National Register Listing in
Henderson County, Texas

In the late 19th century, Texas became known for its cattle drives, in which cowboys would move herds of cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas and other northern states. The cattle drives were dangerous and difficult work, but they played a key role in the development of the American cattle industry.
Henderson County, located in the northeastern part of Texas, has a rich and fascinating history. Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was home to various Native American tribes, including the Caddo and Cherokee. The land became a part of the Republic of Texas in 1836 and was formally organized as Henderson County in 1846, named in honor of James Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas.

In the mid-19th century, Henderson County experienced a significant influx of settlers, mainly from the southern United States. These settlers primarily engaged in agriculture, taking advantage of the fertile soils and favorable climate to grow crops such as cotton, corn, and vegetables. The first county seat was established in Athens, which remains the county seat to this day.

During the Civil War, Henderson County, like much of the South, was affected by the conflict. Although there were no significant battles fought in the area, the war had a profound impact on the local economy and social fabric. Many men from Henderson County enlisted in the Confederate Army, and the war's aftermath brought significant challenges and changes to the region.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Henderson County continued to thrive, with the agricultural industry playing a pivotal role in the local economy. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s further bolstered economic development, facilitating the transportation of goods and increasing opportunities for trade. Over time, other industries such as manufacturing and healthcare also emerged. Today, Henderson County remains a vibrant community, preserving its rich heritage while embracing progress and growth.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Henderson County, Texas.

  • 1846 - Henderson County established as a county of the Republic of Texas.
  • 1850 - First census conducted, showing a population of 1,714.
  • 1851 - Athens becomes the county seat.
  • 1861-1865 - Henderson County residents participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1880 - Cotton production becomes a major industry in the county.
  • 1902 - The first oil well is drilled in the county, leading to the development of the oil industry.
  • 1930s-1940s - Henderson County experiences economic growth due to the construction of the Cross Lake Dam and the establishment of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Fish Hatchery and Fish Experiment Station.
  • 1960s-1970s - Lake Palestine and Cedar Creek Lake are created, attracting tourism and real estate development.
  • 1987 - The Henderson County Courthouse is destroyed by fire but is rebuilt and restored.
  • 2000 - The population of Henderson County reaches 73,277.
  • 2019 - Henderson County celebrates its 173rd anniversary since establishment.