Jasper, the county seat of Jasper County, is on U.S. highways 96 and 190, State Highway 63, and Sandy Creek in north central Jasper County. The site was settled around 1824 by John Bevil. Thirty families occupied the settlement as early as 1830, when it was known as Snow River or Bevil's Settlement. In 1835 it was renamed for William Jasper, a hero of the American Revolution. Jasper became the county seat in 1844 by an act of the Texas Congress. A post office was established there in 1846, and travelers reported a population growth from forty to 400 in the decade from 1848 to 1858. During the Civil War the town housed a Confederate quartermaster depot. Antebellum educational institutions included the Jasper Male and Female High School, which operated until 1878, when it became the South East Texas Male and Female College, and Jasper Collegiate Institute, which operated from 1851 until 1874 and was absorbed by the public schools in 1908. A weekly newspaper, the Jasper News-boy, has been published continuously since 1865. The population declined to 360 in 1870, reflecting the hardships of the Civil War, but by 1885 had risen to 1,000. In that year the community had three saw and grist mills, a cotton gin and planing mill operated by power from Sandy Creek, two churches, and a college; the town exported cotton, hides, and pine logs. In 1896 Jasper had a population of 1,200 and a one-teacher school with eighty-one pupils.
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