Stephen F. Austin State University

Red River County

Red River County is located on the border of the Red River. The county seat is Clarksville. A handful of Caddo Indian tribes inhabited the area. In 1833, James Clark founded a community that eventually became Clarksville. The Texas Legislature established the Red River and Fannin Counties from the Red River District. The makeup of Red River County included citizens from other states.

In the two decades leading up to the Civil War, citizens in the new county raised and sold different types of cattle and cotton. Landowners relied strictly on agricultural profit through slavery and the loss of slavery left the county in ruins after the Civil War. The county seceded from the Union and felt the effects afterward. Farmers struggled to sustain large farms after the abolition of slavery.

The economy recovered in the 1870s with the introduction of railroads, which made business ventures more feasible than before; but this also caused citizens to move elsewhere, which meant the decline of cities within the county. From 1880 through 1920, the county population stabilized because of the availability of land and the hope for more agricultural production, especially cotton. Like other counties in East Texas, the Great Depression devastated Red River County because already-decreased land values plummeted lower. Farmers turned increasingly to livestock and ranching. Currently, Red River County makes its income through lumber and agribusiness.


Text: Handbool of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Asossication.