Anderson County, Texas

Coordinates: 31°49′N 95°39′W / 31.81°N 95.65°W / 31.81; -95.65
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anderson County
The Anderson County Courthouse in Palestine
Map of Texas highlighting Anderson County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 31°49′N 95°39′W / 31.81°N 95.65°W / 31.81; -95.65
Country United States
State Texas
FoundedMarch 24, 1846
Named forKenneth L. Anderson
Largest cityPalestine
 • Total1,078 sq mi (2,790 km2)
 • Land1,063 sq mi (2,750 km2)
 • Water15 sq mi (40 km2)  1.4%
 • Total57,922
 • Density54/sq mi (21/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district6th

Anderson County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. Located within East Texas, its county seat is Palestine.[1] As of the 2020 United States census, the population of Anderson County was 57,922.[2] Anderson County comprises the Palestine micropolitan statistical area. Anderson County was organized in 1846, and was named after Kenneth Lewis Anderson (1805-1845), the last vice president of the Republic of Texas.


Native Americans[edit]

Native Americans friendly to the settlers resided in East Texas[3] before the Kiowa, Kickapoo, Kichai, Apache, and Comanche relocated to the territory.[4] These tribes hunted, farmed the land, and were adept traders. By 1772, they had settled on the Brazos at Waco and on the Trinity upstream from present Palestine. The Tawakoni branch of Wichita Indians originated north of Texas,[5] but migrated south into East Texas. From 1843 onward, the Tawakoni were part of treaties made by both the Republic of Texas and the United States.

On May 19, 1836, an alliance of Comanche, Kiowa, Caddo, and Wichita attacked Fort Parker (Limestone County), killing and taking settlers captive. The survivors escaped to Fort Houston, which had been erected in Anderson County in 1835 as protection against Indians.[6][7] Some early residents of Anderson County were related to Cynthia Ann Parker, who was among the captives.[8]

In October 1838, Gen. Thomas Jefferson Rusk conducted a raid against hostile Indians at Kickapoo, near Frankston.[9] This ended the engagements with the Indians in East Texas for that year.

Anglo settlement[edit]

In 1826, empresario David G. Burnet received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 300 families in what is now Anderson County.[10] Most of the settlers came from the southern states and Missouri.

Baptist leader Daniel Parker[11] and eight other men organized the Pilgrim Predestinarian Regular Baptist Church in Lamotte, Illinois in 1833. This entire group migrated to the Texas frontier, arriving in Austins Colony in November 1833,[11] and establishing Fort Parker (Limestone County) in 1834. In October 1834, in consequence of "their members were becoming scattered in a wilderness," the Church agreed to adjourn until the majority of their members settled.[12]

After the Texas Revolution and the attack on Fort Parker, Daniel Parker and some of the survivors moved to Fort Houston (Anderson County).[13] They established a new community south of the fort.


The First Legislature of the State of Texas formed Anderson County from Houston County on March 24, 1846. The county was named for Kenneth Lewis Anderson. Palestine was named the county seat.[14]

Anderson County voted for secession from the Union.[15] When the American Civil War began, former Palestine district judge Judge John H. Reagan[16] served in the cabinet of the Confederate government as postmaster general, being captured at the end of the war and spending 22 months in solitary confinement. During Reconstruction, District Nine Court Judge Reuben A. Reeves,[17] a resident of Palestine, was removed from office as "an obstruction to Reconstruction" in part because of his refusal to allow blacks to participate as jurors in the judicial process.

In 1875, the International – Great Northern Railroad[18] placed its machine and repair shops and general offices in Palestine, causing the community to double in size over the next 5 years. For a time, it was a rough railroad town, dominated by male workers.

White violence against blacks occurred in the county, most frequently by lynchings of black men. But in July 1910, at least 22 blacks were killed in white rioting near Slocum, a majority-black community, in what is called the Slocum Massacre. Racial and economic tensions had been high in the post-Reconstruction era and southern states had disenfranchised blacks and imposed Jim Crow in furtherance of white supremacy.[19] Anderson County tied for 13th place in a list of the 25 American counties with the highest number of lynchings between 1877 and 1950 (all were located in the South).[20]

Oral tradition in the African-American community holds that as many as 200 blacks may have been killed in the massacre. An estimated 200 whites rioted and attacked blacks on the roads, in the fields, and in Slocum on July 29–30, 1910. Many black homes were burned, and black families fled for their lives, having to abandon their property and assets. This town is about 20 miles east of the county seat at Palestine.[21]

At the time, as was usual, white newspapers described such events as a "race riot" by blacks. Texas newspapers had contributed to problems by reporting false rumors that 200 blacks were arming. Afterward, 11 men were arrested and seven were indicted, including James Spurger, said by many to be the instigator, but no prosecution resulted. The massacre had been preceded by racial tensions, rumors, and, for 6 months, at least one lynching per month of Blacks in East Texas.[21]

In January 2016, the state installed a highway historical marker in Slocum to recognize this unprovoked white attack on the black community.[22] It was part of a history of white violence against blacks.

In 1926, the Humble Oil and Refining Company, in partnership with the Rio Bravo Company, started an exploration drilling program along Boggy Creek, in what turned our to be the Boggy Creek salt dome. On 19 March 1927, the Elliott and Clark No. 1 encountered the Woodbine Formation at a depth of 3,838 feet (1,170 m) and produced 62 barrels of oil per hour, but showed salt water after producing only 15,000 barrels. On 10 November 1927, the Elliott and Clark No. 2, 150 feet to the west, was completed as a gas well. On 4 February 1928, the first oil-producing well in Anderson County, the Humble-Lizzie Smith No. 1, was completed, producing 80 BOPD. By May 1931, 80 wells had been drilled in the Boggy Creek Oil Field, 6 of which produced gas, 33 oil, and 41 were dry holes.[23][24][25]

The Fairway Oil Field was discovered in 1960, and straddles the border of Anderson and Henderson Counties. Oil is produced from the Lower Cretaceous James Limestone member of the Pearsall formation.[26]

The Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area was purchased by the state between 1950 and 1960,[27] much of it formerly owned by Milze L. Derden. The area was renamed in 1952 for Gus A. Engeling, the first state biologist assigned to the area who was killed by a poacher on December 13, 1951.


Farm to Market Road 315 north of Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, USA (April 2017)

Anderson County is situated at the threshold of two ecoregions, the piney woods to the east, and the East Central Texas forests, also referred to as post oak savanna to the west. The terrain of Anderson County consists of hills carved by drainages and gullies, with numerous lakes and ponds. The Trinity River flows southward along the west boundary line of the county; the Neches River flows southward along its east boundary line, and Brushy Creek flows southeastward through the central portion of the county.[28] The terrain slopes to the south and east, with its highest points along the midpoint of its northern boundary line at 551 ft (168 m) ASL.[29] The county has a total area of 1,078 square miles (2,790 km2), of which 1,063 square miles (2,750 km2) are land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.4%) are covered by water.[30]

The county is wholly located within area codes 430 and 903.[31][32]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Protected areas[edit]


  • Big Twin Lake
  • Cox Lake
  • Crystal Lake
  • Hudson Lake
  • Lake Dogwood
  • Lake Frankston
  • Lost Prairie Lake
  • Pineywoods Lake
  • Spring Lake
  • Williams Lake





Unincorporated areas[edit]

Ghost towns[edit]

Population ranking[edit]

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2020 census of Anderson County.[33]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census) 1 Palestine City 57,496 2 'Elkart Town 1,299 3 Frankston 1,170


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[34]
1850–2010[35] 2010-2020[36]
Demographic profile of Anderson County, Texas
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race and ethnicity Pop 2010[37] Pop 2020[36] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 35,792 33,098 61.23% 57.14%
Black or African American alone (NH) 12,222 11,430 20.91% 19.73%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 192 193 0.33% 0.33%
Asian alone (NH) 283 381 0.48% 0.66%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 16 13 0.03% 0.02%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 37 113 0.06% 0.20%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 629 1,583 1.08% 2.73%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 9,287 11,111 15.89% 19.18%
Total 58,458 57,922 100.00% 100.00%

From its initial population of 2,684 in 1850, Anderson County's population increased to 55,109 people at the 2000 U.S. census.[38] By the publication of the 2020 United States census, its population further grew to 57,922,[36] though the 2020 tabulation is a decline of negative 0.9% from 2010's 58,458 residents at the 2010 U.S. census.

Among the growing population of Anderson county, its racial and ethnic makeup has remained predominantly non-Hispanic or non-Latino white, although its Hispanic and Latino American population of any race increased to consist of more than 11,000 residents as of 2020; the increase in Hispanic and Latino American residency reflected nationwide trends of diversification since the 2020 census.[39][40] Of note, its African American communities have remained relatively the same, though experiencing a slight decline; multiracial Americans have increased to 2.73% of the population.

Consisting of 16,555 households according to the 2020 American Community Survey's 5-year estimates,[41] there was a homeownership rate of 71.5%. Among the population, the median gross rent was $829 against the statewide median of $1,082.[42] The median value of an owner-occupied housing unit was $110,000, and the median mortgage was $1,102; housing units without a mortgage had a median monthly cost of $441.[when?] In 2000, there were 15,678 households, 34.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% were not families. About 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.[when?]

