The Gainesville War Memorial at Gainesville, Texas

The Gainesville War Memorial at Gainesville, Texas

The Gainesville War Memorial at Leonard Park in Gainesville, Texas. Photograph by Michael Barera.

Gainesville, county seat of Cooke County, is in the county's approximate geographic center, on Interstate Highway 35 about sixty-seven miles north of Dallas. In the 1840s the first settlers arrived in the area, attracted by the promises of the newly created Peters colony, which offered 640 acres to each head of family and 320 to each single man, plus land for a church in each settlement. In 1850 Gainesville was established on a 40-acre tract donated by Mary E. Clark. At the suggestion of Col. William F. Fitzhugh, commander of a stockade 3½ miles southeast, the town was named in honor of Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines. Gaines, a United States general under whom Fitzhugh had served, had been sympathetic with the Texas Revolution. Gainesville originally consisted of three families who lived in log houses near the banks of Elm Creek. Although Gainesville was made a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route in 1858, Indian attacks retarded the community's growth in its first decade. During the Civil War a controversial trial and hanging of suspected Union loyalists brought the new town to the attention of the state (see GREAT HANGING AT GAINESVILLE).

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.

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Gainesville by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
17,394 2020 United States Census Bureau
16,639 2019 Texas Demographic Center
16,002 2010 United States Census Bureau
15,538 2000 United States Census Bureau
14,256 1990 United States Census Bureau
14,081 1980 United States Census Bureau
13,830 1970 United States Census Bureau
13,083 1960 United States Census Bureau
11,246 1950 United States Census Bureau
9,651 1940 United States Census Bureau
8,915 1930 United States Census Bureau
8,643 1920 United States Census Bureau
7,624 1910 United States Census Bureau
7,874 1900 United States Census Bureau
6,594 1890 United States Census Bureau
2,667 1880 United States Census Bureau