Barry Vermillion

Chair, Archaeology Committee

Denton County Historical Commission

    In the year 1846, on April 11th, the First Legislature of the State of Texas created the County of Denton. Five commissioners were appointed to find the center of the county and select two places within three miles of that point. An election was ordered to determine which of these two places was to be designated as the county seat. The place selected was to be known as Pinckneyville in honor of the first governor of the State of Texas, J. Pinckney Henderson. The commissioners were then directed to lay off a town and sell lots at public auction. All the proceeds and any other donations received were to be used to erect public buildings for the use of the county (First Legislature, 1846). Documents with any reference to a public auction have not been found. Those that did exist were probably destroyed in the courthouse fire of 1875, if they still existed then, though a search for the documents continues.

    Pinckneyville is the first county seat, the birthplace, of Denton County. The designation remained until the Second Legislature designated Alton as the county seat on February 24, 1848. Pinckneyville, as our county seat, endured for one year, ten months, and thirteen days. During this time it is reported that court was held at or near Pinckneyville on at least two occasions. One report is that court was held under a large oak tree at the site of Pinckneyville and the stump (see photo below) from that tree was collected and deposited in the museum of North Texas State University, now known as University of North Texas.

    Several pedestrian surveys and an archaeological site assessment have failed to produce any evidence indicating the location of Pinckneyville.   The search for the site continues.

The "stump" from Pinckneyville.