County Seat: Quitman * County Population: 46,291 (2020 Census Estimate)
The Texas Legislature created Wood County in 1850 with Quitman as the county seat. The county first used a log courthouse on the south side of the square before building a two-story, frame structure, which burned in 1878.
According to the courthouse historical marker, the county’s third courthouse, designed by the noted F.E. Ruffini, was completed in 1884. This county capitol burned in 1924, and the county hired C.H. Leinbach of Dallas to design a new temple of justice with Rice Construction Co. as general contractor. The county added an annex in 1950, but the courthouse retained its Classical Revival style, with features including a grand stair with raised entry, a four-column temple front, and a full entablature with dentil molding and pediment.
Another marker located near the courthouse celebrates James Stephen Hogg, the first native Texan to become governor of the Lone Star State.
“At 22, he was elected Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, and headed Commissioners Court of Wood County, 1874-75…” Hogg was inaugurated as governor on Jan. 20, 1891.
The late Royce Dean McCoy Jr., a former Wood County Judge, offered a beautiful picture of Wood County in a special series titled “Why Stop In?” Below is an excerpt from McCoy’s submission, available in full at https://countyprogress.com/why-stop-in-wood-county/.
Wood County and its people boast a colorful and unique personality, combining the serenity and beauty of rural America with cultural amenities easily within reach from our area. Lakes, rivers, and the piney woods provide a scenic backdrop for a wealth of recreational sports including world-class fishing, boating, hunting, and camping.
With a rich calendar of festivals, musical events, and community activities, the family oriented lifestyle of Wood County is clearly evident. Fascinating historical trails, an array of civic clubs and social organizations, and many houses of worship serve to enrich life in Wood County.
In addition to the abundance of natural resources (including the Bass Fishing Capital of Texas – Lake Fork Reservoir), the county encourages a growing manufacturing, production, and service economy to complement our increasing popularity as a tourist destination.
Warmth and hospitality combine with the culture, abundant natural resources, and progressive business attitude to make Wood County one of the most desirable places to live, work – and play!
Judge McCoy would be pleased to know that Wood County is making “top” lists, shared current County Judge Lucy Hebron. The Links at Lands’ End has been named one of the top 50 public golf courses in the nation. In addition, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine named one of the county’s best and newest assets, the Mineola Nature Preserve, one of the top 15 city parks in the nation for its size.
“This 2,911-acre gem is unmatched for its walking, hiking, biking, birding, wildlife viewing, equestrian trails, fishing ponds, and more,” Hebron shared. “This preserve has been a favorite of families (including mine) for many years.”