Early Life

Early life in Katy centered mostly around the rice fields and the MKT Railroad, which some believe gave rise to the town's name.

If you stop and look around Katy with its shopping mall, car dealerships, stores, and sprawling homes, it’s hard to imagine what life was like for Katy’s earliest settlers. Folks who chose Katy as their home in the late 1800s did so for very different reasons than people do today.

Back then, Texas was considered ‘wild country,’ so these early families were a courageous bunch, lured by cheap land and a strong desire to own a piece of Texas. With little more than their dreams for a better life, these families boarded the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (M-K-T) railroad destined for a place people called Cane Island.

The name Katy came later and historians believe the city was named after the M-K-T railroad, which was better known as “The Katy.” Another legend says Katy was named after the saloon keeper’s wife of the same name, who was always there to greet weary travelers with a stiff drink.

It was said some visitors would arrive and immediately head off to the saloon to ‘go see Katy.’


Read more from our Community Collection. Then for a deeper dive, head on over to the Katy Heritage Society for a more in depth look at the history of the Katy community.