Anderson County, Texas

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Welcome to Anderson County, Texas!

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Adjacent counties

Henderson County
"Lake Palestine"
North arrow
"Trinity River"
Freestone County
West arrow Anderson County, Texas East arrow East
"Neches River"
Cherokee County
South arrow
"Trinity River"
Leon County
Houston County


Indians friendly to the settlers resided in east Texas before the Kiowa, Kickapoo, Kichai, Apache and Comanche tribes intruded upon their territory. These tribes hunted, farmed the land, and were very adept traders. By 1772 they had settled on the Brazos River at Waco and on the Trinity River upstream from present day Palestine. The Tawakoni branch of Wichita Indians originated north of Texas, but migrated south into east Texas. From 1843 onward, the Tawakoni were part of treaties made by both the Republic of Texas and the United States.

On May 19, 1836 an alliance of Comanche, Kiowa, Caddo and Wichita Indians attacked Fort Parker, killing or kidnapping all but about 18 settlers who managed to escape to Fort Houston, which had been erected in Anderson County in 1835 as protection against the Indians. Among those captured was Cynthia Ann Parker, who later became mother of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker. Some residents of Anderson County are related to Cynthia Ann Parker.

In October 1838, Gen. Thomas Jefferson Rusk conducted a raid against hostile Indians at Kickapoo, near Frankston, ending the engagements with the Indians in eastern Texas for that year.

Early Settlers
1826, empresario David G Burnet received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 300 families in what is now Anderson County. Most of the settlers in the county came from the southern states and from Missouri.

Baptist spiritual leader Daniel Parker and eight other men organized the Pilgrim Predestinarian Regular Baptist Church in Lamotte, Illinois. The fellowship in its entirety migrated in 1833 to the new frontier of Texas. Among this group of settlers were Silas M. Parker, Moses Herrin, Elisha Anglin, Luther T. M. Plummer, David Faulkenberry, Joshua Hadley, and Samuel Frost. Fort Parker was the earliest actual settlement in the vicinity. After the fort was attacked, some of the survivors moved to Anderson County.

Anderson County Established

The First Legislature of the state of Texas formed Anderson County from Houston County on March 24, 1846. The county was named after Kenneth Lewis Anderson, (1805-45) 4th vice president of Texas[1]. Palestine was named county seat.

Anderson County voted in favor of secession from the Union. When the Civil War broke out, former Palestine district judge Judge John H. Reagan served in the cabinet of the Confederate government as postmaster general, being captured at the end of the war and spending twenty-two months in solitary confinement. During Reconstruction, District Nine Court Judge Reuben A. Reeves, a resident of Palestine, was removed from office as "an obstruction to Reconstruction" in part because of his refusal to allow blacks to participate as jurors in the judicial process.

In 1875, the International – Great Northern Railroad placed its machine and repair shops and general offices in Palestine, causing the community to double in size over the next five years.

In January 1928 the first successful oil producer in Anderson County, known as the Humble-Lizzie Smith No. 1, was brought in. By the year 2000 - 295,904,540 barrels (47,045,062 m3) of oil had been taken from county lands since 1929.

The Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area was purchased by the state between 1950 and 1960', much of it from Milze L. Derden. The area was renamed in 1952 after Gus A. Engeling, the first biologist assigned to the area, was shot and killed by a poacher on December 13, 1951.

Anderson County tied for 13th place in a list of the 25 American counties with the highest number of lynchings between 1877-1950.

Created and organized from Houston County in 1846. Named for Kenneth Lewis Anderson, fourth and last Vice President of the Republic of Texas. The County seat is Palestine.

Land Grants

  • In 1826, empresario David G. Burnet received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 300 families in what is now Anderson County.

Government Offices

After creation by the legislature, March 24, 1846, officials began to lay out the county and get a courthouse built..

1846 County Courthouse was a log house located in Fort Houston in 1846. no image[2]

1847 - 1st Courthouse was built 1847, and consisted of a one-story frame structure. No image[2]

1856 - 2nd County Courthouse - replaced the one story frame building in the center of the square was two-story brick courthouse. No image[2]

1886 3rd courthouse was also brick, desicgned by WC Dodson. This was destroyed by fire in 1913. This fell to arson.No image[2]

1886 courthouse.
1886 courthouse photo in courtroom, Tx Escapes

1913-14 4th County Courthouse - present Anderson County Courthouse was built in 1913-14. This was Beaux-Arts style building showing columns and pedimented porticoes on each facade, and is topped by a dome with a justice statue. This still stands today. It was renovated in 1986. This beautiful building gives historic and design pride for the people of Anderson county.

1913/14 courthouse

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1988 Description-by Terry Jeanson, Texas Escapes : There is a central located spiral staircase with a beautiful stained glass skylight at the bottom of the dome. The district courtroom, while modern, has a painted mural at the rear of the two story room and the outside hall is covered with the personal collection of Judge Bascom Bentley, including historical photos, autographs of celebrities and politicians, [2]


Location In Texas

Anderson County is located in the Piney Woods region of East Texas. The county is forested with the hilly land sloping to the Trinity and Neches Rivers. It contains sandy, clay and black soils with growths of pines and hardwoods. Many of the tall, straight pine trees are harvested for use as soft Southern Pine lumber or utility poles. The highest point in the county is Wilkerson Mountain at 773 ft. above sea level.

