Wise County, Texas

Wise County, in northwestern Texas, is forty miles south of the Oklahoma border and is surrounded by Montague County to the north, Cooke County to the northeast, Denton County to the east, Tarrant County to the southeast, Parker County to the south and Jack County to the west. Decatur, the county seat and largest town, is 35 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

Cities, Towns and Communities

Alvord | Audobon | Aurora | Balsora | Boonsville | Boyd | Blair (partly in Tarrant, Parker Counties) | Bridgeport | Cactus Hill | Chico | Cottondale | Cowen | Crafton | Decatur (Taylorsville) – county seat | Greenwood | Herman | Lake Bridgeport | New Fairview | Newark | Paradise | Pecan Acres | Pella | Prairie Point | Rhome | Runaway Bay | Slidell | Willow Point


Wise County, northwest of Tarrant County and Fort Worth, was created by the Legislature from the original Cooke County in 1856, and its county government was organized on May 5th of the same year. The first settlers penetrated into the county under the protection of the military post at Fort Worth, and its population by the end of the ’50s was over fifteen hundred. In 1858 it was estimated that about six thousand acres of land were in cultivation, but throughout that decade the county was on the frontier. In 1856 the only postoffices in the county were Odessa and Taylorville. The county seat was established at Decatur, and that was a point on the route of the Overland Southern Pacific Mail, the government stage line put in operation about 1858. During the Civil war decade population decreased in Wise County. The Texas Almanac for 1867 said: “There is not a mill in Wise County, the nearest being at Weatherford, forty miles away. A large quantity of wheat is raised in the county, and large numbers of cattle are raised and driven away to market.”

Wise County was officially established by legislative act on January 23, 1856, and was named in honor of Henry A. Wise, a United States Congressman from Virginia, who, during the 1840s, supported the annexation of Texas. The county seat, Decatur (originally named Taylorsville), was selected by a countywide election and, though challenged after the courthouse burned in 1895, has remained the seat of government to the present… Only 1,450 people resided in Wise County in 1870. During the antebellum period Decatur was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route from St. Louis, Missouri, to San Francisco, California. A government telegraph line also connected the county with larger population centers. Between 1866 and 1886 the Eastern Cattle Trail to Abilene, Kansas, crossed Wise County east of Decatur. The coming of the railroads eventually provided a more convenient and cheaper means of transportation for crops and livestock. In the 1880s and 1890s two railroads were built through the county—the Fort Worth and Denver City, which passed through Decatur, and the Rock Island, which crossed the western section of the county through Bridgeport. The railroads stimulated the economy and made the production of coal in Bridgeport and of cotton, wheat, and beef in eastern Wise County more profitable. The population increased steadily and reached the highest point in county history in 1900 at a total of 27,116.

County Histories

Pioneer History of Wise County, 1907 by Cliff D. Cates.

Wise County History, Vol. 1, 1975; Vol. 2, 1982, edited by Rosalie Gregg.

Centennial History of Wise County, 1953, by Mary Cates Moore.


Decatur, TX 33° 14′ 3.4188″ N, 97° 35′ 10.1004″ W

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