Prairie Lea is an unincorporated community in Caldwell County, Texas, United States. According to theHandbook of Texas, the community had an estimated population of 255 in 2000.
The community, Caldwell County's oldest, was built on the 1820 land grant of Joe Martin of Gonzales. Sam Houston named the town for his future wife Margaret Lea Houston. Edmund Bellinger, a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto and Battle of Plum Creek, became Prairie Lea's first settler in 1839. Other early settlers were largely slave-holding families. Growth followed the establishment of a sawmill, gristmill, and gin by Thomas Mooney on the nearby San Marcos River.Development of the nearby Luling oilfield during the 1920s caused an increase in Prairie Lea's population.