Daingerfield, TX

By: Terrell W. Connor, Jr.

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 27, 2020

Daingerfield, the county seat of Morris County, is on the Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad at the intersection of State highways 11 and 49 and U.S. Highway 259, in the south central part of the county. It is claimed that the first Europeans to visit the area camped by a spring near what is now the center of town around 1740. In 1830 Capt. London Daingerfield and a band of about 100 men fought a bloody battle with Indians near the spring. Daingerfield was killed, and the town that began to grow up in the area in the early 1840s was named in his honor. S. R. Shaddick started the first school in 1840. The town was named county seat of Paschal County, a judicial county in the Republic of Texas, and courts for the southern division of Red River County were held there in 1844. A post office was opened in 1846. William A. McClintock, who was traveling through the area in 1846, noted in his diary that the town consisted of "three or four cabins scarce fit for pigsties." By the early 1850s the town began to grow. Sylvia Academy, a private school for girls, opened around 1850, and in 1852 the Marshall Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded Chapel Hill College, which continued to operate until 1870.

More rapid development began after the Civil War. In 1877 Titus County, which had originally included Daingerfield and the surrounding area, was divided, and Daingerfield became the county seat of the new Morris County. The same year the Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas track was laid a half mile southeast of the town. After a large fire destroyed most of the town in 1879, the majority of the businesses moved to the railhead, which is the present site of the town.

By 1904 the population in Daingerfield had grown to 699, and the town's industries included a chair factory, a tannery, a hat factory, a cotton gin, and a flour mill. In 1931 the town reported a population of 818 and thirty-eight businesses. The greatest growth, however, came during and after World War II with the opening of the Lone Star Steel Company and the United States Navy Bureau of Ordnance Aerophysics Laboratory. Between 1945 and 1961 the population tripled, from 1,032 to 3,133. Between the early 1960s and the late 1980s it remained fairly constant at approximately 3,000. The town's principal employers in 1980 included the Lone Star Steel Company, a garment factory, a chemical factory, and a roofing-products factory. In 1985 the Daingerfield Independent School District comprised three elementary schools, a junior high school, and a high school, with a total enrollment of 2,250. Boating, swimming, camping, and hunting facilities are available at Daingerfield State Recreation Area, Ellison Creek Reservoir, and Lake O' the Pines; Monticello, Welsh, Texarkana, and Caddo lakes are all located within twenty-five miles of Daingerfield. In 1990 the population was 2,572, and in 2000 it was 2,517.

Morris County Scrapbook, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Thomas C. Minter, A History of Morris County (M.A. thesis, East Texas State Teachers' College, 1952).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Terrell W. Connor, Jr., “Daingerfield, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/daingerfield-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 27, 2020

Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Morris County
  • Latitude: 33.03058860°
  • Longitude: -94.72509800°
Population Counts
People Year
1,032 1940
1,668 1950
3,133 1960
2,630 1970
3,030 1980
2,655 1990
2,517 2000
2,560 2010
2,364 2019