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  • Chamber of Daingerfield

History

Daingerfield, county seat of Morris County since 1875, was the county seat of the ephemeral county of Paschal (present counties of Hopkins, Franklin, Titus, Morris, Cass, and part of Marion) during 1841 and 1842. The area was settled during the 1830's and an un-named settlement existed before 1841. This settlement existed before 1841 and was founded either by a group of Acadians who left their homeland bound for French Territory via the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi Red and Sulphur Rivers or Big Cypress Bayou, or by a Captain London Daingerfield who fought the Indians at the "Daingerfield Spring" in the 1830's. Daingerfield has been a part of the counties of Red River, Bowie, Paschal, Titus and Morris County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. The original townsite (Allen Urquhart Headright Survey) consisted of forth-nine blocks. The streets were names for heroes or officials the commission named by the Congress of the Republic of Texas to lay out the site of the seat of justice of Paschal County (Hughes, Peters, Broadnax, Frazier, and King). Daingerfield was on a Republic of Texas mail route in 1841. In 1846, John Greene Chambers was named the first United States Postmaster. Mr. Chambers also represented Titus County at the Secession Convention of 1861. Daingerfield has always been a "Church and a School" town. During 1841 and 1842, Rev. James Graham, a circuit rider for the Sulphur Fork Circuit, Arkansas Conference, Methodist Church, and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Weatherred conducted a school here. In 1846, a forty acre tract of land adjoining the townsite was described as "the Campground of the Methodist". In 1849 Allen Urquhart, a pioneer surveyor for the Republic of Texas, entered into an agreement with the Marshall Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for the establishment of a college in Daingerfield. Urquhart gave forty acres of land and pledged one half of the proceeds from the sale of his remaining lots in the original town plat for the erection of the college buildings. This college, Chappel Hill, operated from 1852 until 1869 when it was closed due to lack of students and finances. The college building was condemned due to a crack in the wall, and torn down. Approximately 100,000 bricks were salvaged and sold for $9.00 per thousand. During the Civil War (probably 1862) the Methodist Episcopal Church South, organized the Daingerfield High School with a collegiate department which authorized by the State Legislature in 1873 to issue "certificates of graduation" in the Collegiate Department. In 1880 this school was operating under the name of "The Jefferson District High School". The Daingerfield Independent School District was incorporated in 1902 and the Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, transferred their Daingerfield school propertied to the Independent School District in 1906. The Primitive Baptist Church at Bethlehem was organized near Daingerfield in 1843, the Church at New Hope was in existence before 1844 and the Church at Spring HIll organized in 1852. The Building or "Meeting House" of the Primitive Baptist Church at Spring Hill was constructed in 1859 and following 1964 repairs, is in an excellent condition (open by appointment for visitors). Records of the churches at Bethlehem and at Spring Hill indicate schools at Tankersley's Coffey's and Mayfield's (families residing in the Daingerfield area) during the 1840's and the 1850's. There were also "Regular" and Missionary Baptist Churches in the area at an early date and a Baptist School for girls was organized about the time of the Civil War.

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Lumber and grist mills were located in and around Daingerfield during the 1840's. Hussey and Logan, Manufacturers of cotton gins and corn mills located here in 1855. (The father of Governor O.B. Colquitt was later associated with this firm) and shipped mills to all parts of Texas. Groceries, distilleries, manufacturers of shoes, saddles, bridles, and other leather goods were located here, both before and after the Civil War. During the Civil War, the incomplete Reece Hughes blast furnace (Southeast of Daingerfield) was taken over by the States of Texas and operated for the benefit of the Confederate States of America. Part of the furnace is now located at the plant of The Lone Star Steel Company. In 1880 a company was formed to mine and smelt iron ore and in 1900, another company to explore for lead and minerals, other than iron ore in the Western edge of the town of Daingerfield. Due to financial reverses, the se companies did not operate and the first commercial production of iron is to the attributed to the Lone Star Steel Company plant which was built about nine miles South of Daingerfield during World War II. To date, there has been no production of lead. Morris County was created from Titus County in 1875 and Daingerfield was selected as the County Seat. The first courthouse was the first floor of the Odd Fellow Building located at the corner of Broadnax and King Streets just North of the original "Town Square". The East Line and Red River Railroad crossed the Southern part of the College Plat Addition to Daingerfield in 1877. In 1881, a grout of citizens purchased the present site of the courthouse and presented the lot to Morris County. Within a few years all of the businesses moved from the "Old Town" to the Southeast corner of the College Plat and the adjoining Hinnant Addition. Daingerfield was authorized to incorporate by an act of the state egislature in 1871. An election for incorporation was held in the 1913 with a vote of 75 for incorporation and 64 against. Many of the landmarks of Daingerfield have been destroyed by fire. There was at least one fire in "Old Town" before the Civil War and another in the late 1870's. The present business district was struck by fire in 1928 and again in 1953. There was also a disastrous "Livery Stable" fire about 1890. Among the older buildings remaining in Daingerfield, are the Peacock or Colquitt house, the Orange and W.T. Connor homes just North of town and the "Law Offices" of United States Representative John L. Sheppard (father of Senator Morris Sheppard), State Senator John M. Henderson, and State Land Commissioner, J.T. Robinson.