When Anglo-Americans began to settle in Texas, the falls of the Brazos were located 2 miles southwest of here. At that time, the water fell about 10 feet over a rocky ledge. The falls served the Indians and early settlers as a trail landmark, meeting point, and campsite. In 1834 colonizer Sterling C. Robertson (1785-1842) established the town of Sarahville De Viesca at the fall line of the west bank of the Brazos, but it was abandoned in 1836 because of Indian hostilities. Later renamed Ft. Milam, the settlement lasted only a few more years. It was followed by the town of Bucksnort, begun in the 1840s on the east side of the river. The falls also formed a natural fording place for frontier travel; the rocky stream bed was the only hard-bottom crossing of the Brazos within 200 miles of the coast. The rapids marked the limit of the river's 19th century steamboat traffic as well.
Organized in 1850, Falls County was named for this distinctive landmark. Marlin became the county seat in 1851, and Bucksnort soon disappeared. The Brazos River changed course in 1866, moving the Fall line to the present site and lowering the rapids to about 2 feet. Today a county park is located along both sides of the river at the falls.