Decatur, the county seat of Wise County, is on U.S. highways 287 and 380 and the Burlington Northern Railway, forty miles northwest of Fort Worth at the approximate center of the county. It is near the western edge of the Grand Prairies, and overlooks the western Cross Timbers area. The Texas legislature established Wise County in 1856 and directed that a county seat named Taylorsville (in honor of Gen. Zachary Taylor) be founded within five miles of its center. The town was located and laid out by Absalom Bishop, an early settler in the region. Bishop, who was a member of the Texas Legislature, did not approve of Taylor's Whig party affiliation, and in January 1858 he arranged to change the name of the town to Decatur in honor of the naval hero Stephen Decatur.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Jim Tom Barton | © Texas State Historical Association
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