How Some of Our East Texas Towns Got Their Names
Onlyinyourstate.com came up with a list of 15 odd named cities in Texas. Towns like Utopia, Lickskillet, Welfare, Cut and Shoot and Nameless can be found throughout the state. But how did some towns in East Texas get their names? Using information from the Texas State Historical Association, I picked a combination of ten well-known and odd named cities in East Texas to find out what’s behind the name.
For the purpose of this article, I’ve given just a brief description of when the town got it’s start and how it got it’s name. If you click on the city name, I have provided a link to the full history of the city from the Texas State Historical Association.
Tyler became a city on April 11, 1846 and was named after President John Tyler in honor of his work to bring Texas into the United States.
Longview was established in the early 1870’s. It was established from land purchased from Ossamus Hitch Methvin, Sr. for Southern Pacific Railroad. It was given the name Longview because of the great view from Methvin’s house which sat on what is now Center Street.
Jacksonville began as a settlement on Gum Creek in 1847. A gentleman by the name of Jackson Smith built a home and blacksmith shop there. Another gentleman, Dr. William Jackson built an office near the blacksmith shop. In 1850, Jackson Smith found an area for a town and town square. Dr. Jackson’s office was inside that area and since he was the first to build in that area, citizen’s gave it the name Jacksonville.
Athens started in 1850 and got it’s name from Dulcina A. Holland who wanted the town to become a cultural center just like Athens, Greece.
Paris’ roots can date back to 1824 but the town became official in 1844. The town got it’s name from an employee of town founder George W. Wright, Thomas Poteet, who named the town in honor of Paris, France.
Gun Barrel City has only been around since the 1960’s. It got it’s name from the town motto “We shoot straight with you” and it’s rifle symbol. This symbol later changed to the twin six shooters crossing each other.
Daingerfield can trace it’s roots back to early European explorers camping in the area in 1740. In 1830, Captain London Daingerfield fought a battle against native Americans in the area. When the town began to be settled in the 1840’s, and was named in his honor.
Nacogdoches is the oldest city in Texas. Archaeological finds show Indian settlements as far back as 1250. Expeditions through the area date back to 1687 and housed missions in the 1770’s. The town got it’s name from the Nacogdoche Indians who were part of the Caddo Indians.
Elkhart goes back to 1851 when Daniel Parker led a group of pilgrims to the Boxy Creek area. With the help of a friendly Native American, Elkhart, the town began to flourish. The town was named in his honor.
Anderson County Courthouse Created by the Texas Legislature on March 24, 1846, Anderson County was named for former Republic of Texas Vice President Kenneth L. Anderson. The first court in the new county was held in a log house at nearby Fort Houston in 1846. The first Anderson County Courthouse, a one-story frame structure, was built in 1847. Located on the northeast corner of the square, it was replaced by a two-story brick courthouse in 1856. A third courthouse, also brick, was completed in 1886 but was destroyed by fire in 1913. The fourth and present Anderson County Courthouse was built in 1913-14. Designed by the Austin architectural firm of Charles Page & Bro., it was dedicated on December 20, 1914. The Beaux-Arts style building features giant order Ionic columns and pedimented porticoes on each facade, and is topped by a dome surmounted by a Justice statue. Still in use as the seat of justice for Anderson County, the courthouse underwent major restoration in 1986. The historically and architecturally significant building serves as a source of pride for county residents. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1988
When Anderson county was established in 1846, there was no town in the center of the county, so Palestine became that missing town. It was named for Palestine, Illinois, which was where Baptist preacher Daniel Parker used to live and was one of the first to build a home in the area.
If you would like to look up the history of your town, you can click this link then just type in your town’s name in the search bar.
For instance, my hometown is Lindale which started in 1873 and was originally spelled Lyndale. The “y” was changed to an “i” in 1874. It was also a hub for cotton and fruit distribution in it’s early days.