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Stephen F. Austin State University

Rains County Where It Rains When It Wants To (July 2011)

Rains County Where It Rains When It Wants to

By Elaine Bay


"Rains County Where It Rains When It Wants To!" - An old saying that still is used today in order to depict this 4th tiniest county in northeast Texas, having a total area of only 258.8 square miles. Parts of Hunt, Hopkins, Wood and Van Zandt counties were taken to form Rains County in December 1870 with most of the area lying in Wood County. Consequently the first Federal Census for Rains County was 1880. The county has two lakes that are popular for home-town folks as well as visitors. They are Lake Tawakoni, mostly used for camping, and Lake Fork Reservoir, mostly used for fishing.
The area has been inhabited for many years, but the Caddo Indians appeared in the area around 800 A.D. In the early 1700s tribes from the Wichita, mainly Tawakoni and Yscani, settled in the area.
The first American of European descent to settle in the area was probably James H. Hooker of Tennessee who arrived in the 1840s He settled in southwest Rains County and established Hooker's Mill on the Sabine River; this area is now on the edges of Hunt and Rains counties. Some of the early communities before Rains became a county were known as Rice's Point, Sabine Pass, Springville and Pilgrim Rest.
Emory Rains, an early pioneer served in the Congress of the Republic of Texas and in 1866 lobbied for the establishment of Rains County. The county is named in his honor and the county seat, Emory, formerly know as Springville, the largest and centrally located community, is also named in honor of him. Emory Rains' grave is located in the Emory City Cemetery and bears a Texas historical marker.