Jordan's Saline

Jordan's Saline (Jordan Saline), on U.S. Highway 80 thirteen miles northeast of Canton in northeastern Van Zandt County, was named for John Jordan, who developed the Saline Prairie, which had been named by local Cherokee Indians. Indians first made salt in the area by evaporating water from the salt-marsh surface, which lay over a giant salt dome that extended over a thirty-square-mile area; it was said to have enough mining potential to last 300 years. Indians acquired the land by treaty in 1834 and sold salt to merchants in Nacogdoches. Jordan marked a trail from Nacogdoches to the prairie and on December 17, 1845, agreed with Allen T. McGee to acquire title to the land, construct a saltworks, and name the site Jordan's Saline. The community, designated Van Zandt county seat on March 20, 1848, served as the seat of government until 1850, when part of Van Zandt County was made into Wood County. In 1848 the community had a county courthouse, a hide tannery, and a manufacturing plant. The first county school was taught in 1849 by James J. Kuykendall on Saline Creek, five miles south of Jordan's Saline. A post office opened in 1849, and McGee became the first county postmaster. In January 1850 Jordan and McGee leased their interests to Frederick J. Hamm, who purchased them outright in December 1857. When Samuel Q. Richardson arrived from Kentucky in January 1859, he acquired title to some 4,000 acres of Hamm's property, including the saltworks. There he made salt until he enlisted to fight in the Civil War, leaving the operation to be run by his wife. The Confederate government next took over the saltworks and ran it until after the war, when Richardson returned. In 1872, when the Texas and Pacific Railway passed through the community on its way from Marshall to Dallas, a depot was erected north of the railroad from Jordan's Saline, and the new town was named Grand Saline. Two of the original kettles used for boiling salt from brine were placed on U.S. Highway 80 at the east and west entrances to Grand Saline as a reminder of the original saltworks. As Grand Saline expanded, Jordan's Saline diminished, losing its post office in 1872 and eventually disappearing.

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Diana J. Kleiner | © TSHA

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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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Jordan's Saline is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Jordan's Saline is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Grand Saline)

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated