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Home Texas Van-zandt County Canton Canton: The Misplaced County Seat

Canton: The Misplaced County Seat

  Texas Historical Markers
Groves, Capitol, Canton, TX, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 32° 33' 28.2682999998", -95° 51' 47.64481999992"
    Texas State
Historical Marker
    The Texas Legislature created Van Zandt County in 1848. It originally included nearly 2,000 square miles of territory. Jordan's Saline, now Grand Saline, was near the county's geographic location and became the first seat of government. Two years later, with the creation of Wood County from part of Van Zandt, officials had to select a new county seat based on the changed boundaries. In December 1850, the Commissioners Court purchased 320 acres of land from Obey W. Owens and sent a surveyor to determine the right site for the new town of Canton. Officials soon built a courthouse, jail and post office in the new town, but in less than three years the county discovered an error in the survey. The new county seat was actually two-and-a-half miles from the county's land. Canton, it turned out, was on property owned by John George Woldert. He donated 160 acres of land to the county in January 1853, however, to avert the legal crisis. Despite Woldert's generosity, which meant county officials did not have to move the county seat or pay him for the mistake, many Van Zandt County residents were unhappy with the situation and wanted Canton relocated to the site as originally planned. So great was the resentment that following construction of a brick courthouse in 1857, county voters elected officials who refused to pay for the building for many years. The debt was finally resolved in 1880. Today, Van Zandt's county seat remains on the wrong site. Since the surveying mistake more than 150 years ago, though, the city of Canton has grown into a regional commercial center, known most notably for its First Monday Trade Days. (2004)

This page last updated: 8/23/2009 23:31:18

Canton: The Misplaced County Seat Historical Marker Location Map, Texas