Patricia B. Hensley

PENNINGTON, TEXAS. Pennington, originally Tyler or Tyler's Prairie, is off U.S. Highway 287 near the Davy Crockett National Forest in northwestern Trinity County on the Trinity-Houston county line. By the 1990s the community was also partially in Houston County. The site of the community is within the 1835 Mexican Texas land grant to José Martín Prado that was purchased by A. F. Westall and Daniel Daily (Dailey) in 1855. Daily became sole owner of 1,280 acres on March 1, 1859. The Salem (later Pennington) Baptist Church was founded in May 1860. Pennington, laid out and platted in February 1866 by Dan Daily, was named for Hill (or Hugh) Pennington, the town's first merchant. Pennington College, later Steele Academy, opened as a coeducational school in 1866 but did not receive a legislative charter until 1870. Guided by teacher and later president Daniel Webster Steele and his successors, the institution operated until 1882. A post office opened at Pennington in 1873, and the community reached its peak from May 1874 to October 1882; during this time it was the county seat, and its population may have ranged as high as 1,000 to 1,500. With no railroad, the competition from public schools, and the move of the county government to Groveton in 1882, Pennington began to decline. Though it incorporated on July 16, 1901, it apparently had become unincorporated by 1904, when it reported a population of about 272, dropping by 1926 to around 250. In 1968 a population of about 198 was reported. Pennington in 1980 was a quiet rural community with a population of about 100. During the early 1990s Pennington reported a population of 100 and seven businesses. The population dropped to sixty-seven in 2000.

Flora G. Bowles, A History of Trinity County, Texas, 1827 to 1928 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1928; rpt., Groveton, Texas: Groveton Independent School District, 1966). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).

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:

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, Patricia B. Hensley, "PENNINGTON, TX," accessed February 22, 2020,

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!
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...