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Van Zandt County was established by the legislature in 1848 from part of Henderson County and named for Republic of Texas leader Isaac Van Zandt. Sabine Lake (Jordan's Saline) was named the county seat, a crude log courthouse was built, and court was held for the first time in December 1848. In 1850 Wood County was carved out of Van Zandt County, and the Van Zandt county seat was moved to Canton.

Throughout the 1880s and 1890s the county was buffeted by a succession of farm and associated political movements, including the Grange, Greenback Party, and the Farmers' Alliance. The People's Party, which ran on a strong pro-farmer platform, was particularly influential, and by 1892 the local chapter had 300 members. Van Zandt County was also the home base for Democratic reformer James Stephen Hogg, who had served as district attorney for the district including Van Zandt County from 1881 to 1884.

The decades of the 1880s and 1890s were a time of internal improvements. A public school system was inaugurated, and between 1887 and 1890 twenty-five new schools were constructed. Telephone service began 1892, and in 1896 a new courthouse was dedicated.

Cities and towns

Ben Wheeler (unincorporated)

Grand Saline
Martin's Mill (unincorporated)
Wills Point


State Bird

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Surrounding Counties

Rains County (north)

Wood County (northeast)

Smith County (east)

Henderson County (south)

Kaufman County (west)

Hunt County (northwest)

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