Athens, the "Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World," is located thirty-five miles west of Tyler on State highways 19 and 31 and U.S. Highway 175 at the center of Henderson County. The county seat of Henderson County was first Buffalo (1846), then Centerville by election (1848), and finally Athens (1850); neither of the first two county seats was within the new county boundaries delineated in 1850. The earliest settlers, E. J. Thompson and Joab McManus, arrived early in 1850. Matthew Cartwright donated 160 acres for a county seat, and the commissioners had Samuel Huffer survey the streets, the city square, and 112 lots. The district court first met in October 1850 under an oak in the square, with Oran Milo Roberts presiding. The first courthouse, a sixty-five-dollar log building, was ready the next month. A jail of hewn logs was built in 1856 on the same site and cost $500. Dulcina A. Holland suggested the name Athens, hoping that the town would become a cultural center.
Athens at a Glance
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Athens by the Numbers
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|12,857||2020||United States Census Bureau|
|13,571||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|12,710||2010||United States Census Bureau|
|11,297||2000||United States Census Bureau|
|10,982||1990||United States Census Bureau|
|10,197||1980||United States Census Bureau|
|9,582||1970||United States Census Bureau|
|7,086||1960||United States Census Bureau|
|5,194||1950||United States Census Bureau|
|4,765||1940||United States Census Bureau|
|4,342||1930||United States Census Bureau|
|3,176||1920||United States Census Bureau|
|2,261||1910||United States Census Bureau|
|500||1870||United States Census Bureau|
|177||1850||United States Census Bureau|