By Teresa Holloway and Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – There are only 49 counties (Louisiana has parishes) in the United States which can claim the distinction of being the oldest in their state. There are even fewer with the rich history of Houston County and it’s the only one with the honor of being oldest county in Texas.
According to the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), “In 1837 the boundaries of Houston County were laid out and its government was organized. It was named for President Sam Houston, who signed the order establishing the county on June 12, 1837. Upon its formation in 1837, Houston County included the territory that later became Trinity and Anderson counties and part of Henderson County. Land was donated for the county seat by Andrew E. Gossett, who named it for his father’s friend and former Tennessee neighbor, David Crockett. Collin Aldrich was first chief justice; George Aldrich, county surveyor; James Madden, sheriff; and Stephen White, clerk of the district court.”
Legend has it that Crockett camped in the area in 1836 on his way to the Alamo in San Antonio and the proximity of the El Camino Real, near Crockett’s campsite, was a major factor in deciding where to locate the city of Crockett, established in December of 1839, according to the TSHA.
While it certainly isn’t easy these days, it was undoubtedly more difficult in the past. For all the infrastructure problems, tax hikes, bad roads, hospital transitions and other trials endured by this generation, at least the residents aren’t all huddled together in a log courthouse with arrows sticking out of the building’s exterior.
Not surprisingly, the Houston County Courthouse is still an emergency shelter and conveniently enough, several major Texas roads lead straight to the historic landmark including U.S. Hwy 287 and state highways 7, 19 and 21.
While there are no current events planned to celebrate the 180th Birthday of Houston County, please join us in sending a big Happy Birthday to the oldest county in Texas!!
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.