FREE STATE OF VAN ZANDT
FREE STATE OF VAN ZANDT. Several explanations have been proposed for the origin of the name Free State of Van Zandt for Van Zandt County. The first is that when Van Zandt and Kaufman counties were formed from Henderson County, all debts for the area were retained by Henderson County, and consequently Van Zandt County became known as a debt-free territory. Resentful politicians of Henderson County thereafter referred to Van Zandt County as a free state. Another explanation states that in 1861 some 350 residents attended a meeting to protest secession. They reasoned that if Texas could leave the Union, then Van Zandt County could leave the state of Texas. These people tried to organize a government until they were threatened with military intervention. In another story, a slaveowner from out of the state came through Van Zandt County seeking a place to keep his slaves after Confederate setbacks. Asked if Van Zandt County would suffice, the man replied, "Hell no, I had as soon think of taking them to a free state. I came all the way from Quitman and never so much as saw a slave." In yet another tale, during Reconstruction residents declared Van Zandt County independent of state and national authority. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan sent troops, eventually captured the perpetrators, and imprisoned them near Canton. Although the rebels had temporarily routed the United States troops, in their eagerness to celebrate they drank too much and failed to post a guard. All eventually escaped.
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, Gerald F. Kozlowski, "Free State of Van Zandt," accessed July 29, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pdf01.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.