During Reconstruction former slaves founded a community known as the Settlement on land platted by Judge William J. Jones for purchase by freedmen. Prior to this, a number of cattlemen moved to this area with their slaves. During the Civil War, George Washington Butler was placed in charge of a containment camp and used slave labor from there to drive cattle for the Confederate Army. After the war ended, Butler continued in the cattle industry, hiring freedmen as Cowboys. Some of them lived in the community first known as Highland Tank.
The first settlers were Kneeland and Slyvia Britton,and Albert and Priscilla (Britton) Phillips. Calvin Bell, Thomas Britton and David Hobgood were area Cowboys and pioneers of the community. By 1870 the Rev. Israel S. Campbell helped begin a church; residents built a sanctuary and school the following year in a community called Campbellville for the Reverand. Pioneering families, however called it Settlement shortened from "Our Settlement," declaring the importance of freedom and owning land.
The African American community prospered throughout the late 1800's. Many male residents worked on Butler Ranch or as farmers. Also, unique for the time, the community had a high literacy rate. By the early 1900's residence worked in the railroad occupations and later in industry. In 1911, an interurban line came through the community, and Highland Station open; the Settlement was known as Highlands and La Marque until it was incorporated into the city limits of Texas City in the 1950's. The community began to decline in the 1960's, when many young people left to work in an integrated society. However, rodeos and trail rides have been held as reminders of this once flourishing and self-sufficient community founded by African American Cowboys.