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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, 79.1; Black, 6.7; Hispanic, 12.0; Asian, 0.7; Other, 2.6.
Vital Statistics, annual: Births, 887; deaths, 1,053; marriages, 544; divorces, 54.
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 (13,078) 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 (5,998) recreation, retirement, retail center.
Malakoff (2,348) brick factory, varied industry, tourism, library, Cornbread Festival in April.
Other towns include: Berryville (1,036); Brownsboro (1,143); Caney City (220); Chandler (2,913) commuting to Tyler, retail trade, tourism, Pow Wow Festival in October; Coffee City (276); Enchanted Oaks (339); Eustace (1,004); Larue (250); Log Cabin (720); Moore Station (200); Murchison (596); Payne Springs (773); Poynor (311); Seven Points (1,467) agribusiness, retail trade, recreation, Monte Carlo celebration in November; Star Harbor (458); Tool (2,308), and Trinidad (885).
Also, Mabank (3,274, mostly in Kaufman County).
Horses grazing east of Mabank. Photo by Robert Plocheck.