Just before the Civil War, a wandering fisherman named P.S. (Pleasant) Humble brought his family into the area. They settled on the banks of the San Jacinto River and operated a ferry near the present U.S. 59 crossing. A flood drove his family away from the river in search of higher ground. Soon a small community began forming in the area.
A pioneer oil boom town. Originated as crossroads community named for settler Pleasant Smith Humble (1835?-1912), who lived here before 1889, hewing his timber into railroad ties, mining gravel from his land, keeping store, and serving as justice of the peace. Neighbors included the Bender, Durdin, Isaacks, Lee, Slaughter, and Williams families.
Economic bases were farms and sawmills. The post office opened 1902. In 1904 C. E. Barrett (1866-1926) drilled for oil in this area, securing small production on Moonshine Hill. On Jan. 7, 1905, he brought in the No. 2 Beaty Well which yielded 8,500 barrels a day, opening the great boom. From a village of 700, Humble grew at once into a town of 20,000. Field production– the largest in Texas for the year 1905– was 15,594,923 barrels of oil. The field was named for the town. A group of its operators, including Ross S. Sterling, later (1931-33) governor of Texas, in 1911 incorporated a new oil company named for the field, The Humble Oil Company, thus spreading into the annals of world commerce the town’s name. Production from several strata here exceeded the total for fabulous Spindletop by 1946. Known as the greatest salt dome field, Humble still produces and the town for which it was named continued to thrive.
The Humble Oil Company’s name was changed to Exxon two decades ago. The opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport was a major local growth catalyst on the late 1960’s. Located less than five miles from Humble, this event stimulated development throughout Houston’s north side. Soon, subdivision development was initiated nearby. The resultant growth started a transformation of the City of Humble and the surrounding rural homestead areas. Kingwood, Forest Cove, Northshire, Atascocita, Eagle Springs, Summerwood, The Commons of Lake Houston just to name a few.
Along with the rapidly increasing growth of population came the need for more stores and services. Much of the retail growth occurred in Humble, but substantial commercial development also occurred in Kingwood and Atascocita. Opening in the mid-1980’s, the one million square-foot Deerbrook Mall became the area’s major commercial center.