Walker County was created in 1846 and originally named for Robert J. Walker of Mississippi who introduced into the U.S. Congress the resolution for the annexation of Texas. Walker County encompasses 790 square miles of rolling hills and open prairies in the Piney Woods vegetation area; around seventy percent of the county is blanketed by forests of loblolly, short leaf and long leaf pine, and hardwoods. The area rests at the extreme western end of the Coastal Plain region.
Demographically, projections for Walker County between 2000 and 2005 show an anticipated growth of 9.6 percent. In 1990 there were 50,917 people living in Walker County, 24 percent Black, 11 percent Hispanic, 64 percent Caucasian. Of the 50,917 population, some 10,201 were inmates in the state prison system. Huntsville houses over 60 percent of the county population while Riverside (451 residents) and New Waverly (936 residents) are the next largest communities. A large portion of the county is owned by two public agencies, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the National Forest Service. The economy benefits from the presence of Sam Houston State University. An increasingly important factor in the growth of Walker County is the expansion of the Houston metroplex. Many people live in Walker County and commute daily to work sites in the Houston area.