Rockwall County

Rockwall County, Texas

Rockwall County, Texas

The Rockwall County Courthouse is housed in Rockwall, Texas. Photograph by Larry D. Moore.
Rockwall County, Texas

Rockwall County, Texas

Map of Rockwall County, Texas. Map Credit: Robert Plocheck.

Rockwall County is on the Blackland Prairies of north central Texas at 32°55' north latitude and 96°25' west longitude, twenty-five miles northeast of Dallas. Rockwall County is the smallest county in Texas. Its 147 square miles of flat, undulating, and gently rolling prairie ranges in elevation from 390 to 620 feet above sea level. The almost square county has three distinct topographic divisions: the valley of the East Fork of the Trinity River; a small area of gently undulating to steeply sloping terraces west of the valley; and rolling uplands east of the valley, which cover 80 percent of the county. The light to dark soils are slightly acidic and have loamy to clayey surfaces and cracking, clayey subsoils. Ninety-three percent of the county is arable and extremely fertile. The greater part of Rockwall County is a treeless prairie, although there was once heavy timber along the East Fork of the Trinity River. Along the creeks and in the bottoms there are a variety of hard and softwood trees, including bois d'arc, elm, oak, mesquite, and pecan. In the eastern part of the county grow tall bunch grasses, while shorter grasses are found to the west. There are a few native grass hay meadows, but most of the pasture land is in bermuda, clover, or Johnsongrass. All parts of the county are well watered by springs and small lakes. The area did not have a large, navigable body of water until the East Fork of the Trinity River, which runs north to south along the western border the county, was dammed to form Lake Ray Hubbard. The lake, built to supply water for Dallas, now covers 13.55 percent of Rockwall County. Except for a small section of the northeastern part of the county, which drains into the Sabine Creek, all streams empty into the East Fork. The growing season is 236 days, with an average annual precipitation of 38.68 inches. The temperature ranges from an average high of 96° F in July to an average low of 34° in January. There are no mineral resources, except for a small amount of native stone.

The region around Rockwall County was the home of several tribes of Caddo Indians. Cherokees from east of the Mississippi began to arrive in the area early in the nineteenth century, and as they spread, they almost annihilated the peaceful, agricultural Caddoes. When the first Anglo-Americans arrived in the valley of the East Fork of the Trinity sometime in the 1840s, they found these various Indian groups at war among themselves. The White settlers in the area seem to have had little problem with them, however. The National Road of the Republic of Texas was surveyed and constructed in the mid-1840s through the area that would become Rockwall County. Running northeast from the Dallas area to the Red River, the road was a major route for settlers traveling to Peters colony near the site of present-day Dallas. In 1846 the first settler, John O. Heath, received a grant from the Mercer colony and established his home on the East Fork of the Trinity River near the crossing of the Central National Road. Occasionally when the swollen waters of the Trinity River prevented crossing, some families simply settled along the east bank of the river. The towns of Heath and Rockwall were thus founded along the highway. The first post office in the area was established in the Heath cabin in 1849 and named Black Hill. It operated there until 1855, when it was transferred to the new village of Rockwall. During the 1850s other families continued to settle along the river, while some moved eastward to the prairies to establish cattle ranches. Cattle raising was the principal industry in the first years of settlement, although small lots were fenced for cultivation, and razorback hogs were raised. A total of 240 pioneers came to hold original titles from the state. Several farmers were digging a well in 1851 when they discovered a subterranean rock wall or diker that crossed the county and occasionally appeared at ground level. Although scientific analysis indicated that the wall is a natural geological formation, folk tales persist that it was built by prehistoric natives. When it was surveyed and laid out in 1854 the town of Rockwall was named for the curious rock formation. In 1836 the area was established as part of Nacogdoches County, and when Texas joined the Union in 1845, it was included in Henderson County. Kaufman County was formed in 1847, and the region now known as Rockwall County was placed in the jurisdiction of the new county. In 1873, because the county seat, Kaufman, was inconvenient for the residents of the northern panhandle, Rockwall County was formed, taking its name from the town and geological formation. Rockwall was the first county seat and continues to hold that position, although in 1892 there was an unsuccessful attempt to make Fate the county seat. In 1873 Rockwall was incorporated.

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Elizabeth Lee Bass | © 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.

Currently Exists


Place type

Rockwall County is classified as a County

Altitude Range

430 ft – 624 ft


Land area does not include water surface area, whereas total area does

  • Land Area: 127.0 mi²
  • Total Area: 148.7 mi²


January mean minimum: 33.0°F
July mean maximum: 96.0°F

Rainfall, 2019

38.6 inches

Population Count, 2019


Civilian Labor Count, 2019


Unemployment, 2019


Property Values, 2019

$12,786,885,672 USD

Per-Capita Income, 2019

$61,003 USD

Retail Sales, 2019

$2,045,992,611 USD

Wages, 2019

$387,989,362 USD

Rockwall County

  • Rockwall County
Place Type Population (Year/Source) Currently Exists
Town 21,013 (2021) Yes
Town 10,266 (2021) Yes
Lake Yes
Town 4,206 (2021) Yes
Town 145 (2021) Yes
Town 49,669 (2021) Yes
Town 63,671 (2021) Yes
Town 15,978 (2021) Yes
Town 59,394 (2021) Yes

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