Anderson County, Texas
Cities, Towns & Communities
Alderbranch | Bethel | Cayuga | Denson Springs | Elkhart | Fields Chapel | Fitzgerald | Fort Houston | Frankston | Harmony | Kickapoo | Magnolia | Mound Prairie | Palestine | Plentitude | Salmon | Sandflat | Slocum | Tennessee Colony | Tucker | Wild Cat Bluff
Created March 24, 1846, from Houston County. Organized July 13, 1846 with Palestine as the county seat. Named in honor of Kenneth Lewis Anderson, vice-president of the Republic of Texas, 1844-45. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1936. Located about 5 mi. NE of Palestine on US 79.
Anderson County. This is an interior county, on the Trinity River, the centre being 180 miles from Galveston. The Trinity is navigable for steamers far above this county, though not at all times to be depended on. The face of the country is level, with timber lands on the streams, and luxuriant prairies between. Palestine, the county-seat, is well situated in the centre of this flourishing county. There is very little rock, and the soil is easily cultivated. Palestine contains a population of 1200. The business of the town is confined to retail trade with the surrounding country ; there are twelve stores here, among which are two drug stores and a book store ; all seem to be prospering. The county gives one thousand votes, and makes about 300,000 lbs. cotton.
The land is quite fertile, producing, on an average, one bale, or 500 lbs. clean cotton per acre, or thirty bushels of corn to the acre. Cotton seems to be the best adapted to the lands of this county, but wheat grows and produces well. The crops are sent down the Trinity to Galveston, or hauled to Houston by ox teams.
Anderson County in the Civil War. After the creation of Anderson County in 1846, most settlers came from southern states, shaping the county’s destiny in the Civil War. When Texas became the seventh state to secede from the union on March 2, 1861, the county vote, 870 to 15, was overwhelmingly in favor of secession. Notable citizens John H. Reagan, A. T. Rainey, S. G. Stewart and T. J. Word were delegates to the secession convention in Austin, and Rainey and Reagan signed the Texas ordinance of secession. Before the vote, Governor Sam Houston spoke against secession on the steps of the Osceola Hotel in Palestine. More than 1,100 Anderson Countians helped form twelve infantry and cavalry companies for the Confederate Army, including seven companies entirely of local men. More than 300 died in the war and are buried at famed battlefields from New Mexico to Pennsylvania. Those on the home front contributed greatly to the war effort. Factories near mound prairie and plenitude produced flour, cloth, rifles, ammunition, tin goods, shoes, harnesses, bridles, and other leather goods. The salt works west of Palestine filled a need for food and meat preservation. Ladies knitted socks and blankets and sewed shirts and trousers bound for the war front. The hunter hotel served as a makeshift hospital, hosting men of the 10th Texas Infantry in May 1862; nine of them ultimately succumbed to their wounds and illnesses and were buried in the old city cemetery. Several citizens served leading roles in the Confederacy, including Reagan, who was Postmaster General and Treasury Secretary of the Government at Richmond. He and Confederate President Jefferson Davis were captured together at the close of the war. Anderson County is the final resting place of more than 500 veterans from all across the south, and the present home of thousands of descendants of those veterans.
Anderson County Poor Farm. Although county records show some attempts to care for the poor as early as the 1860s, property for a poor farm was not purchased until 1884. Various buildings were erected, including housing for residents and a caretaker, storage barns, a cotton gin, and a canning operation. A jail building was also in use for convict laborers who worked on the farm and on county roads. The ruins of several wells can still be seen throughout the property. A cemetery containing some 75-100 graves is located near the southern edge of the original farm site. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986. – Historical Marker Text. Located about 2.5 mi. south of Palestine on S. Sycamore Rd.
A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas, 1883. Digital book on line from The Portal to Texas History.
Anderson County has been the home of four courthouses, all located in Palestine. The current courthouse has been in use since 1914.
Palestine, TX 31° 45′ 43.614″ N, 95° 37′ 50.8404″ W