Stephen F. Austin State University

Anderson County

Anderson County

The Gatewood and Shelton Gin Co., Old Town Palestine. Anderson County TexasAnderson County is situated in the upper portion of East Texas, bounded by the Neches and Trinity Rivers. The county's largest city and seat is Palestine. Originally inhabited by Waco, Kickapoo, Tawakonis and Comanche tribes in the 1760s and 1770s, the territory was controlled by the Mexican government until David Burnet applied for land grants in 1826. Throughout the 1830s and 1840s with Texas' War for Independence and Indian wars, the Texas legislature constituted Anderson County in 1846.

Anderson County's main sources of economic subsistence derived from cotton and slavery. The county benefited greatly from both sources during the latter decades of the antebellum period. During this period, the population increased dramatically due to the availability of cotton production. The citizens of Anderson County ardently buttressed Texas' secession and contributed soldiers to the cause. The political climate in the county changed during Reconstruction, with the Democratic Party being virtually unchallenged until 1952, when the Republican Party regained the majority and currently holds it to this day.

The county's landscape is composed of several different types of soil, along with various agricultural staples such as cotton, corn and hay. Like most counties in Texas, Anderson County remained strictly agricultural from the 1880s up to the 1940s. Another important natural resource discovered in the early 1900s was oil and gas, which became the county's main source of income through the 1930s and 1940s. The wealth of oil and gas acted as a buffer between the county and the Great Depression.

City / State / Federal - County Commission


Museum/Historic Site


Picture: Gatewood-Shelton Gin Co. Old Town Palestine District. Palestine, Texas. Source: The Portal to Texas History

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