KAUFMAN, TEXAS. Kaufman, the county seat of Kaufman County, is at the intersection of State highways 34 and 243 and U.S. Highway 175, thirty-four miles east of Dallas near the center of the county. The original inhabitants of the area were Caddo, Cherokee, Comanche, Delaware, and Kickapoo Indians. The first whites were forty families led by Mississippian Dr. William P. King, who arrived in the area in 1840, purchased 2½ square miles of land, and built a fort on a hilltop that overlooked his new home. In his honor the outpost that provided security for the settlers was called Kings Fort, and the stream that ran nearby became known as King's Creek. During the next five years several buildings were built near the fort. Gradually a community developed, named Kingsboro.
In 1846, when the state legislature established Henderson County, Kingsboro became part of Henderson County. In 1848, however, land from Henderson County was taken to establish Kaufman County, named for David S. Kaufman. In 1849 postal service to the community began. Three years later Kingsboro became the county seat and was renamed for the county. Mrs. Francis Taber, former wife of William P. King donated much of the land for the new county seat. In 1860 the first newspaper, a weekly called the Kaufman Star, began operating. After the Civil War Kaufman had a population estimated at 500, and in 1872 the town incorporated. In protest against Reconstruction, however, the voters refused to hold elections during the 1870s. Kaufman once again held elections, and once again was incorporated, in 1881. The same year the tracks of the Texas Trunk line reached the city. Two years later the Texas Central Railroad connected Kaufman with Dallas. The two railroad lines established Kaufman as the shipping point for county farmers and contributed to the growth of the community. In 1884 Kaufman had an estimated 1,000 residents, four churches, two schools, an opera house, and forty businesses. The town's first bank began operating in the late 1880s with capital assets totaling $50,000. A second bank opened in 1892. By 1900 Kaufman had three newspapers, sixty businesses, and an estimated population of 2,300.
In 1936 Kaufman had 2,279 residents. In 1945 eighty businesses, including the town's first manufacturing plant, a uniform factory, served 2,654 residents. In 1963 a tornado did major damage to the business area. In 1990 Kaufman had 5,238 residents and 108 businesses, including a dozen manufacturing plants that produced steel products, furniture, and clothing. In 2000 the population was 6,490 with 416 businesses.
Robert Richard Butler, History of Kaufman County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Kaufman County Historical Commission, History of Kaufman County (Dallas: Taylor, 1978). Kaufman Herald, December 5, 1946. Mabel Covington Keller, History of Kaufman County, Texas (M.A. thesis, North Texas State College, 1950). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, David Minor, "KAUFMAN, TX," accessed May 29, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgk02.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on November 12, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.