Up to the year of 1848, Wood County was included in Nacogdoches County, when Van Zandt County was segregated from Nacogdoches. Van Zandt County then included the present counties of Van Zandt, Wood and Rains.
Wood County was organized in 1850, but not in time to be counted separately in the federal census of that year. Wood County residents are included in the Van Zandt County federal census for 1850. Quitman was designated as the county seat and remains so today.
Other than farmer, here are some of the occupations in the 1860 census of Wood and Rains Counties: attorneys, 3; merchants, 7; blacksmiths, 6; medical doctors, 16; wagon-maker, 1; wagoner, 2; gunsmith, 1; teacher, 2; engineer, 3; carpenter, 7; stock raising, 1; sheep raising, 1; mechanic, 16; miller, 3; hatter, 1; baker, 1; hotel keeper, 2; sawmill, 6; seamstress, 2; clerk, 2; bookkeeper, 1; saddler, 1; grocer, 4; shoemaker, 1; painter, 1; brick mason, 2; and laborer, 20. [Tabulation by Don Roberts.]
Rains County was taken off the northwestern portion of Wood County in June of 1870. The portion of Wood County cut off into Rains runs about a mile east of the Flat Community to the east edge of Point.
It is said that Ambrose Fitzgerald was the only man in Texas to be the first county clerk of three different counties without ever having moved from the same farm. In 1848 he was the first County Clerk of Van Zandt County; in 1850 he was the first County Clerk of Wood and in 1870 he was the first County Clerk of Rains. Born 17 March 1827 in Tennessee, he came to Texas in 1846, settling about seven miles south of Lone Oak and about 2-1/2 miles north of what is now Point.
In 1878, the Wood County Court House burned, with the loss of all county records. Genealogy researchers must seek alternate sources of information for the period from 1850 to 1878. Many land deeds were re-filed after the fire, and these records of re-filed deeds have been printed in the quarterly newsletter of the Wood County Genealogical Society.
The first land grant (a league and a labor) in the present territory of Wood County was given to Gray B. King on 20 Sep 1835 and included a large portion of what is now the city of Winnsboro. In his application, quoted in Winnsboro, Texas Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow , by Will D. Suiter, Mr. King stated, "having immigrated to this State in the year 1831 . . ." Mr. King referred to the Mexican State of Coahula. Other who were granted (and patented) land in 1835 were William Barnhill, Antonio Caleron, Jose de Jesus Ramirez, and Jose Maria Servantes. Persons receiving grants before 2 March 1836 were not required to live on the land. In Mr. Suiter's book, it is stated that, "the first settlers came to Winnsboro prior to 1854 . . ."
The following material was abstracted from A History of Post Offices and Communities, copyright 1968 by Wright Patman. The order or presentation is community, location, first Postmaster (if any), date of appointment.
Alba 11 miles east of Quitman. H. R. Thrasher, 4 Oct 1881 New Hope Andrews 7 miles east of Quitman. P. J. Rogers, 6 Nov 1885 Oak Grove Big Dollar (no directions). Benjamin F. Pace, 31 Mar 1852 Ogburn 10 miles south of Winnsboro. Simon F. Richardson, 19 Jun 1909 Bruton 12 miles northwest of Mineola. James L. Ray, 1 Sep 1874 Peach 16 miles south of Winnsboro. John N. Davis, 2 Sep 1902 Cartwright 8 miles sorthwest of Winnsboro. Elmore Wright, 10 Mar 1894 Perryville 10 miles southeast of Winnsboro. John Shrum, 27 Jul 1860 Coke 2 miles west of Pleasant Grove. J. D. Clough, 6 Nov 1885 Pine Mills 5 miles northeast of Hainesville. Richard G. Reed, 8 Jul 1875 Crow 6 mies northwest of Hawkins. John K. Rucker, 11 Jul 1906 Pleasant Grove 7 miles southwest of Winnsboro. James P. Wilson, 14 May 1892 Drusilla 5 miles northwest of Perryville. Munson V. Morris, 20 Mar 1895 Quitman Howard Keys, 20 Oct 1851 Eagle 7 miles southwest of Winnsboro. William H. C. Perkins, 28 Apr 1884 Redland 5 miles north-northwest of Hainesville. James K. Nicholson, 8 Apr 1899 East Point East of Quitman. Probable east limit of a mail route Richardsville 10 miles east of Quitman. Henry C. London, 30 Jul 1872 Evana 7 miles east of Winnsboro. James A. Arnall, 31 Aug 1881 Rock Hill 9 miles north of Quitman. Golden 7 mies northwest of Mineola. Julius C. Lamberteon, 10 Feb 1885 Sand Spring (no directions.) James Welborne, 5 Nov 1852 Hainesville 8 miles northeast of Mineola. Thomas J. Billings, 25 Jun 1892 Sharon 9 miles northeast of Quitman. William Moore, 10 Jun 1875 Hawkins 17 miles southeast of Mineola. James H. Sullivan, 22 Aug 1873 Smilax 4 miles north of Hainesville. John Callaway, 18 Jun 1901 Hoard Southern Wood County Speer 8 miles northeast of Pine Mills. John B. Phillips, 6 May 1886 Holly Spring (no directions). Peter M. Gunstream, 15 Nov 1852 Springville (no directions.) James C. Wright, 19 May 1859 Hoyt 1 mile southeast of Alba. Gus M. Hodges, 11 Jun 1914 Stagner 4 miles south of Pine Mills. Alen T. Carlile, 6 Aug 1903 Lake Ford (no directions). Mathew McCreight, 20 Sep 1858 Stormville 7 miles southeast of Yantis. Washington Storm, 2 May 1878 Lake Fork 9 miles west of Hawkins. John C. Puckett, 1 Feb 1875 Stout 7 miles south of Winnsboro. William L. Richards, 2 Apr 1884 Lignite Webster 3.5 miles south of Winnsboro. Thomas C. Sadler, 19 May 1855 Mapes 3.5 miles southwest of Yantis. Joseph C. Mapes, 19 Jul 1893 Weimer 12 miles southeast of Quitman. John P. Reich, 31 Jul 1866 Merrimac 9 miles southeast of Winnsboro. Joseph P. Baker, 9 May 1901 Winnsboro (formerly Winnsborough) John R. McMillon, 6 Mar 1855 Mikado 3 miles north of Hainesville. Yantis George R. Yantis, 28 Jan 1885 Mineola 10 miles south of Quitman. Thomas L. Scruggs, 13 May 1875