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Texas Counties

Texas is divided into two hundred and fifty-four counties, more than any other state. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, there were 23 municipalities, which became the original Texas counties. Many of these would later be divided into new counties. The most recent county to be created was Kenedy County in 1921. The most recent county to be organized was Loving County in 1931

Smith County, Texas

Smith County Education, Geography, and History

Smith County, Texas Courthouse

Smith County is located in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 209,714. Its county seat is Tyler. Smith County is named for James Smith, a general during the Texas Revolution.

Smith County is part of the Tyler, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Tyler-Jacksonville, TX Tyler-Jacksonville Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Smith County Name

James Smith, a general during the Texas Revolution


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Smith County History

The first known inhabitants of the area now known as Smith County were the Caddo Indians. In July 1846 Smith County separated from the Nacogdoches District and was named for James Smith, a General of the Texas Revolution. It was at this time that Tyler was designated as the county seat.

Judicial Smith County

Smith County, as established for judicial and other purposes on February 1, 1842, included approximately the territory of present Rusk County. Karnesville was to be the county seat. The county was abolished by a Texas Supreme Court decision, Stockton v. Montgomery (1842), which declared judicial counties unconstitutional. Present Smith County was established in 1846.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: James Wilmer Dallam, A Digest of the Laws of Texas (Baltimore: Toy, 1845). Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898).

Handbook of Texas Online
With the area open to permanent settlement, pioneers began to homestead. Most were small farmers who came from the South, particularly Alabama and Tennessee. In July 1846 Smith County was marked off from the Nacogdoches District and named for Gen. James Smith, a hero of the Texas Revolution and a prominent military figure in the Republic of Texas. Tyler was designated as the county seat and has remained so. The county commissioners' court was elected and met for the first time before the end of the year. By 1850 the county had reached a population of 4,292, including 717 black slaves. Residents attended seven local churches, including one Missionary Baptist and one Methodist in Tyler. The little town also had several stores and 276 inhabitants. In the county were seven schools with one teacher and an average of nineteen students each; the school in Tyler had only four students. Most trade was carried on in New Orleans; goods were shipped from there to Shreveport and then transported by ox-drawn wagons to Tyler by way of the Dallas-Shreveport Road. The 1850 census reported 91,360 acres of farmland, of which 82,434, or 89 percent, was unimproved. The remaining 8,926 acres was used primarily to keep livestock, particularly hogs, and to grow subsistence crops. Corn was the staple crop, used for family consumption as well as livestock feed through the winter. In 1850 seventy-six farmers reported a cotton crop that produced a total of only 415 bales. Local residents grew peaches, apples, grapes, blackberries, and vegetables, but mass production was not feasible because of transportation difficulties More at
Vista K. McCroskey, "SMITH COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcs11), accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on August 7, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 949 square miles (2,459 km2), of which, 928 square miles (2,404 km2) of it is land and 21 square miles (55 km2) of it (2.22%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Wood County (north)
  • Upshur County (northeast)
  • Gregg County (east)
  • Rusk County (southeast)
  • Cherokee County (south)
  • Henderson County (southwest)
  • Van Zandt County (northwest)


The following school districts serve school-age children in Smith County:

Arp Independent School District
Bullard Independent School District (also partially in Cherokee County)
Chapel Hill Independent School District
Gladewater Independent School District (also partially in Gregg County and Upshur County)
Lindale Independent School District (also partially in Van Zandt County)
Troup Independent School District (also partially in Cherokee County)
Tyler Independent School District
Van Independent School District (also partially in Van Zandt County)
Whitehouse Independent School District
Winona Independent School District

Those wishing to attend institutions of higher learning in the area can attend:

Tyler Junior College
Texas College
University of Texas at Tyler

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