In 2000, the median income for a household in the county was $31,957, and for a family was $37,513. Males had a median income of $27,070 versus $21,577 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,838. About 12.70% of families and 16.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.60% of those under age 18 and 16.60% of those age 65 or over. In 2020, its median household income grew to $45,847 and 14.1% of the population lived at or below the poverty line.[41] The impoverished communities in Anderson County consisted of 21.5% of residents under the age of 18, and 9.9% were aged 65 and older.

Government and politics[edit]


Anderson County is governed by a commissioners' court. It consists of the county judge, who is elected at-large and presides over the full court, and four commissioners, who are elected from the county's four single-member precincts.[43][44]

County commissioners[edit]

Office Name Party
  County judge Robert D. Johnston Republican
  Precinct 1 Greg Chapin Republican
  Precinct 2 Rashad Mims Democratic
  Precinct 3 Kenneth Dickson Republican
  Precinct 4 Joey Hill Republican


County officials[edit]

Office Name Party
  County clerk Mark Staples Republican
  Criminal district attorney Allyson Mitchell Republican
  District clerk Teresa Coker Republican
  Sheriff W. R. (Rudy) Flores Republican
  Tax assessor-collector Teri Garvey Hanks Republican
  Treasurer Tara Holliday Republican



Office Name Party
  Precinct 1 David Franklin
  Precinct 2 Doug Lightfoot Republican
  Precinct 3 Kim Dickson Republican
  Precinct 4 James Muniz Republican


State prisons[edit]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates state prisons for men in the county. The prisons Beto, Coffield, Michael, and Powledge units and the Gurney Unit transfer facility are located in an unincorporated area 7 miles (11 km) west of Palestine.[45] The Beto Unit has the Correctional Institutions Division Region II maintenance headquarters.[46]


Justices of the peace[edit]

Office Name Party
  Precinct 1

DeMarcus Cousins to 3rd

  Precinct 2 Carl Davis Democratic
  Precinct 3 James Todd Republican
  Precinct 4 James Westley Republican


County court at law[edit]

Jeff Doran, a Republican, is the judge of the county court at law. [43][44]

District courts[edit]

Office Name Party
  3rd district court Mark Calhoon Republican
  87th district court Deborah Oakes Evans Republican
  349th district court Pam Foster Fletcher Republican
  369th district court Michael Davis Republican



Anderson is a strongly Republican county, voting Republican in every election since 1980 (as of 2020). The county last voted Democratic in 1976, when Jimmy Carter won 57% of the county's votes. Hillary Clinton managed to win just 19.8% of the vote in the county, the least of any presidential candidate since 1944.

United States presidential election results for Anderson County, Texas[47]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 15,110 78.59% 3,955 20.57% 162 0.84%
2016 13,201 77.76% 3,369 19.84% 407 2.40%
2012 12,262 75.64% 3,813 23.52% 137 0.85%
2008 11,884 71.35% 4,630 27.80% 141 0.85%
2004 11,525 70.70% 4,678 28.70% 98 0.60%
2000 9,835 65.22% 5,041 33.43% 204 1.35%
1996 6,458 48.19% 5,693 42.49% 1,249 9.32%
1992 5,598 38.70% 5,322 36.79% 3,546 24.51%
1988 7,858 55.95% 6,128 43.63% 59 0.42%
1984 8,634 64.32% 4,747 35.36% 42 0.31%
1980 5,970 52.69% 5,163 45.57% 197 1.74%
1976 4,172 42.94% 5,499 56.60% 44 0.45%
1972 5,826 72.24% 2,233 27.69% 6 0.07%
1968 2,828 29.86% 3,447 36.40% 3,196 33.75%
1964 3,362 41.10% 4,809 58.78% 10 0.12%
1960 3,642 52.16% 3,296 47.21% 44 0.63%
1956 4,181 60.47% 2,710 39.20% 23 0.33%
1952 4,637 57.18% 3,462 42.69% 10 0.12%
1948 1,199 23.07% 3,242 62.37% 757 14.56%
1944 467 8.53% 4,342 79.32% 665 12.15%
1940 688 11.51% 5,281 88.37% 7 0.12%
1936 289 7.15% 3,749 92.80% 2 0.05%
1932 259 5.60% 4,354 94.10% 14 0.30%
1928 1,814 50.94% 1,747 49.06% 0 0.00%
1924 562 47.19% 374 31.40% 255 21.41%
1920 323 8.23% 2,355 59.98% 1,248 31.79%
1916 501 18.71% 1,984 74.11% 192 7.17%
1912 444 19.38% 1,737 75.82% 110 4.80%


These school districts serve areas in Anderson County:


Anderson County is part of the Dallas/Fort Worth DMA. Local TV media outlets include: KDFW-TV, KXAS-TV, WFAA-TV, KTVT-TV, KERA-TV, KTXA-TV, KDFI-TV, and KDAF-TV. Other nearby TV stations that provide coverage for Anderson County come from the Tyler/Longview/Jacksonville market and they include: KLTV, KTRE-TV, KYTX-TV, KFXK-TV, and KETK-TV.

