County Seat: Pittsburg * County Population: 11,643
The Camp County Courthouse was built in 1928 as a Texas Renaissance structure complete with Classical Revival elements. The county capitol, which boasts a columned porch at the entrance, was designed by Smith and Praeger of Paris, Texas.
The third-smallest county in Texas, Camp County sits among the hills of the East Texas timberlands and is heavily forested with a variety of softwoods and hardwoods, especially pine, cypress and oak.
The county seat of Pittsburg is located near two state parks and five large lakes, offering boating, fishing and skiing.
Pittsburg became the seat upon the county’s organization in 1874. The town was named after W.H. Pitts, an early settler from Georgia; the county honors John Lafayette Camp, a lawyer, judge, colonel of the Confederate Army, and a state senator.
The county’s first temple of justice was a two-story brick building that was razed in 1932. The current courthouse was built by Charles Chappell for $79,623.40.
The last hanging in Pittsburg took place in 1903, according to June Rayfield Welch, author of “The Texas Courthouse Revisited.” She writes:
George Harkey had borrowed against his cotton crop, and the mortgage was foreclosed. A neighbor was deputized to haul the cotton to Winnsboro. Harkey went to the neighbor’s home, called him out, and shot him. Sheriff Jim Stafford refused to execute the death warrant, and a Mount Vernon man performed the duty.
Two railroads cross Camp County and intersect in Pittsburg. The St. Louis Southwestern Railway, constructed in the late 1870s as the Texas and St. Louis Railway, travels the county from north to south. The Louisiana and Arkansas Railway, built in the late 1870s as the East Line and Red River Railway, traverses the county from east to west.
The county celebrates several special occasions such as the annual ChickFest and Ride with the Eagles Bike Rally.
Every third Saturday in September ChickFest highlights the county’s heritage. This homecoming time for East Texans livens the downtown area with booths, games, street dancing and the like.
Ride with the Eagles Bike Rally has been described as one of the most scenic cycling courses in the state. Every third Saturday in April, cyclists from several states participate in the rally with several routes through the wooded rolling hills and wildflowers of Northeast Texas. The rally benefits the arts at Northeast Texas Community College.