While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Brian Hart

LADONIA, TEXAS. Ladonia is on State highways 34 and 50, Farm roads 2456 and 64, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway sixteen miles southeast of Bonham in the southeastern corner of Fannin County. The area was settled around 1840 by James MacFarland and Daniel Davis. Other early settlers included Patrick Old, who built the first house, and Frank McCown, the community's first merchant. James H. Cole, a carpenter who moved to the county in 1855, planned and staked out the actual townsite. The community was first known as McCownville. In 1857 McCown changed the name to La Donna, according to local legend to honor La Donna Millsay, a traveler on a wagontrain from Tennessee who had entertained local residents with her singing. By 1858 the settlement had a post office named Ladonia. Ladonia grew rapidly after 1860 because of its location in a fertile farming area and because of the arrival in 1887 of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. The community incorporated in 1885 and around that time had a population of 350, two cotton gins, a bank, a flour mill, a school, and a number of churches. The arrival of the railroad, which town officials had enticed with a bonus, made Ladonia an agricultural marketing town for cotton, corn, oats, and wheat. Its population was reported as 1,500 by the early 1890s and had increased to 2,000 by 1897, when the town reported some 100 businesses, including six dry-goods stores, three drugstores, three cotton gins, and two banks. In 1936 Ladonia had 1,199 residents and thirty-nine businesses. By the mid-1970s it had 815 residents and eighteen businesses; at that time the town's major industry was Texas-A-Pak, which shipped horse meat for sale in European markets. Also during the 1970s the community's school was consolidated with that of nearby Pecan Gap to form the Fannindel school district. In 1989 Ladonia reported a population of 677 and ten businesses, and in 1990 it reported a population of 658. In 2000 the population was 667.

Fannin County Folks and Facts (Dallas: Taylor, 1977). Floy Crandall Hodge, A History of Fannin County (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1966).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Brian Hart, "LADONIA, TX," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hll07.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on TexasAlmanac.com!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...