County Seat: Bonham * County Population: 32,620
The Fannin County Courthouse was originally constructed in 1889. The limestone building was remodeled in 1929 following a disastrous fire and then remodeled again in 1965 into a Modern style.
The county’s first court session was conducted in Jacob Black’s log cabin located on Red River in 1838. Two years later, the county moved to its initial seat of Warren and met in a two-story courthouse made of post oak and cedar logs. The building was dismantled and taken to the new county seat of Bonham but was never reassembled.
In Bonham, county business was conducted in a log cabin erected on the present day square in 1843. When more space was needed, another house was connected to the “courthouse” via a dogtrot.
County records were moved to a brick courthouse in 1881, where they remained until 1889 when W.C. Dodson designed a new temple of justice made of stone quarried near Gober.
Fannin County was named for James W. Fannin, who was massacred along with his soldiers at Goliad. The county seat honors James Butler Bonham, who died while defending the Alamo against Santa Anna’s Mexican Army.
Downtown Bonham offers a “historic walkabout” featuring people and places that make up the area’s storied past. The walkabout features 12 plaques affixed to buildings around and just off the square, and brochures and maps are available from merchants housed on the square.
The county’s special attractions include:
The Sam Rayburn Library and Museum: Rayburn established the library and museum in 1957 as a tribute to the people of Fannin County. The facility includes photographs, original letters, political artifacts and personal memorabilia relating to important events in the life of Sam Rayburn. The museum centerpiece is a replica of the formal office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The library and museum are operated as a unit of the University of Texas at Austin Center for American History.
Sam Rayburn House Museum: The 12-room home built in 1916 includes a collection of original furnishings and family memorabilia.
Fannin County Museum of History: Exhibits tell the story of Fannin County beginning shortly before the Texas Revolution when Dr. Daniel Rowlett introduced the first 12 families as permanent settlers to the area. The museum is housed in the restored 1900 Texas and Pacific Railway depot.
Fort Inglish Museum: Bailey Inglish, founder of Bonham, brought the first settlers to claim homesteads on the rich land of the Red River Valley, which would eventually become Fannin County. Inglish later convinced his neighbors to construct a fort and stockade, which was used until 1843 when the Indians moved further west. A replica of the fort was built in 1976 as a Fannin County Bicentennial project.
(Texas Almanac 2006-2007)