Canton, Texas

Canton, Texas

View of the Historic Main Street of Canton, the seat of Van Zandt County, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.
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Promotion: Nearby Van Zandt County

Canton, the county seat of Van Zandt County, is on State highways 19 and 64 on the Mill Creek tributary of the Sabine River, fourteen miles southeast of Wills Point in the central part of the county. The site, originally in Henderson County, was surveyed as early as 1840 by a company of men under Dr. W. P. King. The community stands on the original survey of Jesse Stockwell, who arrived in the area at that time. No settlement was made until 1850, when the town was laid out and named by settlers moving from Old Canton in Smith County. The first district courthouse at Canton opened in 1850, and a post office, the county's fourth, was established in that year.

When the Texas and Pacific Railway built across the county in 1872, it missed Canton by ten miles, and citizens of Wills Point persuaded the county officials to move the county seat there. In the resulting dispute residents of Canton in 1877 went armed to Wills Point to get the records back, and the county judge wired Governor Richard B. Hubbard for aid. The Supreme Court of Texas finally decided in favor of Canton. Unwilling to use the railroad at Wills Point, Canton businessmen established Edgewood, ten miles to the northwest of town, and built an extension to the railroad at a siding formerly called Stevenson.

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Diana J. Kleiner | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Canton is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Canton is classified as a Town


Latitude: 32.55260490
Longitude: -95.86482900

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »