BUFFALO GAP, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- 177 years ago on December 29, 1845, U.S. President James K. Polk signed The Republic of Texas into statehood, making Texas the 28th United State. Though as history goes, the timeline from start to finish was anything but straightforward. Each action and reaction shaping the area into the Lone Star state we know today.

“It was kind of a unique situation where one nation incorporated another nation without a war,” said Executive Director of the Taylor County Historic Center and Buffalo Gap Historic Village Scott Clowdus.

Map of Texas and Mexico 1846 (Portal to Texas History via. University of North Texas Libraries)

In the mid 1840’s, the Republic of Texas was already recognized as having won independence from Mexico in 1834, but the Mexican Government had not yet declared an end to their claim on the land. This combined with Texas’ pro-slavery status made their move to statehood a contentious one to say the least.

“People were concerned that hey if we incorporate Texas in there it might start a war with Mexico,” Clowdus said.

But with the support of the U.S. president, Texas was incorporated in 1845, though the logistics took a few years to be worked out. Even though the state was ratified, the “Law and Order” of the U.S. government would not be established statewide for another few years.

“It was kind of the wild wild west out here. If you look upstairs (in the original Taylor County courthouse) there’s still portholes that were cut in there in case of Indian (Native American) attack or attack of any kind,” said Clowdus.

For decades in between, Texas was seen as somewhat of a lawless place by settlers. Civilization would come to Buffalo Gap packaged in limestone rock and iron bars in 1879 when the courthouse was constructed on the same plot it stands today.

Or at least civilization as the settlers knew it.

“We had already decimated most of the buffalo herd that took everything away from the Comanches were the ones that were ruling this part of Texas then,” Clowdus said.

So the settlements and Townships went up as the Native population was pushed further and further out, bringing the Texas of today into being slowly but surely. Stories saved from the passage of time by preservationists like Clowdus.

“We’re very invested in our history and we want everybody that comes here even if they come from another state to live here. Hey you’re a Texan now and you need to know how we came to be,” said Clowdus.

The history of the land’s early days are chronicled at Frontier Texas in downtown Abilene. Where their timeline leaves off, the Buffalo Gap Historic Village picks up. Preserving the story of how the modern state came to be.