Van Zandt County is on Interstate Highway 20 fifty miles east of Dallas in the Claypan Area of northeastern Texas. The center of the county is at 32° 25' N, 95° 59' W, near the county seat of Canton. Van Zandt County covers 855 square miles, with altitudes ranging from 421 to 573 feet. The Neches River rises in eastern Van Zandt County, and the Sabine River forms part of the northeastern county line. Creeks in the eastern portion of the county are part of the Trinity River watershed. The northwestern third of the county is undulating with gray to black, cracking clayey soils and slightly acidic, light-colored, loamy soils over deep clayey subsoils. The central third has light-colored soils with sandy surfaces over mottled, clayey subsoils. The southeastern third has gently rolling to hilly terrain surfaced by light colored loam over very deep, reddish, clayey subsoils. Natural resources include oil, gas, salt, iron ore, and clays. The eastern two-thirds of the county is in the Post Oak Savannah vegetation area, with tall grasses and post and black jack oak predominating. The western third is in the Blackland Prairies vegetation region, which is characterized by tall grasses, mesquite, and oak, and pecan and elm trees along streams. Wildlife includes eastern gray and fox squirrels, various species of bats and skunks, small herbivores such as gophers, mice, rabbits, and armadillos, as well as raccoons, white-tailed deer, opossums, bobcats, coyotes, and red and grey foxes. Frogs, toads, numerous snake species, including the poisonous copperhead, cottonmouth, coral, and rattlesnake, are found in abundance. The climate is subtropical humid with hot summers. The annual average precipitation is forty-three inches, and the average annual temperature is 65° F. Temperatures in January range from an average low of 33° to an average high of 54° F and in July range from 72° to 97° F. The growing season averages 250 days per year, with the last freeze in mid March and the first freeze in late November.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.