Jefferson, Marion County, Texas

Jefferson, Marion County, Texas

The Historic Post Office in the city of Jefferson is one of the most iconic landmarks in Marion County, Texas. Photograph by Renelibrary.
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Map of Marion County

Jefferson, the county seat of Marion County, is at the junction of U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 49, on Big Cypress Creek and Caddo Lake in the south central portion of the county. It was named for Thomas Jefferson when it was founded in the early 1840s by Allen Urquhart and Daniel Alley. In the late 1830s Urquhart, who immigrated to Texas from North Carolina, received a headright on a bend in the creek; he laid out a townsite there around 1842. At about the same time Alley obtained a 586-acre parcel adjacent to Urquhart's survey and laid out additional streets that became known as Alley's Addition. In contrast to most other town planners of the time, who arranged their plans around a central square, Urquhart laid out the town along Big Cypress Creek, with its streets running at right angles to the bayou. Alley's streets, on the other hand, followed the points of the compass. The intersection of the two plans gave the town its distinctive V-shaped layout. As the westernmost outpost for navigation on the Red River, Jefferson quickly developed into an important riverport. The first steamboat, the Llama, reached Jefferson in late 1843 or early 1844. A post office was established in 1846, and the town was incorporated in March 20, 1848, though because of various delays a city charter was not adopted until 1850. In the same year the town adopted the aldermanic form of city government. In 1846 Jefferson became the county seat of Cass County, upon that county's separation from Bowie County, and served as such until Linden became county seat in 1852. A Methodist church was organized in 1844, followed by the Presbyterian church between 1846 and 1850 and the Baptist church in 1855. The first newspaper, the Jefferson Democrat, was printed in 1847, and the following year the Jimplecute, the town's longest-running and most influential paper, made its appearance.

During the late 1840s efforts were made to clear Big Cypress Creek for navigation. Within a few years steamboats were regularly making the trip from Shreveport and New Orleans, transporting cotton and other produce downstream and returning with supplies and manufactured goods, including materials and furnishings for many of the early homes. By the late 1840s Jefferson had emerged as the leading commercial and distribution center of Northeast Texas and the state's leading inland port.

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Christopher Long | © 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.

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Adoption Status:
This place has been adopted and will not be available until May 14, 2024
Adopted by:
Crystal Storm Ortiz
Dedication Message:
For the love of this town; past and present

Belongs to

Jefferson is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Jefferson is classified as a Town


Latitude: 32.76317870
Longitude: -94.35106700

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »