||Created from Austin and Grimes counties, April 28, and organized Aug. 16, 1873. Named for Edwin Waller (1800-1861), a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, 1836; Postmaster General, Texas Republic; First mayor of Austin. Site of rich 1831-1874 Groce plantations, later home of sculptress Elisabet Ney. Hempstead, founded 1857 during building of Houston & Texas Railroad, an important transportation center, is the county seat. Since 1876, county has been site of Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College. Economy is based on industry, diversified agriculture and oil production.