Stephen F. Austin State University

Kaufman County

Situated in northeast Texas, Kaufman County lies near the Trinity River and Cedar Creek Reservoir. Cherokee and Caddos lived on the land that became Kaufman until 1840, when settlers from Holly Springs began inhabiting the area. The principle founder of the settlement, William P. King, established a territory, King's Fort, on the location where Kaufman officially formed in 1848. The county's namesake and its seat are in honor of David Spangler Kaufman, a member of the Republic of Texas, among other groups.

Despite the county's secession into the Confederacy, the county's economy did not face decline like others in East Texas. In terms of Reconstruction, Kaufman County fared well in its response to government regulations because of a smaller African American population. After Reconstruction, the economy adapted to agricultural subsistence farming because of an increase in corn and cotton production. During this period, the introduction of railroad and pavement helped created a strong economy that lasted until the Great Depression.

New Deal programs under President Franklin Roosevelt ushered in much needed help to the area and supplied many jobs to the unemployed. The county's population increased after World War II and into the 1950s and 1960s, which created an expansion into manufacturing, supplied the county's population with more jobs, and led to increased migration. From the 1970s onward, the county capitalized off tourism, agribusiness, and oil, along with traditional agriculture.


Text: Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association.