Near Van in Van Zandt County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
The Free State of Van Zandt
Pioneer nickname appropriate to this area’s many freedoms–particularly from want and fear. (Food was obtained with little effort; and although the Indians fought white men here as late as 1842, the settlers by 1847 slept in the open with no dread of Indians or wild animals.) According to tradition, Van Zandt County (created 1848) also by a legal accident had freedom from sharing debts of its parent county, Henderson–and was proud of that unusual advantage.
Other parts of Texas share “Free State” traditions. An 1826 “Republic of Fredonia” was proclaimed in Nacogdoches and endured for a few weeks. Along the Mexican border, citizens maintained in 1839-1840 the “Republic of the Rio Grande”. Because it developed great self-reliance in recurring border troubles, Hidalgo County called itself a republic, 1852-1872. A Panhandle county formed the secessionist “Free State of Ochiltree” in the 1890's.
All secessions have been brief. When Texas in 1845 voted to become a part of the United States, it was given (but declined) the right to become five states. Such movements as
Erected 1968 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 11413.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1842.
Location. 32° 30.92′ N, 95° 41.21′ W. Marker is near Van, Texas, in Van Zandt County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 20 at milepost 538, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located at a rest area on the I-20 westbound lanes between Exits 540 and 537; marker can only be accessed from the westbound lanes of the freeway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Van TX 75790, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Brady P. Gentry (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of the Neches (about 700 feet away); Morgan G. Sanders (approx. 4.9 miles away); Alamo Institute (approx. 4.9 miles away); Ben Wheeler Community (approx. 5 miles away); Van Zandt County (approx. 9.8 miles away); Van Zandt County Poor Farm (approx. 10.4 miles away); Hillcrest Cemetery (approx. 10.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Van.
Also see . . .
1. Van Zandt County, Texas - Wikipedia entry(Submitted on June 19, 2015.)
2. Free State of Van Zandt. From the Texas State Historical Association’s “Handbook of Texas Online”. (Submitted on June 19, 2015.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 19, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 405 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 19, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.