Stephen F. Austin State University

Wood County

Located in Northeastern Texas, Wood County's landscape is comprised of clay soils, oil, gravel, and gas. The county's namesake is George L. Wood, who served as Texas governor from 1847-1849. Archaeological findings suggest that the Caddo Indians inhabited the area centuries before Anglos migrated into the area in 1788. The land remained relatively untouched until after the Texas Revolution.

Martin Varner settled near present day Hainesville in 1824 and is considered the first settler of Wood County.In 1845, Anglos established Webster, the first official community of the area. In 1850, the Texas Legislature recognized Wood County, with Quitman as the county seat. The Anglo settlers of Wood County migrated from other parts of the South and sought to introduce slavery in the area. With slavery, Wood County attempted to establish itself as a major cotton producer.

The county joined the Confederacy, despite the fact that the two county representatives voted against secession. Wood County entered the Civil War and provided armaments and bodies to the cause, and the emergence of Reconstruction came shortly after defeat.

After the war, Wood County stayed predominately agricultural and rural producing corn and cotton. From 1870 to 1920, the county's productivity increased with railroads and automobiles, which increased farming and manufacturing jobs. In 1941, the county's economy revived with the discovery of oil, which provided only short-term financial gains. In addition, rural areas of Wood County received electricity thanks to New Deal programs like the Rural Electrification Administration.

Historical Association/Organization

Museum/Historic Site



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