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Woodville, Texas

Woodville, the county seat of Tyler County, is located near the geographical center of the county, encompassing approximately 3 square miles and crossed by U.S. Highways 69, 190, and 287.  In 1846 when Tyler County was created from Liberty County, the Legislature of Texas ordered that the county seat be determined by election.  The committee appointed to recommend the site identified three choices: Town Bluff which was located on the Neches  River, an area between the forks of Turkey Creek belonging to Dr. Josiah Wheat, and a site in the northeast part of the county on Wolf Creek.  The tract of land offered by Dr. Wheat was selected, and on January 1, 1847, Dr. Wheat, a settler from Alabama and the first physician of record in the area, conveyed to the county that tract of land for the building of the county seat.   Formation of Tyler County was attributed to the efforts of then-Senator George T. Wood, who became the second governor of Texas in 1847, and N. B. Charlton, a member of the lower House who represented the county in the legislature.  The first courthouse was a log house built in 1849. The second was a two-story building erected in 1856, with a jail directed to be built 30 feet from the center of the courthouse. The third and last courthouse, a three-story Victorian redbrick with a massive clock tower, was built in 1891. In the 1935 the courthouse underwent major exterior remodeling which is as it appears today.

The first school established in Woodville was the Woodville Academy in 1849.  Classes were initially held at the courthouse, and pupils were divided into three classes.  Besides reading, writing, arithmetic, and the sciences, orthography (penmanship and spelling), elocution (public or formal speaking), and Latin and Greek were some of the courses offered.

The first documented church in Woodville was the Bethel Baptist Church, established in 1851.  When Woodville was incorporated in 1856 it consisted of about 25 log houses, two hotels, two dry-goods stores, and two saloons.  In the early 1850s two stage lines came through Woodville, bringing mail twice a week.

By 1882 the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) Railroad completed its line between Rockland in extreme northern Tyler County down to Beaumont.  When the first train came through Woodville, crowds turned out to see the spectacle and to celebrate this boon to the area.  With the trains came sawmills, and that industry dominated the Woodville area for the next 75 years.  In as late as 1965, the Woodville Lumber Company was the largest sawmill in Tyler County, producing over one million board-feet of lumber a month plus pulp and other products.

In 1890 Woodville had a population of 519, and in 2013 2,513.  Woodville is home to the Tyler County Booster, the Dogwood Festival, Allan Shivers Library & Museum, Heritage Village Museum, an airport, hospital, two nursing/rehabilitation facilities, as well as a number of service-oriented organizations and businesses.

References:

James E. and Josiah Wheat and others (compiled by The Tyler County Sesquicentennial Committee), Sketches of Tyler County History (Bevil Oaks: Whitmeyer, 1986).

Wikipedia/Woodville, Texas - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodville,_Texas

Lou Ella Moseley, Pioneer Days of Tyler County (Fort Worth: Miran, 1975).

Handbook of Texas Online: Megan Biesele, "WOODVILLE, TX (TYLER COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgw15), accessed November 04, 2012.

Google Public Data and the U. S. Census Bureau - http://tinyurl.com/pu2kz4j

Tyler County Historical Commission
P.O. Box 777
Woodville, TX 75979

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