“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Canton in Van Zandt County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Canton: The Misplaced County Seat

Canton: The Misplaced County Seat Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, November 20, 2021
1. Canton: The Misplaced County Seat Marker
Inscription.  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
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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.
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13032.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1850.
Location. 32° 33.465′ N, 95° 51.753′ W. Marker is in Canton, Texas, in Van Zandt County. Marker is at the intersection of Groves Street and North Capitol Street, on the right when traveling west on Groves Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Canton TX 75103, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Monday Trades Day (here, next to this marker); Dixie Hotel (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hillcrest Cemetery (about 500 feet away); Caldwell Walton Raines (about 500 feet away); Oran Milo Roberts (about
Canton: The Misplaced County Seat Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, November 20, 2021
2. Canton: The Misplaced County Seat Marker
500 feet away); Site of 1896 Van Zandt County Courthouse (about 500 feet away); Van Zandt County Courthouse (about 600 feet away); Isaac and Frances Van Zandt (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Canton.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 29, 2021, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas. This page has been viewed 185 times since then and 84 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 29, 2021, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas.

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Nov. 28, 2023