1,250 acres of land near Brays Bayou with hopes of developing a townsite there. In 1894, Harris County recognized the land and it was surveyed.The surveyors dubbed the swath of land Dairy, TX, a name that wouldn’t stick for long. That year, the town gained its first settlers: Dr. John S. Magee and his wife, Alief Ozelda Magee, who moved to Dairy from Ellis County. More settlers followed and the town grew.

In 1895, Alief Ozelda Magee began operating the little community’s first post office out of her home. To honor the postmistress and avoid some confusion with another Texas town named Daisy, the U.S. postal service dubbed the town Alief.

The town officially renamed itself Alief in 1917. Houston annexed much of the Texas farm town in the 1970s.

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