I am honored to serve the people of the First District of Texas. A beautiful area, rich with natural resources, the First District includes the counties of:
Angelina County is located in the heart of East Texas’ Pineywoods region; much of its terrain is densely forested with tall pines and majestic hardwoods. The county is bounded by two rivers - the Angelina River to the north and the Neches River to the South. Cities within the county include Hudson, Diboll, Zavalla, Huntington, and Lufkin, which serves as the county seat.
Angelina County was organized on April 22, 1846 and received its name from Angelina, a Hasinai Indian girl who greatly helped Spanish priests and later Franciscan explorers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Her name was also given to a river and National Forest.
Today, the county is known for its successful timber industry, as well as its rich resources of natural gas. The area offers residents and visitors plenty of things to do and see, such as hunting in the county’s many forests, participating in water & recreational sports at Lake Sam Rayburn, or even spending a day at the county’s famous zoo. The Texas State Forest Festival is also a highly anticipated annual event. For more information on Angelina County, please visit http://www.angelinacounty.net/.
Gregg County was created in 1873 and named after popular secessionist leader and Confederate General John Gregg who was killed in action. After Texas achieved statehood, many farmers from the southern U.S. moved into the area, and the construction of railroads in the late 1800's led to the development and growth of many of the county's towns. Cotton and timber contributed to the majority of the local economy, but Gregg County was rescued from the Great Depression in the late 1930's by the discovery of the largest pool of petroleum in U.S. history.
Today, Gregg County is a thriving industrial county with oil, natural gas, and timber still driving the economy. The area is home to LeTourneau University in Longview and Kilgore College in Kilgore. Cities withing the county include Gladewater, Kilgore, Longview, and White Oak. For more information about Gregg County, visit http://www.co.gregg.tx.us/.
Harrison County is located in Northeast Texas along the Louisiana border, with the Sabine River forming part of its southern border. The Congress of the Republic of Texas officially established the county in 1839, and it was named for Jonas Harrison, a lawyer and Texas revolutionary. Marshall serves as the county seat.
One of Harrison’s most popular attractions is the mysterious Caddo Lake, a beautiful lake with tall cypress trees and hanging Spanish moss and a long history including Caddo Indians, pirates, and outlaws. Today, locals and visitors enjoy the area’s camping, lake tours, and fishing. Local festivals, including the Fireant Festival and Stagecoach Days in Marshall, draw many visitors from all over. In addition to Marshall, cities within Harrison County include Hallsville, Harleton, Karnack, Uncertain, and Waskom. For more information on Harrison County, visit http://www.co.harrison.tx.us/.
Nacogdoches County lies in the center of Texas' Pineywoods Region, with the Angelina River running along its west and southern boundaries, and the Attoyac Bayou on the east. Agribusiness, timber, manufacturing, and Stephen F. Austin University are central to the county's economy. The city of Nacogdoches, known as the oldest town in Texas, serves as the county seat.
In addition to Nacogdoches, some other cities within the county include Garrison, Douglass, Cushing, Chireno, and Appleby. Lake Nacogdoches and the Sam Rayburn Reservoir attract many tourists to the county, as does the famous annual Blueberry Festival. For more information about Nacogdoches County, visit http://www.gonac.info/.
Panola County is located in the East Texas Timberlands region and sits along the Texas-Louisiana border. It’s name is derived from ponolo, the Cherokee word for "cotton."
Much of the area’s industry is driven by its oil, natural gas, and coal supplies. Other industries include sawmills, poultry and egg processing. The county’s lush forests provide great hunting for small game, deer, and quail, and the many lakes and reservoirs support fishing and recreational water sports. Carthage serves as the county seat and is home to Panola College, as well as the famous Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Other cities in the county include Beckville, Carthage, De Berry, Gary, and Long Branch. For more information on Panola County, visit http://www.co.panola.tx.us/ips/cms.
Rusk County was established in 1843 by the Congress of the Republic of Texas and named after Thomas Jefferson Rusk, who served as Secretary of War under President Sam Houston. With over 270,000 acres of the county dedicated to ranches and farmland, agriculture plays a strong role in the economy, beef cattle and hay being some of the chief products. Oil and natural gas extraction is another leading industry in the economy. The area's oil was first discovered in 1927 when Dad Joiner defied pessimistic experts and found an enormous oil supply beneath east Texas soil, whose vast quantities greatly contributed to the Allied Effort in WWII and later led to the creation of the world's largest pipeline at the time.
