Pioneers settled this locality in the 1840's. In 1846 the Texas Legislature created Denton County — one of several carved from the Peters Colony grant. After trying other sites, the voters in 1856 accepted for county seat this tract donated by Hiram Cisco, William Loving, and William Woodruff. The city and county were named for John B. Denton (1806-41), a minister killed while defending frontier settlers. Woodruff, fellow surveyor C.C. Lacy, and attorney Otis Welch platted the townsite. In 1857 city lots were auctioned, the post office opened, and a church founded. J.M. Blount, Joseph A. Carroll, W.F. Egan, and I.D. Ferguson were pioneer leaders. A cotton gin and plants for making bricks, corn meal, flour and ice soon developed. The "Monitor," a newspaper, began its career in 1868. Sam Bass (1851-78), legendary western outlaw, trained and raced "The Denton Mare" while living and working as a local farm hand. North Texas State University originated here as Texas Normal College in 1890, and Texas Women's University opened in 1903 as the College of Industrial Arts. Agriculture-related businesses, education, and small factories sustain the economy. The city grew from 1,194 in its first census (1880) to 39,874 by 1970.