The city itself was founded in 1871 when the Houston and Texas Central Railway came to the area. It probably took its name from local magnate Jabez Deming Giddings, who was instrumental in bringing the railway to the area. He had come to the area from Pennsylvania in 1838 to claim the land bounty of his brother Giles A. Giddings, killed at the Battle of San Jacinto. Another theory is that the city was named after Jabez's brother Dewitt Clinton Giddings. The land where the city of Giddings now stands was part of the land granted to Stephen F. Austin in 1821 for a colony in Spanish Texas, and later became part of the Robertson Colony. Giddings is the county seat of Lee County, Texas, United States situated on the intersection of U.S. Highways 77 and 290, 55 miles (89km) east of Austin. Its population was 5,105 at the 2000 census. The city's motto is "Giddings Texas: Experience Hometown Hospitality".