Protected areas

  • Big Lake Bottom Wildlife Management Area
  • Engeling Wildlife Management Area
  • Neches River Wildlife Management Area

Local Resources

  • Agriculture
  • Cattle
  • Hay
  • Truck Vegetables
  • Melons
  • Pecans
  • Peaches
  • Timber


  • Oil
  • Natural Gas


in 2000 there were 55,109 people, 15,678 households, and 11,335 families residing in the county. The population density was 52 people per square mile . There were 18,436 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county at that time was 66.44% White, 23.48% Black or African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 8.00% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 12.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The median income for an Anderson County household was $31,957, and the median income for a family was $37,513. Males had a median income of $27,070 versus $21,577 for females. The per capita income was $13,838. About 12.70% of families and 16.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.60% of those under age 18 and 16.60% of those age 65 or over


  • Palestine Municipal Airport, Palestine
  • Briar Lakes Ranch Airport, Palestine'
  • W J E Airport, Tennessee Colony


  • Palestine Regional Medical Center, Palestine


  • Lake Frankston
  • Lake Palestine

Major Highways

  • U.S. Highway 79
  • U.S. Highway 84
  • U.S. Highway 175
  • U.S. Highway 287
  • State Highway 19
  • State Highway 155
  • State Highway 294


  • Texas State Railroad operates steam locomotives with vintage passenger cars between Palestine and Rusk.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Company carries freight.

Historic Sites

  • Pilgrim Church, southwest of Elkhart
  • State Prison, near Tennessee Colony


  • Dogwood Trails Festival last two weeks in March and first two weeks in April, Palestine
  • Dulcimer Festival in March, Palestine
  • Hot Pepper Festival in October, Palestine
  • Square Fair in October, Frankston


Population as of Jan 1, 2014 in parenthesis. Negligible if none shown.


  • Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC)
  • UT Tyler, Palestine Campus

Listed by Category within each Independent School District (ISD).

Cayuga ISD

  • Cayuga Elementary, Tennessee Colony
  • Cayuga Middle, Tennessee Colony
  • Cayuga High, Tennessee Colony

Elkhart ISD

  • Betts Elementary, Elkhart
  • |Elkhart Elementary, Elkhart
  • Elkhart Intermediate, Elkhart
  • Elkhart Middle, Elkhart
  • Elkhart High, Elkhart

Frankston ISD'

  • Frankston Elementary, Frankston
  • Frankston Middle, Frankston
  • Frankston High, Frankston

La Poynor ISD

  • La Poynor Elementary, Palestine (partial)
  • La Poynor Junior High, Palestine (partial}
  • La Poynor High, Palestine (Partial)

Neches ISD

  • Neches Daep, Palestine (Alternative)
  • Neches Elementary, Palestine
  • Neches High, Palestine

Palestine ISD

  • Landmark Charter, Palestine (Alternative)
  • Northside Primary, Palestine
  • Palestine Junior High School, Palestine
  • Palestine High School, Palestine
  • Southside Elementary, Palestine
  • Story Intermediate, Palestine
  • UT Tyler Innovation Academy, Palestine (Charter)
  • Washington Early Childhood Center, Palestine

Slocum ISD

  • Slocum Daep Instructional, Elkhart (Alternative)
  • Slocum Elementary, Elkhart
  • Slocum High, Elkhart

Westwood ISD

  • Westwood Elementary, Palestine
  • Westwood Junior High, Palestine
  • Westwood High School, Palestine
  • Westwood Primary, Palestine
  • Christian Heritage Academy, Palestine


Listed on alphabetical order. Some communities where cemetery is located may no longer exist.


Population is estimated for the 2014 Census Year.

Census year Population

County Notables

  • Kenneth Lewis Anderson (1805-183). He was elected fourth and last Vice President of the Republic of Texas. Presided over the Texas Senate in June, 1845 at Washington-on-the-Brazos when Texas Congress approved annexation to United States. Anderson County is named for him.
  • David G. Burnet
    Curtis Fitzgerald,(1964 Football State Champ) Vietnam War veteran. Silver Star/Purple Heart
Smith Ballew, actor, singer, orchestra leader
Elton Bomer, former state representative and former Texas Secretary of State
Bill Bradley, football player and coach
Ben Howard, aeronautical designer and race pilot
John E. Jackson, state chairman, Louisiana Republican Party, 1929-1934; born in Palestine in 1892
John H. Reagan, 19th-century American politician and Confederate postmaster general
Todd Staples, 11th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, member of both houses of the Texas State Legislature
Gene Watson,


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Please change the category to Category:Crist - Calloway Cemetery, Harmony, Texas. The forward slash is being replaced.


posted by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
I tried it at size 150. Thanks for altering it..
posted by Mary Richardson
posted by Mary Richardson