The discovery of oil in 1901 near Beaumont, Texas, sparked an oil boom that transformed the state's economy and led to the rise of the modern petroleum industry.
Smith County, Texas, holds a rich history that stretches back to its beginnings. The land that is now Smith County was once inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Caddo and Cherokee nations. The region first caught the attention of European settlers in the early 19th century, when Stephen F. Austin's colonists began to venture into the area. The first permanent settlement, Tyler, was established in 1846.

During the turbulent times of the American Civil War, Smith County experienced significant unrest. Many residents in the county owned slaves, and tensions ran high between Union and Confederate sympathizers. The Battle of Blackjack Grove took place in August 1864, and although it was a minor skirmish, it reflected the deep divisions and struggles faced by the county during the war.

Following the war, Smith County experienced rapid growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century further boosted the county's economy and population. During this period, the town of Tyler established itself as a principal commercial center, attracting businesses and settlers from surrounding areas.

In the 20th century, Smith County continued to thrive with the growth of agriculture, oil, and manufacturing industries. Tyler became known as the "Rose Capital of the World" due to its substantial rose-growing industry. The county has also been a center for education, with the establishment of schools and universities.

Today, Smith County remains a vibrant and dynamic part of Texas. Its rich history, from its Native American roots to its role in the Civil War and beyond, provides a fascinating backdrop to its current achievements and endeavors.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Smith County, Texas.

  • 1846 - Smith County is established by the Texas legislature.
  • 1847 - The county seat is designated at Tyler.
  • 1850 - The population of Smith County reaches 1,726.
  • 1861-1865 - The Civil War impacts the county, with many residents serving in the Confederate Army.
  • 1877 - The Texas and Pacific Railway reaches Tyler, boosting the local economy.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression brings economic hardships to Smith County.
  • 1932 - The East Texas Oil Field is discovered, leading to an oil boom in the area.
  • 1950s - The construction of highways and infrastructure brings further growth and development to the county.
  • 1995 - The Smith County Historical Society is formed to preserve the county's history.
  • Present - Smith County continues to thrive as a regional economic and cultural hub in East Texas.