Coldspring is a city in San Jacinto County, Texas, United States. It is the county seat of San Jacinto County which is named after the river that traverses it and shares its name with the battle which gave Texas its independence. The population was 853 at the 2010 census. The history of Coldspring is linked to Stephen F. Austin's first colony in Texas, which established, among other locales, San Jacinto County. Austin's original colony extended to the Trinity River watershed, roughly along Texas 156, toward Point Blank. After receiving a commission from the Mexican government to settle the town, Joseph Vehlein, a German immigrant to Mexico, deeded 640 acres (2.6 km2) to Robert Rankin, an American Revolutionary officer. This acreage included the site of Coldspring. The settlement of Cold Springs (old spelling) began around 1850. In 1848, there existed only a trading post called "Coonskin", later "Fireman's Hill" nearby. Coldspring had developed into a bustling county seat town by 1915, but disaster struck March 30, 1915, when the wooden courthouse burned, thus removing the economic foundation of the town. Plans for the present courthouse were made, and the building was completed in 1918. Thereafter, the townspeople moved their buildings near the new courthouse at its present location. In 1983, San Jacinto County sheriff, James Cecil "Humpy" Parker, was arrested for, charged with, and convicted of six civil rights abuses of suspects using the form of torture called waterboarding and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison but served less than five before his medical release due to brain cancer; he died in 1994. Parker's son and deputy, Gary, was convicted in 1984 of conspiracy to violate suspects' rights. These incidents were incorporated into a novel by Steven Sellers, Terror on Highway 59 in 1984, which in turn was made into a made-for-television movie, Terror on Highway 91 (1989), starring Ricky Schroder.
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