Tarrant, the first county seat of Hopkins County, was near the junction of State Highway 19/154 and Farm Road 1537, four miles north of Sulphur Springs in the central part of the county. The area was first settled by David Hopkins and his family in the winter of 1842–43. When Hopkins County was organized in 1846, the site was chosen as county seat over another site a few miles away and was named Tarrant in honor of Texas Ranger and Indian fighter Gen. Edward H. Tarrant. Soon thereafter a log house was constructed as a temporary home for records and courthouse business, and in 1847 a post office was established. By 1850 Tarrant was a thriving community, and around that time it included a school, a steam gristmill, a blacksmith shop, a brick kiln, a Masonic lodge, a general store, a tannery, the Hopkins Hotel, a small Methodist college, and a newspaper named the Texas Star. In 1852 a jail was built of logs, and by 1854 a new two-story frame courthouse had been constructed at the center of town. Tarrant continued to grow for the rest of the 1850s, despite the fact that it was occasionally made inaccessible by flooding in the surrounding Caney and White Oak creeks. During Reconstruction, in the fall of 1868, Capt. Thomas M. Tolman, the commander of the Union garrison at Sulphur Springs, transferred the county records there so that they would be more accessible. After the military occupation ended, the records were returned to Tarrant by its citizens, but on July 1, 1870, the seat of justice was moved permanently to Sulphur Springs. Tarrant, its situation exacerbated by its isolated site, thereafter declined rapidly. Its post office closed in 1871. During the early 1990s only a few scattered farmhouses and a cemetery remained in the area.
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