Henderson currently serves as the county seat, and Rusk county's other cities include Kilgore, Mount Enterprise, New London, Overton, Tatum, and Reklaw. For more information about Rusk County, visit http://www.hendersontx.com/.
Sabine County lies in Texas’ Redlands region and was organized in 1837. It is named after the Sabine River, which forms the county’s eastern border, separating it from the state of Louisiana. Hemphill serves as the county seat.
The county is well-known for offering a variety of recreational activities such as fishing in the Toledo Bend Reservoir, hunting in the Sabine National Forest, and camping in the Red Hills Recreation Area. A number of annual festivals are held in the county, including Settlers Days in Milam, which honors the history of Sabine County, and the county fair in October. In addition to Hemphill and Milam, Pineland is another town within the county. For more information on Sabine County, visit http://www.sabinecountytexas.com/.
San Augustine County
San Augustine County is located in the Timberlands region of east Texas, with the city of San Augustine serving as the county seat. Timber and agriculture, especially cattle and poultry, are strong contributors to the local economy. The area also contains portions of two national forests; the Angelina National Forest and Sabine National Forest provide beautiful scenery and the outdoor activities that attract many tourists.
San Augustine county is rich in history. It boasts 70 historical markers and was home to many national and state leaders, including the first governor of Texas, J. Pinckney Henderson. For more information about San Augustine County, visit http://www.sanaugustinetx.com/.
Shelby County lies along the Texas-Louisiana border. It was established in 1836 and is named after Isaac Shelby, a soldier during the American Revolution and first Governor of Kentucky. The city of Center serves as the county seat.
The area's leading industries include sawmills, poultry, agribusiness, and timber manufacturing. Tourism is also a significant economic contributor as many visitors are attracted to the area's Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sabine National Forest.
In addition to Center, some of the county's other cities include Shelbyville, Joaquin, Tenaha, and Timpson. For more information on Shelby County, visit http://www.shelbycountychamber.com/.
Smith County is located in the East Texas Timberlands region, bordered on the west by the Neches River and on the north the Sabine River. The county is named for Gen. James Smith, a hero of the Texas Revolution and a prominent military figure in the Republic of Texas.
Today, Smith is the most populated county in the First District of Texas. It is home to several respected schools including the University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler Junior College, and Texas College. County tourist attractions include the Tyler State Park, the campsites and marinas on the various lakes, Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, Caldwell Children's Zoo, the Goodman Museum at Lindale, and the Spring Flower and Azalea Trail. The city of Tyler serves as the county seat and has emerged as a medical center for the region, with multiple medical facilities, clinics, and doctors’ offices. It is better known, though, for its reputation as the “rose capital of the world,” and both locals and visitors look forward to the annual Texas Rose Festival.
Additional cities in Smith County include Arp, Bullard, Hideaway, Lindale, New Chapel Hill, Noonday, Overton, Tyler, Troup, Whitehouse, and Winona. For more information about the area, visit http://www.smith-county.com/.
Upshur County is located in the Piney Woods region of Northeast Texas and was organized by an act of the Texas legislature on July 13, 1846. The county is named for Abel P. Upshur who was U.S. Secretary of State during President John Tyler's administration and laid ground work for the annexation of Texas to the Union.
Upshur County’s lumber industry has been a major operation from the early days of the area’s settlement, and the thick forests also provide great hunting for gamesmen. The East Texas Yamboree fall festival is a highly anticipated event, with parades, music, and various contests, dating back to 1935. These include the Queen's Parade and the Old Fiddlers' contest, as well as the Tater Trot races, the Tour D'Yam cross country bicycle races, and the selection of the Grand Champion Hog and Steer.
Cities within the county include Big Sandy, Diana, Ore City, and Gilmer, which serves as the county seat. For more information about Upshur County, visit http://www.countyofupshur.com/.
Wood County was named for Governor George T. Wood and organized in 1850. Half of the county is forested. Quitman is the county seat, and is home to the Governor Hogg shrine and museum. Quitman has the Dogwood Fiesta and the Old Settlers’ Reunion, Mineola has the Ironhorse Festival, Hawkins has the Oil Festival, Golden has the Sweet Potato Festival (but Golden is just outside TX01).
Lake Fork Reservoir is located in Wood County and is one of the 10 largest lakes in Texas. Lake Fork was completed in 1980. The lake attracts fishermen from all over the country and currently holds records for 34 out of the Top 50 largemouth bass caught in Texas.
Cities within the county include: Alba (partly in Rains County), Hawkins, Mineola, Quitman, Winnsboro (partly in Franklin County), Yantis and Crow. For more info about Wood County, visit http://www.mywoodcounty.com/