Cass County


This information was taken from the 1975 Cass County Genealogical Society, Vol. II #2, pg. 3-6.


In the early nineteenth century the Red River valley was the only entry into Texas from the north. In 1836, the valley south of the Red River was given the most natural, logical name: RED RIVER COUNTY. Many settlers in this area were old timers long before Stephen F. Austin brought his first colonists into Texas. A second generation was already growing up along the Red when the county was formed.

This new county was as big as many states and even larger than some countries. It covered so much of northeast Texas that today some thirty counties exist which were once a part of the original Red River County.

The first Red River courthouse (1828) was located in the second story of a general store in Old Jonesboro which was 16 miles northwest of Clarksville. Jonesboro was a port on the Red River. It was called the Courthouse of Miller County, Arkansas, because at the time it was thought that this area was in Arkansas.

In 1837 the courthouse was moved to LaGrange - six miles away. Then eight months later it was moved into a new log structure in the public square at Clarksville. Lawsuits over boundary disputes, debts, slaves and supply shipments were endless. The courthouse at Clarksville was a hubbub of activity. It became a mecca for young, adventurous lawyers. The nearest judicial district was 200 miles away at Nacogdoches.

Clarksville was incorporated on 29 December 1837, by an act of the Congress of the Republic of Texas. On an 1841 map Clarksville was the only town marked at all in northeast Texas. Its population in 1844 was 600.

In 1840 Bowie County was created and consisted of what is now Bowie and Cass Co. plus a portion of present Marion County. In 1846 Cass County was created and it consisted of what is now Cass and that part of Marion which lies north of the middle of Big Cypress Bayou and the middle of Caddo Lake.

The specific boundaries outlined in the 25 April 1846 act creating Cass County were: beginning at the middle of the Big Cypress at the mouth of Boggy Creak (about nine miles south of Daingerfield), five miles east to the line dividing Bowie and Red River Counties, due north to the Sulphur Fork of the Red River, down the middle of Sulphur River to the old United States line, due south to the middle of Lake Soda (Caddo Lake), up the middle of the Lake where the Cypress falls into the lake (one and one-half miles west of Jefferson), up the Big Cypress to the mouth of Boggy Creek and the place of beginning.

In 1860 Marion County was formed from the southern portion of Cass County and a small area from the northern part of Harrison County.

Cass County was named in honor of United States Senator Lewis Cass from Michigan who advocated the annexation of Texas. In 1861 the name of the county was changed to Davis in honor of Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy, but was renamed Cass in 1871.

When Cass County was created, a temporary courthouse was established at a tavern house of William Perry in the town of Jefferson. This was to serve as a seat for the administration of justice until a suitable structure could be erected for that purpose.

From the First Book of Minutes of County Court of Cass County covering the period of 1846 to 1852, the following: Pages 1 through 5 - "Jefferson ? House of William Perry, 23 July 1846. Court opened by H.M. ? Clark acting as Chief Justice by act of the Assembly of the State of Texas. Where upon it is declared by said Chief Justice that O.H. King is duly elected Chief Justice in the County of Cass, State of Texas........"

These minutes are quite difficult to read, but they contain a wealth of information regarding the earliest Cass County Commissioner's Court. The following names appeared on the fly leaf of the First Book: O.J. King, Chief Justice; John Willson, Robert Asbury (Asbery, Asberry), T.J. (or T.F.) Richey (Richie) and James Terrel, County Commissioners; John C. Rhea, Sheriff; R.C. Graham, County Clerk; John C. Evrett and M.D. Rogez ? County Attorneys.

These officials were sworn in at the first meeting of the Court on 23 July 1846. The court convened again at 8 A.M. on 24 July 1846. During those early weeks, they met frequently and for many hours at each session.

On page 237 of the same book: "Oct, the 6th 1851 - Call Session. And now at the time it appearing to the Court that an election was held in the County of Cass in pursuance to an order of the Honorable Jesse Denson Chief Justice of said county on the 13th day of September A.D. 1851 for the purpose of removing the County Seat of said county from this town of Jefferson - and it further appearing that afterwards on the 23rd day of September A.D. 1851 the return day of said election the said Chief Justice decided that the Town of Jefferson received for County Seat 156 votes and the Town of Linden received 256 votes and that the Town of Linden had received a majority of one hundred votes and it further appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that the Town of Linden is situated within five miles of the center of said County and that it received a majority of all the votes - it is therefore ordered and decreed by the court that the Town of Linden is duly elected County Seat of the County of Cass and that the County Seat of said County be removed from said Town of Jefferson to said Town of Linden and that the Town of Linden aforesaid be established the permanent County Seat of said County. It is further ordered by the Court that the archives of said County of Cass be and remain at the Town of Jefferson and that the Courts to be held in said Town of Jefferson until otherwise ordered by the Court."

In the Second Book of Minutes dated 1852-1868, the following is found on pages 5 and 6: "Ordered by the Court that the District Clerk, County Clerk, County Surveyor and Sheriff of Cass County and all other officers required by law to hold their offices at the County Seat be required to remove their respective offices to the Town of Linden on or before the last Thursday in May 1852 to the double house (?) formally built by Henry Collins which is hereby declared to be the Court House of the County of Cass."

And so it was that the 965 square miles now known as Cass County came to be: neutral ground between French Louisiana the Spanish Mexico prior to 1824; Paschal County under a Spanish Regime from 1824 to 1836; Red River County under the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1840; Bowie County under the Republic of Texas from 1840 to 1845; Bowie County in the State of Texas from 1845 to 1846; Cass County in the State of Texas from 1846 to 1861; Davis County in the State of Texas from 1861 to 1871; then renamed Cass County in 1871 and has remained so since that time.


The Texas Almanac, 1947-1948; A.H. Belo Corporation, Dallas
Red River Dust; Eugene Bowers & Evelyn Oppenheimer, Word Books, Waco, 1968
Monterey (?), D.H. Boon, Linden, 1973
Records, County Clerk's Office, Linden, Texas

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