Athens, Texas

Athens, Texas

The City Hall in the Athens, the seat of Henderson County, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

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.

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.

Belongs to

Athens is part of or belongs to the following places.

Adopt a Town

The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town, county, or lake of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.

Great Texas Land Rush logo
Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until May 1, 2024
Adopted by:
Afred Smith, Marine Smith & Donald Lyles
Dedication Message:
In memory of Alfred Smith, Junior & Earl Lawrence

Currently Exists


Place type

Athens is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Alvin)


  • Latitude

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Proud to call Texas home?

Put your name on the town, county, or lake of your choice.

Search Places »

Athens by the Numbers

This is some placeholder text that we should either remove or replace with a brief summary about this particular metric. For example, "We update population counts once per year..."

Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
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