Newspapers serving Anderson County include the Palestine Herald-Press in Palestine and the weekly online Frankston Citizen in Frankston.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • E.R. Bills wrote The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas (2014) about white mobs rioting and killing at least 22 blacks in Anderson County in July 1910, and driving off hundreds more.[21]


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Anderson County, Texas". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Moore, R. Edward. "East Texas Indian Lands". Texas Indians. Archived from the original on April 17, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2010. R. E. Moore and Texarch Associates
  4. ^ "The Passing of the Indian Era". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas Beyond History
  5. ^ Krieger, Margery H.: Tawakoni Indians from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  6. ^ "Fort Houston, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  7. ^ Watts, Mrs. Harmon: Fort Houston from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  8. ^ Exley, Jo Ella Powell (2009). Frontier Blood: The Saga of the Parker Family. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-60344-109-4.
  9. ^ "Frankston, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  10. ^ "Empresario Contracts in the Colonization of Texas 1825-1834". Texas A & M University. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Wallace L. McKeehan,
  11. ^ a b Bowman, Bob. "The Parker Family: Daniel Parker". Texas Escapes. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  12. ^ Hohes, Pauline Buck (1936). A centennial history of Anderson County, Texas. San Antonio, Tex.: Naylor Co. p. 90.
  13. ^ Caraway, Georgia Kemp. "Anderson County". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  14. ^ "Palestine, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  15. ^ Bradberry Jr, Forrest E. "Anderson County in the Civil War". Palestine Herald Press. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  16. ^ Procter, Ben H.: Reagan, John Henninger from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  17. ^ Caraway, Georgia Kemp: Reeves, Reuben A. from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  18. ^ Werner, George C.: International-Great Northern Railroad from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  19. ^ Lynching in America, Third Edition: Supplement by County Archived October 23, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, p. 9, Equal Justice Initiative, Mobile AL (2017)
  20. ^ Josh Marshall, "The History of Lynching and Racial Terror", Talking Points Memo, February 10, 2015; accessed May 15, 2018
  21. ^ a b c David Martin Davies, "Should Texas Remember Or Forget The Slocum Massacre?", Texas Public Radio, January 16, 2015; accessed May 15, 2018
  22. ^ Tim Madigan (January 16, 2016). "Texas marks racial slaughter more than a century later". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  23. ^ McLELLAN, H.J.; WENDLANDT, E.A.; MURCHISON, E.A. (1932). "BOGGY CREEK SALT DOME, ANDERSON AND CHEROKEE COUNTIES, TEXAS". GeoScience World. AAPG. pp. 584–600. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  24. ^ Eaton, R.W. (1950). "Boggy Creek Field, in University of Texas Publication No. 5116: Occurrence of Oil and Gas in Northeast Texas". AAPG Datapages. AAPG. pp. 29–34. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  25. ^ Caraway, Georgia Kemp: Anderson County from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  26. ^ Terriere, Robert (1976). Braunstein, Jules (ed.). Geology of Fairway Field, East Texas, in North American Oil and Gas Fields. Tulsa: The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. pp. 157–176. ISBN 0891813004.
  27. ^ "Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archived from the original on April 3, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  28. ^ a b Anderson County TX Google Maps (accessed 12 February 2019)
  29. ^ ""Find an Altitude" Google Maps (accessed 12 February 2019)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  30. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census B. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  31. ^ Texas Area Codes - Cities & Prefixes - Area Code 430, Public Utility Commission of Texas website, retrieved July 30, 2015.
  32. ^ Texas Area Codes - Cities & Prefixes - Area Code 903, Public Utility Commission of Texas website, retrieved July 30, 2015.
  33. ^ Bureau, US Census. "Decennial Census by Decades". The United States Census Bureau.
  34. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  35. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  36. ^ a b c "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Anderson County, Texass". United States Census Bureau.
  37. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Anderson County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  38. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  39. ^ Frey, William H. (August 13, 2021). "New 2020 census results show increased diversity countering decade-long declines in America's white and youth populations". Brookings. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  40. ^ Tavernise, Sabrina; Gebeloff, Robert (August 12, 2021). "Census Shows Sharply Growing Numbers of Hispanic, Asian and Multiracial Americans". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  41. ^ a b "Geography Profile: Anderson County, Texas". Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  42. ^ "2020 Selected Housing Characteristics". Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g "". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g "Counties: Anderson - Texas State Directory Online". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  45. ^ Powledge Unit Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  46. ^ Beto Unit Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  47. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". Retrieved July 19, 2018.

External links[edit]

31°49′N 95°39′W / 31.81°N 95.65°W / 31.81; -95.65