PENNINGTON, TEXAS. Pennington, originally Tyler or Tyler's Prairie, is off U.S. Highway 287 near the Davy Crockett National Forest in northwestern Trinity County on the Trinity-Houston county line. By the 1990s the community was also partially in Houston County. The site of the community is within the 1835 Mexican Texas land grant to José Martín Prado that was purchased by A. F. Westall and Daniel Daily (Dailey) in 1855. Daily became sole owner of 1,280 acres on March 1, 1859. The Salem (later Pennington) Baptist Church was founded in May 1860. Pennington, laid out and platted in February 1866 by Dan Daily, was named for Hill (or Hugh) Pennington, the town's first merchant. Pennington College, later Steele Academy, opened as a coeducational school in 1866 but did not receive a legislative charter until 1870. Guided by teacher and later president Daniel Webster Steele and his successors, the institution operated until 1882. A post office opened at Pennington in 1873, and the community reached its peak from May 1874 to October 1882; during this time it was the county seat, and its population may have ranged as high as 1,000 to 1,500. With no railroad, the competition from public schools, and the move of the county government to Groveton in 1882, Pennington began to decline. Though it incorporated on July 16, 1901, it apparently had become unincorporated by 1904, when it reported a population of about 272, dropping by 1926 to around 250. In 1968 a population of about 198 was reported. Pennington in 1980 was a quiet rural community with a population of about 100. During the early 1990s Pennington reported a population of 100 and seven businesses. The population dropped to sixty-seven in 2000.
Flora G. Bowles, A History of Trinity County, Texas, 1827 to 1928 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1928; rpt., Groveton, Texas: Groveton Independent School District, 1966). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Patricia B. Hensley, "PENNINGTON, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlp18), accessed April 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.