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Physical Features: East Texas county bounded by Neches and Trinity rivers; hilly, rolling; one-third forested; sandy, loam, clay soils; commercial timber; Cedar Creek Reservoir, Lake Palestine, Lake Athens, Forest Grove Reservoir; Trinidad Lake.
Economy: Agribusiness, retail trade, varied manufacturing, minerals, recreation, tourism.
History: Caddo area. Cherokee, other tribes migrated into the area in 1819-20 ahead of white settlement. Cherokees forced into Indian Territory in 1839. Anglo-American settlers arrived in 1840s. County created in 1846 from Nacogdoches, Houston counties and named for Gov. J. Pinckney Henderson.
Race/Ethnicity: (In percent) Anglo, 79.4; Black, 6.6; Hispanic, 11.8; Asian, 0.6; Other, 2.5.
Vital Statistics, annual: Births, 886; deaths, 1,004; marriages, 525; divorces, 41.
Recreation: Cedar Creek Reservoir, Lake Palestine, other lakes; Purtis Creek State Park; hunting, fishing, bird-watching; Zip Line (aerial ropeslide) at New York; East Texas Arboretum.
Minerals: Oil, gas, clays, lignite, sulfur, sand and gravel.
Agriculture: Beef cattle, forages, nurseries/horticulture, rodeo stock. Market value $49.5 million. Hunting leases and fishing. Timber important.
ATHENS (12,975) county seat; agribusiness center, varied manufacturing, tourism, state fish hatchery and museum, hospital, mental health center; Trinity Valley Community College; Texas Fiddlers’ Contest in May.
Gun Barrel City (5,799) recreation, retirement, retail center.
Malakoff (2,344) brick factory, varied industry, tourism, library, Cornbread Festival in April.
Other towns include: Berryville (1,006); Brownsboro (1,093); Caney City (230); Chandler (2,811) commuting to Tyler, retail trade, tourism, Pow Wow Festival in October; Coffee City (291); Enchanted Oaks (330); Eustace (1,015); Larue (250); Log Cabin (717); Moore Station (211); Murchison (598); Payne Springs (777); Poynor (310); Seven Points (1,466) agribusiness, retail trade, recreation, Monte Carlo celebration in November; Star Harbor (464); Tool (2,264), and Trinidad (891).
Also, Mabank (3,181, mostly in Kaufman County).
Horses grazing east of Mabank. Photo by Robert Plocheck.