Texas County, largest county in Missouri, is 998.06 square miles of Ozark Highland. Rugged hills, springs, creeks, rivers and caves abound. The area was part of the 1808 Osage Indian Land cession. Though named for the second largest of the fifty states, it exceeds the smallest, Rhode Island. Formally organized on February 14, 1845, it was named for the Republic of Texas. The county seat of justice was laid out in 1846 near the center of the county and named Houston for the first president of the Texas Republic.
The Civil War period was a time of turmoil in Texas County. The populace was predominantly southern. The courthouse was occupied during the war by the Union Army. Houston was an important place on the route between federal headquarters in Springfield and Rolla. Some skirmishes were fought here. Confederate soldiers, stormed the town, burning every building. Before the courthouse was burned, the county records were taken to a cave on Arthurs Creek. All the books were safely returned after the conflict.
Pioneers came to Texas County in the 1820's from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Some setting up sawmills along the Big Piney River. The timber industry has always played a very vital part in the economy of the county. In the northwest part of the county some
Back Side48,000 acres are now part of the Mark Twain National Forest, also several acres in the southeast part of the county are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park. They homesteaded the fertile valleys and soon log cabins dotted the county. Small family farms are still a major part of the landscape. The first Federal Census of Texas County in 1850 was 2,312 citizens. The pioneer raised his own provisions and with his trusty gun he could shoot various wild game. He hunted, trapped and sold furs to traveling buyers. Livestock was limited. In the early 1900's farmers grew small crops, a few cattle, hogs, etc. It is now beef and dairy country with some feeder pig production.
Early social activities centered around church and school. Community activities included old time hoedowns, candy pullings, corn huskings, barn warmings, quilting bees, and log rolling. Arts and crafts continue to enter into lives of many. People still gather for church activities, auctions, musicals, square dancing and sports of all kind. Like the early pioneers, fishing and floating our rivers are very much a part of living in our county. Hunting is enjoyed by many and the county is one of the leading counties statewide for deer and turkey. Small game is abundant.
Education has always been very important to county residents. The rural one room school houses
have vanished. Students are transported to one of the ten school districts serving the county. College courses are offered in our communities.
Incorporated communities are the Cities of Cabool, Houston, and Licking, parts of the Cities of Summersville, and Mountain Grove, and the Village of Raymondville. The 1990 Federal Census of Texas County was 21,476 citizens.
Texas County with its moderate climate has become a place many people come to retire. Its rural environment, fine education systems, good churches, great hunting and fishing, community spirit, businesses, industry, and the beauty of the area make this a desirable place to live.
Texas County people are a different breed, the most friendly and caring people in God's universe.
Authorized June 1994 by the Texas County Commission:
For dedication February 14, 1995
Texas County Sesquicentennial Celebration
Betty Sue Crow · Charles Hartman · Ray D. Clayton
Donald R. Troutman, County Clerk