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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

Van Zandt County, Texas

Van Zandt County Education, Geography, and History

Van Zandt County, Texas Courthouse

Van Zandt County is a county located in the state of Texas, in the northeastern part of the state. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 52,579. Its county seat is Canton. The county is named for Isaac Van Zandt, a member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas

Etymology - Origin of Van Zandt County Name

Isaac Van Zandt, early Texas settler, attorney, Texas legislator, and diplomat, considered by many to be the founder of Marshall, Texas


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Van Zandt County History

Van Zandt County is a county located in the US state of Texas.Its county seat is Canton. The county is named for Isaac Van Zandt, a member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas.

Handbook of Texas Online
Van Zandt County was established by the legislature in 1848 from part of Henderson County and named for Republic of Texas leader Isaac Van Zandt. Sabine Lake (Jordan's Saline) was named the county seat, a crude log courthouse was built, and court was held for the first time in December 1848. In 1850 Wood County was carved out of Van Zandt County, and the Van Zandt county seat was moved to Canton. The 1850 census indicated that the recently established county had 1,348 residents. The overwhelming majority of the residents (92 percent) came from the states of the Old South, with the largest number from Tennessee and Alabama. In addition, there were a small number of recent immigrants from Europe, including a Norwegian colony settled by Johan Reierson at Four Mile Prairie in the southwestern portion of the county. In its early years the economy was largely subsistence farming, though some settlers also engaged in the salt trade. The salt in the area had been known to the Indians, who extracted it in the northeastern part of the county near the site of present Grand Saline. Jordan had a salt extraction operation at Jordan's Saline in 1845. Plantation farming did not prove profitable, and slave population dropped to 322 in a total population of 6,494 in 1860. A cotton gin, built at Hamburg by Burrel H. Hambrick in 1853, was moved to Tyler prior to the Civil War. Despite the small number of slaves, a majority of Van Zandt's citizens (181 of 308) voted for secession in 1861, and local men volunteered for service in the Confederate army in sizeable numbers. Many enlisted in the Tenth Texas Cavalry under Col. M. F. Lock, while others joined the Sixth Texas Cavalry, the Third Texas Cavalry, the Fifteenth Texas Cavalry, and the Eleventh Texas Infantry. Not all of the citizens, however, supported the Southern cause. Many of the Norwegian settlers, who were opposed to slavery on moral grounds, and a number of small farmers, who resented the power and influence of the state's large plantation owners, spoke out against the war. In 1864 three of the Unionists were lynched, and some of the Norwegian settlers were arrested, effectively quelling the opposition. The anti-slavery stance of this vocal minority, however, reportedly gave rise to the practice of calling the county the "Free State of Van Zandt." According to one story, the name arose when Sidney S. Johnson of the Canton Times wrote that one slave driver seeking a site in Texas to bring his slaves to safety said that he would rather settle in a free state than bring his slaves to Van Zandt because of its Unionist reputation More at
Gerald F. Kozlowski, "VAN ZANDT COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcv02), accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 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 859 square miles (2,226 km2), of which, 849 square miles (2,198 km2) of it is land and 10 square miles (28 km2) of it (1.26%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Rains County (north)
  • Wood County (northeast)
  • Smith County (east)
  • Henderson County (south)
  • Kaufman County (west)
  • Hunt County (northwest)


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